Choosing The Best Homeschool Curriculum for Learning Disabilities

Last Updated on February 4, 2022 by Editorial Team

What if we say that special needs students require just a peculiar accommodation to match their peers? Yes, the models in which the teachers give individualized attention seem to best ensure this—approaches like multisensory when paired with homeschooling form notable constituents in them. 

In a research1 conducted by Brian D. Ray for Journal of School Choice, it is seen that students from homeschool learning have been showing better results in tests. These observations along with a handful of benefits increased the popularity of homeschooling. Children with learning disabilities can also get stupendous benefits from this approach. Amid this scenario, parents often get confused in choosing the right curriculum for their child.

So, what is the best homeschool curriculum for them? How can you select the best homeschooling curriculum for your child? What points to consider while making one? Let’s dive into this post to address all these questions.

Homeschool curriculums for learning disabilities- What attributes to switch to?

Homeschooling gets a distinct presence due to a good set of benefits, which include better bonding with parents, convenience, and flexibility. However, certain factors need to be specialized to make these curriculums tailor-made for special needs children. Parents need to ensure these adaptations before opting for a homeschool curriculum. 

What attributes to specialize in?

Adapting a homeschool curriculum involves differentiating instructions to provide learners with a wide variety of ways to teach and demonstrate lessons in order to cope with traditional curriculums. Let us probe into those areas of the curriculum that needs to be transposed:

1. Instructional Adaptation

The adaptation starts with a change in instruction pattern. Teachers need to adapt to instruction techniques like:

  • Demonstration for almost every topic
  • Better use of presentation prompts like gestures and visuals.
  • Implementing student response techniques to ensure active involvement.
  • Specialized attention on adapting activities from traditional sources.

2. Adjusting Written Materials

The written materials can be specialized by putting them a grade lower, compressed, and interesting to start with. Other multisensory aids like audiotapes, videotapes, and text-reader software can be added wherever required—this helps to enhance the critical features of the content.

3. Designing Materials Especially with Visual Sensory Modalities 

Visual manipulatives work exceptionally for some special needs students; thus, focus on visual and other sensory modalities should be given. For instance, learners can physically walk through the tape to learn blood flow through veins. 

4. Adapting Assessment Practices

Teachers need to step out of the traditional assessment practices. This doesn’t stop with weekly or monthly assessments, rather daily assessments can be done through:

  • Giving students a chance to respond at regular intervals
  • Adding visuals to daily tests makes them interactive
  • Conducting games to assess learners— especially for younger grades.

Approaches of homeschool curriculum- Where to focus for learning disabilities?

Homeschooling is a concept that has gained adulation for various reasons. Various approaches when followed precisely bring out the best outcome in the student who faces challenges in grasping and absorbing.

Broadly there are seven approaches to homeschooling:

1. Classical  Approach- Chronological Reading

This popular homeschooling approach has adapted for time-tested educational practice dating back to Ancient Greece. Here, the subject concepts are woven to form a chronological reading plan. In this approach, students get a chance to get into open debates and thus go beyond mere skill training.

2. Charlotte Approach- Short study periods

This approach based on the teachings of Charlotte Mason is characterized by short periods to study. Coupled with nature walks, nature journals, and history portfolios, these periods extend not more than 45 minutes, but it gets students a lot of practice in observation, memorization, and narration.

3. Montessori Approach- The manipulative based approach

Initiated by Maria Montessori, this approach grows for special needs children. It has a humanistic approach where teachers instruct indirectly with various manipulatives. The Montessori model includes lots of furniture, constructs, and tactile mirroring of a home. Thus this can be a great homeschooling approach.

4. Unschooling Approach- Experimental approach

Based on the work of pioneer John Holt, Unschooling is a free-form learning model where learning plans focus mainly on students’ interests; It focuses on experimental, activity-based, and learn-as-you-go approaches. Here, parents are facilitators rather than an instructor.

5. School-at-home Approach- Get the regular curriculum.

As the name suggests, this approach is the same as the local or private school classroom, which is implemented at home. This implies that this approach has the same curriculum as local private schools, administered by parent-teachers. The benefit is that it does not diverge away from regular curriculums.

6. Unit studies- Get Multiple views  

This approach makes students study the same event from the perspective of every possible subject. For instance, the pyramid of Egypt has been studied as a place in geography, as a monument in history, and as a geometry figure in mathematics. This approach is unique and is sometimes included in other approaches as well. Not all topics can cover multiple subjects; thus, the number of topics is limited.

7. Eclectic Approach- No Curriculum 

Most parents love this approach, as it has no curriculum and thus no plans and deadlines. The main objective is to educate the child resourcefully. This approach suits mature parents who have the credentials to preach to their children well. 

