Special Needs Homeschool ( Can My Child Learn? )

Of course, we know that our children with special needs have struggles with learning. But it doesn’t stop us, parents to dream for them to finish school and to be productive citizens of our community in the years to come. I know you have fears of them being bullied in school for not being able to develop friendship with their classmates, and you may have this question in your mind, ” Special needs homeschool, can my child learn from me? “

You may think, I am just a stay at home mom with no formal training in teaching kids. And more doubts, ” Will my child listen to me? Will I be able to really impart to him what a regular teacher would do in school? ” 

With those questions about your abilities and thinking of his safety in school…..

You have to decide, because it will impact his future. 

Is homeschooling the better option?

Let us look at the pros and cons of homeschooling.

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Benefits of a special needs home school

As parents, we always hope for the best outcome or learning potential for our special kid.

If you have the time and the resources to home school your child, it could be your best option for him.

These are some positive aspects for letting your child attend home school.

  • Specific needs will be addressed. You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 truly understands what your special child needs, for example you will know what your child is struggling, maybe reading or verbalizing his needs.
  • One-on-one attention will boost your child’s confidence more than ever and he will learn faster.
  • Avoiding many obstacles in a traditional classroom. Communication will be the biggest struggle in school, but with you around in the home school, he can always be open to verbalize his needs or put forward his concerns non- verbally if need be. Bullying would be an issue that can be avoided there as well.

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  • Flexible time and schedule. A structured time and schedule is good, but there will be times that your child would need to move his schedule or you may need to do it yourself for whatever reason.
  • Observing up close your child’s progress and struggles. As the parent-teacher, you will see first-hand your child’s development or what area he needs to focus on.
  • Understanding your child’s inadequacies and coping mechanisms. Only a parent can accept unconditionally his child’s shortcomings.
  • Pacing of teaching can be adjusted depending on your child’s improvement. You don’t have to report to a principal or superior about why your child is still unable to read or identify colors at a certain time and explain why.
  • Comfortable surroundings for your child will let him learn more effectively. You can both be in your jammies and sitting in your bed reading together. He doesn’t need to go out in extreme cold if the weather is not so good.

Drawbacks of homeschooling

Attending a traditional school for your child would be the best option if need be, but it is not always possible, or you think making him attend home school is the best because you believe you can offer him the best education there is.

There are negative feedback of course, and would include the following:

  • Social skills will not be optimized. Since he is alone at home with you, he will not develop the best friendships and good communication skills.
  • Your child will test the limits of your patience. There might be a time that you might feel so frustrated if he learns so slow or forgets what he has learned and you feel that homeschooling in not fit for your special child.
  • You might feel inadequate for your child as a mentor having no teaching experiences in school, more so with a special kid.
  • Tantrums or meltdowns might happen many times that are hard to control and as a parent, may discourage you to stop the lessons for the day.
  • In the early stages or even before starting homeschooling especially if a special child has been previously enrolled in a public school, some school officials harass the parents and don’t allow the special child to dis-enroll because of fear of losing funding.
  • Special needs children may lose government-funded special child services such as speech therapy when home schooled.

How to improve your child’s skills as a home schooler

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As the teacher for your special child, you can always plan on improving how you handle him. You don’t need to suggest to his teacher in the regular school what you think is the best way to offer him lessons.

      • Let your special child attend group activities like your church’s Sunday school or your neighbourhood’s annual picnic to broaden his horizon and meet other kids.
      • Enrol him in extracurricular activities like piano lessons where he can interact with another teacher or other students if they will have recitals or concerts.
      • Let him stick to a routine as much as possible, like the same schedule each day for school, play, and homework. This will develop in him discipline and good study habits.
      • Daily habit of reading if he can, or reading to him if still not able on his own.
      • Related post: The Benefits of Reading Everyday ( Make Learning a Fun Experience for your Special Child )
      • Encourage him to ask questions, thus enabling him to learn through exploration and discovery.
      • Give rewards for his achievements. There is no better way to encourage him to achieve more if he sees that you appreciate his efforts.

