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  • Arlene Gunter

Homeschooling a Child with Learning Issues

Recently, I had a great conversation with a homeschooling mom in Texas. Hayley and her husband were determined to provide an excellent educational opportunity for their two young children: a daughter, Milly, and their younger son, Davis. They chose to live where they do because of the school district's excellent reputation. 


When Milly was five, her parents thought she might have ADHD. They sought out professional assistance to test for it. The testing facility told Hayley that Milly was too young to administer a specific test for learning disabilities. Milly started public school as a regular student. As time went on, it became evident Milly wasn't progressing as she should be, even with medicine for ADHD.


Her pediatrician suggested they test for learning disabilities when Milly was in second grade. Even with the advice of a physician, these parents had to lobby the school district to test Milly. Finally, the district allowed Milly to be tested and confirmed Milly had learning issues. With that result, Milly qualified for the Dyslexia program and Special Ed in her district. A counselor shared the educational plan, and Hayley was happy with their recommendations. She knew Milly needed outsider help. 

Over time, Hayley realized Milly needed a specific teaching style to support her learning style. The district has resources to help a variety of students with special needs. Milly could not get the individualized support she needed. Instead, the remedy was to offer an "easier" curriculum so that Milly could receive a passing grade. Hayley diligently worked with Milly at home to support her, but she continued falling further behind. Milly never complained but noticed she needed to progress on the same level as the other students. 


The school tried to work with Milly. They offered to pull her out of class for more one-on-one time. That seemed to be the "action" taken for any issues. Hayley got to the point where she felt "they can pull her out all day, but that won't help" if they continue to "teach" her the same way. Milly needed to learn in response to her unique learning style. Ultimately, Hayley and her husband elected to take Milly out of public school and homeschool their daughter to give her the personal, one-on-one attention she required. 


Often, the idea of homeschooling begins just this way. How the school teaches doesn't match how the student learns. Or parents are unhappy with the outcome or curriculum. So, parents look for another solution. Hayley is a bright and determined woman. She was relentless in her research. A neighbor who homeschools was a great source of local contacts and information. Talking with her neighbor was a key to her future success. She offered Hayley access to specific resources and people who could help. 


Haley soon had a great deal of information, along with people and organizations that would help her learn about the resources available in homeschooling for a child with Milly's needs. She spoke with people who are part of the ADHD support groups in her area. These parents relayed their personal experiences to Hayley and shared what they had each learned. Haley was not alone. She felt fortified and began enthusiastically planning how to homeschool Milly. 


Read my next blog article to learn more about Hayley's journey with her children, her many experiences, and how this family is progressing today.



Watch for future blogs about Hayley:

  • Learning to teach Milly.

  • The ups and downs of her journey. 

  • How she researched and chose her curriculum.  

  • How she found ongoing resources and support.

  • Sharing Milly's progress today.  


Watch for the next blog coming soon. Here are some Texas support links. Look for similar websites or support groups in your area.

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