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Homeschooling A Child with Special Needs: A Parent’s Thoughts

Photo: David Castillo Dominici (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

As someone with a physical therapy background (though I haven’t been practicing it for years!), I know how challenging it can be to raise children with special needs. Through my exposure to kids with special needs and their families, I have seen how much commitment is needed from the parents and their kids, and how great the sacrifices parents have to make for their special "angels."

Needless to say, children with special needs require special care and attention. Most of them need customized education, too, and often attend schools that are equipped with people and resources that can cater to their educational needs.

However, some parents of kids with special needs choose alternative options for their children’s education -- like homeschooling.

Ronnel and Jen Bellosillo are examples of such parents. Their son Joshua, the eldest of four, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. They have been homeschooling him under Catholic Filipino Academy for 6 years now, along with his school-aged siblings.

Here, Jen shares some of her thoughts on homeschooling with us:

"When we first entertained the idea of homeschooling, we were convinced that it was the best educational option for our children.

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"While it is fulfilling, it is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, especially for the homeschooling parent.

One has to deal with lesson planning (yes, we do need to have a plan), gathering of materials for activities and lessons, the never-ending search for the best material and exercises, websites to visit, books to read, mini-field trips, major field trips -- the list just goes on and on.

"Some may be entertaining the idea that since we are homeschooling, we are more relaxed compared to those who send their kids to school. Yes, the kids are more relaxed. Take note -- the kids, but not the teacher!

"As a parent-teacher, I believe with all my heart that I have a great responsibility to present only the best lessons to my best students.

"Best lessons. Best students. It’s tough… but it’s all worth it!

"I love how their little eyes sparkle every time they learn something new and interesting.

"I love to see the radiant smile on their cute tiny lips when our encouraging words make them feel good about themselves.

"It energizes me every time my children praise me and say, ‘You are the best teacher ever!’

"But of course we also have challenging days. Who doesn’t?

"Homeschooling for our family is like a roller coaster ride. It is full of ups and downs but despite this, we still want to ride on it… again… and again… and again.

"Why? Because we are crazy!

"No, kidding aside, we love it because… it’s exciting! It’s fun! The entire experience is priceless.

"Nothing compares to that moment when we see our children blossom before our very eyes. We are truly blessed by the gift of homeschooling and are thankful for the blessing of surviving another homeschooling year.

"We thank the Lord for sustaining us and for the grace to continue the mission the Lord planted in our hearts… to educate, to care for and to love our children, despite of the challenges we face each homeschooling day.

"Is homeschooling a burden or a blessing? Well, it all depends on how we look at the challenges that come our way each and every homeschooling day.”

"Every burden is a blessing." — Walt Kelly

Whether or not your child has special needs like Jen’s son, you might want to explore homeschooling as a viable option for your child’s education. You can start by attending seminars like Catholic Filipino Academy’s Homeschooling Discovery Time on April 21, 2015. To register, just click here: http://bit.ly/cfahdtapr or send an email to cfainquiry@gmail.com

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