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  • Encourage him to repeat works or projects that are not acceptable at first or second try. Let him feel that mistakes are okey as long as he tries again to correct them.
  • Discuss with him why he did not get good results or scores with certain exams or projects and encourage him to give suggestions on how he can overcome these.
  • Balance learning with fun. Introduce play as much as possible or activities that your child enjoys in your daily lessons.
  • Connect with other parent-teachers ( join home school groups ) so you could compare ways on how to optimize teaching to your child and he can meet new friends as well.
  • Be patient with your child’s progress and just be content of what he can achieve daily. Don’t expect too much.
  • Display his works at home such as in the fridge or a dedicated corner or show to family so he knows that you are proud of his achievements.

Legalities and requirements of homeschooling

While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the US and all provinces in Canada, there are different requirements of each state or province where you live.

Call the authorities or agencies in your place just to be sure that they will not go after you and you will be out of trouble.

Some places require home school parents to meet basic educational qualifications, like a high school diploma or GED or a teaching certificate, but most states in the US do not have this requirement.

For Canadian homeschooling, please visit your province’s Department of Education websites for specific requirements. Some provinces may require you to report to them periodically for your child’s achievements. Or you need to tell them before you start home schooling.

I have mentioned only US and Canada here as examples, but if you live somewhere else, this could also apply to you.


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Parents excel in giving education to their special needs children

A year-long research was conducted by Dr Steven Duvall in eight elementary and two junior high students with learning disabilities, where five students were home schooled and five attended public schools.

He did this by seating-in on teaching sessions and observed every twenty seconds how the students used academically engaged time during instructional periods. He then encoded data in his laptop which were double-checked by a second observer.

Likewise, Dr Duvall measured the students’ scores in standardized achievement tests in reading, math and written language.

Look at the amazing results!

  • The home schooled special kids showed academic engagement two and a half times more than those enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids spent only 40.7 % of their time with no academic responses against 74.9 % for the kids in public schools.
  • The teachers and kids in home schools were sitting side -by-side or face-to-face 43% of the time compared to only 6% of the time for public schools. This gave more advantage for the home schooled kids.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of six months improvement in reading compared to only half a month gain for special kids enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of eight months improvement in written language skills compared to only 2.5 months in kids enrolled in public schools.

Dr. Duvall summarized, These results clearly indicate that parents, even though they are not certified teachers, can create instructional environments at home that assist students with learning disabilities to improve their academic skills. This study clearly shows that homeschooling is beneficial for special-needs students.”

It is  a very positive and encouraging study, so my dear parents, take the opportunity to home school your kids if you can!

What parents say about homeschooling or home education:

Here are three parents who found homeschooling effective for their children with special needs.

JOYCE has this to say – from HE Special-Home Education in the UK-Special Educational Needs 

” My son was thrown out of a private mainstream nursery at the age of 4. What followed was his diagnosis of autism and my decision to home educate. I am lazy and chicken, decided I would rather provide him what he needs socially and educationally myself than spend my days beating my head against the doors of authorities to convince them to provide it. And all that otherwise frustrated time is instead spent enjoying my happy, unique son.The result so far –

My husband and my family are now convinced that we made the right choice. My son is happy and excited about learning. It’s not all roses, he does balk at writing but he excels at chemistry (sorry for the brag).

They have come to see that it works. He can race ahead at what he loves and get extra time for things he struggles with, all in a nonjudgmental environment.

It is so far beyond what I could hope to find for him in a school. His joy in learning is worth all the effort.”

MARSHA IDDINGS shares her feelings about homeschooling her son Matthew:

“The most important fact that I discovered while developing Matt’s home school program is this: You, the parent, will always be your child’s greatest advocate. No other professional knows, cares, or loves your child with the depth that you do. This, more than any other factor, is important in creating a successful learning environment for the challenged child.”

LIANNA  KOERNER, whose 13 year old son Gabriel, has Down syndrome, homeschooled him after four unsuccessful years in the elementary school.

Lianna  says , ” The luxury of Gabe’s learning ability is a gift. We can master a skill before moving onto another. There are no “precedents or antecedents of behaviour” to be discussed. He has been growing into a responsible person who is assured that it is okay to be right where he needs to be educationally. He is happy now and it shows.

