Homeschooling Your Child with Autism

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More parents of children with autism are opting to homeschool for a variety of reasons. With research and planning, homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child.

Requirements for Homeschooling

State law regulates homeschooling requirements. Check with your State Department of Education to find out more about homeschooling requirements.

Pros to Homeschooling

  • Parent and child get to spend more time together
  • Instruction is individualized to your child’s learning needs
  • Parent can focus on child’s strengths
  • Flexible schedule and setting
    • Take breaks as needed
    • Homeschool at any time of day
    • Homeschool anywhere - home, library, outside, coffee shop, etc.
    • Follow a year-round schedule with fewer school days per week
  • More time and flexibility for scheduling therapies
  • More time to spend on special interests
  • Home environment is safe and free of bullying
  • Parent has control over nutritional needs and allergen exposure
  • Parent can control the environment for sensory overstimulation
  • Decreased anxiety for your child
  • Decreased pathogen exposure for immune-compromised children

Cons to Homeschooling

  • May not be possible due to loss of parent income
  • Parent may feel under-qualified to teach child
  • Child may not respond well to parent instruction, but will respond to a teacher
  • Parent is responsible for purchasing curriculum and materials
  • Homeschooling takes lots of planning and organization
  • Can be isolating and lonely
  • Socializing takes effort to plan
  • Lack of structure can be difficult for some children
  • Parent and child do not get a break from each other

Public School Responsibilities

Public schools are required to perform educational testing on your child if requested. However, state laws vary on whether they are required to provide services for your homeschooled child. Check with your local Department of Education for further information.

Curriculum

A wide variety of curriculum options and homeschool methods are available to tailor learning to your child. Parents should consider learning style and developmental appropriateness of the method when researching curriculum. Here are some general options you should consider:

  • All-in-one curriculum - same grade level and delivery method for all academics
  • Computer based learning programs
  • School-at-home style textbooks and workbooks
  • Eclectic - parents pick and choose parts of different homeschooling resources
  • Unschooling - driven by student interest and life experiences, not formal lessons

These websites provide free homeschool curriculum reviews:

Socialization

Many parents worry about how their children with get peer interaction. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Join a homeschool co-operative
  • Participate in local homeschool classes
    • YMCA
    • Zoo
    • Museums
    • Art classes
    • Gymnastics centers
    • Library reading times and groups
    • Book Club
    • Private homeschool groups
  • Join a sports team
  • Group music lessons
  • Playdates
  • Religious organizations
  • Find a local homeschool Facebook group and ask about local options

Sample Homeschool Schedules

There are endless ways to structure your day while homeschooling. Check your state homeschooling regulations to find out how many hours per day and days per year you are required for each school year.

Example 1

8:00am            Breakfast

8:30am            Reading

9:00am            Math

9:30am            Sensory break

10:00am          Go to zoo science class

12:00pm         Lunch/cooking lesson

1:00pm            Special interest activity

2:00pm            Writing

3:00pm            Speech therapy          

Example 2

8:00am            Breakfast

8:30am            Get dressed

9:00am            ABA therapy

12:00pm         Lunch

12:30pm         Reading with parent

1:00pm            Physical exercise

2:00pm            Occupational therapy

3:00pm            Group art class

Helpful Resources