Which homeschool approach will exactly cater to your needs?

Not all the above approaches may suit the best for special needs children. If you ask us, we would suggest you consider:

  1. Montessori approach- if you have no curriculum considerations 

The Montessori approach believes that children have different learning styles. Thus, parents love it due to its one-to-one approach. This approach will also have a plethora of value additions. Being an early learner-focused approach, it enures to nurture concentration and independence in them.

Toddlers who have learning disabilities, and do not wish to leave the sight of their parents are invigorated with home style and a family-friendly syllabus. Freedom is collaborated with care and limits. Instructors and parents set limits to make them focus on relevant learning. Additionally, this homeschooling makes self-correction and social elements integral. 

  1. Classical Approach-to improve critical thinking abilities

Being a chronological training approach, it lets learners a chance to debate on concepts mastered. This approach lays out complete preparation, just like a classical education curriculum. The incidental guidance of educators develops strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. Not only academics, pupils learn to appreciate various forms of arts like music, arts, and Drama.

Students learning through this approach are believed to make out a strong character with honesty. 

  1. Unit studies Approach- to get multiple views of a topic

This approach offers more flexibility in learning than any other approach. An 8-year child can learn the same concept as an 11-year one if they can acknowledge it. Another exceptional benefit is that the students can include their interests as they learn. For instance, they are given the freedom to add relevant points as they like in their assignments. 

Not only learning, reading, and retaining facts also gets effortless by this approach. For instance, through unit studies, pupils can comfortably learn and recall photosynthesis in a plant-related scene from a novel, which is otherwise taxing for others.  

  1. Eclectic Approach if you want stress-free training

Every one of us needs a newer way to learn every day to make this process intriguing. The same is followed in the Eclectic approach. This broad approach includes many learning activities to keep away from monotony. Best suited for young learners with learning disabilities, it stimulates all kinds of skills by its creative freedom and boosting potential.  Additionally, it offers students a chance to learn and implement judgemental skills to shape solutions from the circumstances. 

Designing a homeschool curriculum? Here’s what you may consider

Homeschooling parents often like to create their own curriculum to ensure amplified results. While you take advantage of homeschooling, you must keep the following in mind:

Make rigorous reviews of various courses available

The first step is to search and review all the available courses. We have already pondered what all approaches are available. Reviewing all of them offers you an idea of certain aspects—- Whether the concepts covered are the same across all of them? How are these concepts Instructed? This accords you the ability to recognize what needs to be instructed and how. 

Set up a framework of your requirements 

Once you acquire an idea of what all are offered, you can acknowledge that not all concepts may be relevant for your toddler. Thus, it is time for you to design a framework that comprises all the notions you want in your curriculum. Target relevant topics of every subject that are pertinent. For instance, phonics and alphabets should be considered in English.  Never let slip your child’s interests while doing this. Moreover, requirements need to be set according to your child’s potentiality, keeping in mind that they would take longer to understand and retain a topic due to their low grasping capacity. 

Ensure Proper Research of syllabus 

Once your framework is designed, you may start searching for syllabus, activities, and other resources that would help you instruct expeditiously. Gather all the materials and manipulatives like kinesthetic materials, videos, and games. Congregate as many manipulatives as possible to ensure interactive training.

Place everything together

The classical approach teaches the value of chronological learning. You can ensure the same in your curriculum by arranging the gathered resources in such a way that the learner comfortably starts with small and basic concepts. Moreover, ensure flexibility for additional liberty. A successful arrangement would shape an impeccable curriculum. Soon, you may realise how the specially curated homeschooling curriculum is helping them be at a similar pace as their friends.

Remember to track and analyze

Traditional curriculums don’t just stop at designing an optimum syllabus; they also have a significant focus on tracking performance too. Make sure to maintain tracking tools like a learning journal to mark your child’s daily progress. This way, you can also appraise your syllabus at any minute.

Summing up,

An ideal homeschool curriculum for the learning disabled should have thoughtful deliberation. This means that adapting instructional materials involves making changes to the equipment and supplies to which learners with disabilities have access during the performance of tasks.

Researches like that of Parsons & Lewis2 state that a collaborative relationship between homeschools and school systems would have additional benefits to students with disabilities. We hope to answer all your queries regarding the homeschooling curriculum for learning disabilities. However, we are excited for more queries, which you can drop in the comment box! 


[1] A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice: Ray, Brian D. (2017, Nov 27)

[2] The home‐education of children with special needs or disabilities in the UK: views of parents from an online survey: Parsons S. (2009, September 21)

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