Gabriel is living a life of inclusion, where he can safely learn what he needs to learn without adults pushing their own perceptions about Down syndrome into his education. “

Home schooling could be the best option for your child with special needs


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There you go, considering the many benefits of homeschooling plus the positive results of the study done by Dr. Duvall and the awesome and positive experiences of some parents, let you be inspired to start to home school your special kid and erase your worries that you cannot  be the best teacher for your special child, but of course, he can definitely learn from you.


You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 is the only one who knows your special child’s strengths and weaknesses to the core.

You are the only one who can offer him unconditional love and full support.

Your child feels secure with you at home, where it is the safest environment for him.

So, my dear parents, if you have the time and resources, go and home-school your special child!

You can be the best teacher for him. Ever.


Originally published: November 30, 2019                            Updated: June 13, 2020


Click here and get ten inspirational quotes about kids and parenting.


Do you have plans of homeschooling your special child?

Or are you already homeschooling your child with special needs?

We would love to hear from you.


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42 thoughts on “Special Needs Homeschool ( Can My Child Learn? )”

  1. That’s a really big question, although from research overtime it has been discovered that the ability for a child to assimilate depends on the tutoring patterns of his or her teacher….I am yet to review this platform but I think it’s going to work out as they really have a good rating out there.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this awesome article, I hope it helps others.

    • Hi Sophia,

      I agree, a child learns well if the teacher is good, but for our children with special needs, the level of cognition is also a big factor.

      Thanks for reading.


  2. Special education is needed because not all students learn the same. Students with learning disabilities may need one on one time, they may not be able to read but if read to they can catch on, or they may need extra time for their assignments. Thank you for sharing this great article here with us, it so educative and informative. 


    • Hi Peter,

      True, most if not all special needs kids start with one on one teaching and doing it at home with a parent would be best if they are able to offer it to their child.
      Thanks for reading.


  3. You have put together a great post that has covered as many sides as I could of thought of about the pros and cons of home schooling. I know of a couple of children that have been home schooled and although I’m no expert, they have turned out to be great ambassadors for the cause.

    There was a point where we had to look seriously at home schooling one of our children after he’d had an a bit of a break down. This was the term before moving up to senior school. Our concern was for his well-being, education was secondary at that stage. It took a while but after a few months we were able to integrate him back into the mainstream system.

    Looking back I’m not sure if we would have been able to provide his educational needs adequately but we would have tried. Being happy and confident were our main concerns when he was at home but ultimately it was he who made the efffort to get back to school. 

    • Glad that the traditional schooling worked for your son, after all. 

      I think kids should be started at home schooling really early on in the elementary or preschool, for it to become successful.

      Thanks for reading.


  4. Hi Marita,

    Wonderful concept with very important issue. I really appreciate your efforts I haven’t any idea that much regarding homeschooling or special needs children. But I recently joined a school where special needs children comes to learn. By your post I got so many ideas & feeling confident more! I’ll definitely share your article with my colleagues to learn about it more. Thanks for your valuable post! Keep sharing!

    • Hi Irin,

      I know, we won’t know until we read about home schooling. 

      It is really helpful for some families.

      Thanks for reading.


  5. Thanks for this informative article on rearing a child with special needs especially on education’s side. 

    I’d like to add, for special children where parents opt to have them educated at home through a homeschooling program, if they have other siblings, it is important to encourage the other siblings to be cooperative and not become bullies to the special child during study. I said this because I see a couple of cases where one of the biggest hurdles faced is when the siblings are getting in the way for proper learning at home of the special child.

  6. Thank you for this very informative article about homeschool. Actually, I don’t refuse homeschool because I think children can learn much better if the parents do know how to teach them.

    Normally, the mother will understand your children more than the teacher so it’s good to plan something that most suitable for them. Moreover, you can arrange the best schedule for them too.

    Unfortunately, homeschool in Hong Kong is not popular and the government doesn’t like that also. But the government can not provide any better resources for gifted children. Therefore, homeschool is one of the best ways to teach them.

    I want to ask one question. If the kids don’t like homeschool and they like to play with other kids in school, how can you persuade them to learn at home?

    • Too bad if home schooling is not allowed in your place, or not recognized, maybe.

