Tips for Homeschooling a High Schooler with Special Needs

Homeschooling High School with Special Needs

Can I homeschool my high schooler who has special needs? 

YES! It will not always be the easiest undertaking but the effort put forth by you and your child will reap innumerable long time benefits. Here are some stories of parents that have homeschooled their children with special needs.

Life with a Child with ADHD

How to Homeschool the Visual-Spatial Learner

Tips for Homeschooling with Prader-Willi Syndrome

Homeschooling the Gifted Learner – Kim’s Story!

Develop Patience with the Special Needs

If patience was not an attribute you possessed before homeschooling your special needs child it will most definitely be one you have when it is all said and done. There will be times you may lose your cool or feel helpless but know this, it will all be worth it. It’s a good idea with parenting period to get a break but even more so important to do so if you have a special needs learner. This might mean taking a walk alone, a relaxing bath, or even a short nap. Alone time when possible is a great idea to recharge so that you are able to be patient with your special learner and it is also imperative to do so to take care of your own well being. 

Get Outside Homeschool Help

This will mean different things based on your child’s individual needs but it might be something lacking that might normally take place in a school setting such as:

Physical therapy

Speech therapy

Occupational therapy

Behavioral therapy

Optimize Your Homeschool Procedure

Determine how they learn best-What learning style is your child?

  • Visual learners– Process information using charts and grafts, need images to explain concepts and ideas, prefer graphic elements over words.
  • Auditory learners– Learn best when information is spoken, prefer lectures and discussions, process information by talking through things.
  • Kinesthetic learners- Learn best through tactile processes, prefer to create concrete personal experiences, process information by recreating and practicing. 
  • Read/Write- Prefer to receive written words, enjoy reading and writing assignments, process information by writing notes. 

Where does your student work best? 

Some people need a completely quiet environment to concentrate while others do best listening to music while they work. Depending on the weather you might consider letting your high school student do some of their subjects outside. Time might also be a factor. Schoolwork doesn’t have to necessarily take place during typical school hours but instead can be spread out throughout the day. Working for short lengths of time with breaks can be more beneficial than sitting for long lengths of time. This freedom is one of the many joys of homeschooling. 

Sometimes it is “3 steps forward 2 steps back”

If your special needs child is now high school age this is probably something that you have experienced with them. Most likely it will be something that you will have to adapt to for high school as well. Keep going!

Reevaluate Your Methods

Another thing to remember with homeschooling high school is that just because your learner is not catching up to peers you are not failing, they are not failing. The joy of homeschooling is looking at what they can possibly achieve based on their needs and helping them achieve those personal goals.There may be times that you need to stop a goal and come back to it later. There will also be times you have to step back and determine if it is a realistic goal and other times they may surpass your expectations. 

Life skills are Invaluable

Homeschool is the perfect opportunity to teach your special needs high school student the skills needed for life. Who knows your child better than you which will help you know what skills they may be capable of and what skills they will need. Teaching them these life skills will help them be as independent as they are capable of being. 

28 Essential Life Skills Your Teen Needs To Know To “Adult”

Homeschooling & Life Skills

Old School Skills that Kids Don’t Learn Anymore (But Should)

What does the future hold?

In the world we live today there are many more opportunities for your children who have special needs than there was in the past. It still can make you feel nervous not knowing what the future holds for them or if they can live independently. Now is a good time if you haven’t already to reach out and find out what services are available in your community for adults with special needs. It can sometimes take awhile so seek out possible assistance early on. Here are some other resources to look into for the future. 

Colleges Perfect For Special Needs Students

20 Books to Encourage Your Homeschool Entrepreneur

College Alternatives

10 Special Needs Organizations You Should Know About




Joy Capps is a homeschool bookworm residing in the mountains of western North Carolina. The only one who loves books more is her 16-year-old daughter. They both enjoy perusing old bookstores for treasures and sniffing books. Her son who is 18 has special needs, is the social butterfly of the family and has never met a stranger. Although she is originally from South Dakota she now calls North Carolina her home and she and her family love exploring the great outdoors. Her family has been homeschooling since 2005.

September 28, 2019


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