      The parents are the ones who truly know their special child  and I always suggest  that if they are able, they are the best teachers for their child.

      For socialization, the child should be encouraged to join other groups like church group or with some neighborhood kids or let them learn piano lessons or other arts/sports and let them join competitions or concerts so they can meet other kids. The parents can likewise join support groups like parents of special need kids and let their kids bond on some days.

      God bless,


  7. Much obliged to you for composing such an excellent article. I am bit befuddled. at the point when you state, home tutoring exceptional youngster. Does that mean you are the person who will remain as an educator for your kid, or will you need to procure someone to come to your home and do the instructing.

    • You as the parent, will be the one teaching your child. Tutoring is the one where somebody teaches your child in your home.

      Even inexperienced parents can be successful in teaching their kids. 

      There are a lot of materials out there that you can use.

      Find some here
      God bless,


  8. Hey there, thanks for allowing me to comment on your article!

    I always wondered if there are any home school books or software for special needs kids.

    You find a bunch of regular educational books but was never sure if they have alternate solutions for special needs. Books that I can purchase in order to help a family member.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Makeo,

      Books for typical kids and special kids are the same. It’s the style of teaching that would be different.

      Special kids are usually slow learners or they have tempers that the teachers need to cater to, so if they are home schooled, the parents usually know the moods of their kids and what subjects they excel. 

      They would also be more patient and more understanding because they know their child better.

      Click here to find some helpful books.

      God bless.


  9. Thanks for this interesting post, It ensures that genuine learning is taking place. Homeschooling is, in effect, one-to-one ratio of teaching where parents are able to assess their kids’ strength, weaknesses, leaning styles and interests. the only disadvantage attached to homeschooling in my opinion is the social aspect of the child which isn’t going to be fun. However  it’s important they make this choice by themselves 

    • Like you said, the teacher-parent has the advantage of mentoring her child one-on-one and of course because of this set-up, the child’s progress can be followed really well.

      With the social aspect, they need to connect with their extended families, friends and other homeschooled kids so the special kids can develop friendship outside the home.

      Have a good day.


  10. Home schooling is good and have a lot of benefits in it. It will help you to understand your child the more and it can also retract your child from indulging in corrupt acts or behaviors in the school learning environment. Despite the fact that home learning is good, I still don’t buy the idea of home school because it can make a child not to socialize properly with people or even suffer inferiority complex.

    • The parents always have the option to choose whichever they want. 

      Homeschooling definitely has its pros and cons and like you said the social skills is the one that will have to really be addressed in this.

      Thanks for reading.


    • Wow, you obviously put a lot of effort and time to write this article! This contains every important information we need to know about home schooling a special child.

      I especially like your idea of enrolling them to Sunday school, piano lessons, etc. Getting them involved in any kind of sports is nice, too. Besides that physical activity can improve their overall health , it is good for their mental health as well. They will learn teamwork, develop their self-confidence, lessen their stress and of course will give them enjoyment.

      More power!


      • Hi Judith,

        It is really vital that we enrol our homeschooled special child to extra-curricular activities so he will develop friends and not be isolated, aside from all the other advantages that you mentioned.

        Thanks for all the appreciation!

        God bless,

  11. I recently had the good fortune of reading this article. It was well-written and contained sound, practical advice. In fact, I have really benefited from it. You pointed out several things that I will remember for years to come. I look forward to reading your next informative work. Thank you.

  12. There are so many pros and cons to homeschooling a special needs child. You’d also need to take into consideration how much of a special needs child can adapt with other children and how fast they are able to learn as well. In my opinion maybe try school first so that they have that interaction with others yourself with other teachers and families. I know they have classes strictly for special needs children and my cousin has attended them all his life. It’s taught him how to interact with others as well to the point he has a part-time job bagging groceries. My thinking is to let the child try school first. 

    • Hi Jason,

      Good point there.

      Of course, the special education classroom is the best for  most starters but there are stay at home parents who could do the same or better for their special kids. i would say case to case basis, but it’s not impossible.

      Thanks for reading.



  13. I have always been pro home schooling. My husband is just not totally convinced. I tr my very best to spend time with my child and assist her in all her school work and activities. This is a great article with lots of valuable information. Maybe I can share with m y husband and somehow, he’ll eventually agree :). Thanks for sharing.

    • Maybe your husband is the traditional type. 

      Just continue to assist your child at home so he can have the best of both worlds.

      Thanks for the appreciation.


  14. I love this idea! You note that a drawback to home-schooling special needs children is lack of social development, but this is true for all home-schooled kids. I think getting together with other home-schooled kids on a regular basis can be the answer and will be advantageous because they will be comfortable with their parent being there. Great, caring article! 

    • Out of school activities with other kids and hooking up with other parent-teachers and homeschooled kids are really vital to develop our special kids socially.

      Thanks for the nice comments.


  15. As for me i think both Special needs home training and the traditional classroom should be complemented with each other. As you have mentioned both the advantages of special needs home training and the disadvantages (which i also agree with you), i think a child that is exposed to both will do better than a child who is just  exposed to only the traditional classroom.Thanks so much for this educative post.Hope to get more of these types of posts from you soonest.

    • Of course, when a special child is enrolled in a traditional classroom, the parents need to support him at home and guide and help him with homework so that learning can be maximized.

      Daily reading is likewise essential at home, even for non-verbal kids to boost their capacity to learn.

      But if the parent has the time and resources and is confident that he or she can homeschool, why not? They just need to expose the kid to other activities outside the home so that his social skills will not lag behind.

      Thanks for visiting.


  16. This is a very interesting topic. I find myself leaning in the pros of homeschooling. If you have multiple children, surely a flexible time and schedule would be ideal. Also the thought of seeing first-hand your child’s developments and the area that needs to be focused on appeals to me. But it’s also helpful to have an insight to the cons of homeschooling.

    • Hi Ernst,

      You really have to weigh the pros and cons before you decide on the schooling of your special child, but just remember that if you have the time and the resources, I personally would prefer home schooling.

      Thanks for reading.


  17. I think home schooling is very r for a child with special needs to avoid bullying from other kids and also to avoid unnecessary comparison that may cast doubts in the child’s mind. The problem of home schooling is social integration and Sunday school and piano lesson could help the child relate with other children in a more controlled environment.

    • Hi Louis,

      Indeed the home is the safest place for a special child. If the parents decide for home schooling, they should really try to balance optimizing the child’s social and communication skills by letting him join group activities outside the home.

      Have a good day!


  18. Wow, what an insightful review on this article. Special child require full support from parents and when they get the care required, they will excel beyond expectation. Homeschooling them is the best option one can have because you as a parent know them better, though it might not be easy but is possible. The result will be your pride if you can do this. Nice review on special kids. Good work. 

    • The parents know their special kids in and out and home schooling them would be best if they are ready to go beyond the challenges.

      God bless,


  19. What a beautiful post and so important. I had never come across before a post that would talk about the importance of homeschooling and especially in the case of children with special needs. 

    Unfortunately I live in Europe and in particular in Spain where home schooling it is still not accepted or  I should say  not allowed officially by the government, yet I feel that this is the best option for our children. The interest of our children should always come first and who more than a mother will know what her child needs? Thank you.

    • Hi Barbara,

      Interesting to know that home schooling is not allowed in your country. Is education free for kids there?

      Of course, stay at home moms or dads with special kids have always the option to home school if their place allows them.

      Thanks for reading!


  20. Honestly, I’m a bit confused. When you say, “home schooling a special child”, does that mean you are the one who will stand as a teacher for your child? Or, will you have to hire somebody to come over your home and do the teaching? I re-read the article, and I apologize if I don’t easily get what does this mean. 

    I have a friend here, a neighbor whose child is a special child. We have another neighbor whose special child has already perished because the parents were not able to give his due attention and the son has passed away. I don’t want it to happen to this another neighbor so I am out to give the parents tips I’m learning from your site.

    • HI Gomer,

      It is the parent usually who teaches the special child in home schooling. They also follow some curriculum, that’s why it’s important to connect with school officials or other people who are knowledgeable about teaching.

      If somebody goes to the house to teach the child, that would be tutoring.

      I hope your friend’s child is doing well. Is he in school?

      Thanks for reading.



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