An Educational Alternative for Kids with Mito
Parents at times feel they have exhausted all options within the school setting, but are not aware of the educational alternatives available to their Mito children. One of these alternatives is home schooling. Some parents of children with mitochondrial and other medical disorders feel their child(ren)'s needs cannot be met adequately by public or private school systems. They may also feel as though the medical care and supervision within the school settings are not acceptable to them. Other reasons that Mito parents choose to home school is that their child's particular developmental and learning needs may not be able to be well-served by his school district. Just FYI, it is not necessary to have a degree in teaching to home school. So if you're interested in home schooling your Mito child, please read on.
Can anyone home school?
Yes! Anyone can home school their children--it is legal in all states, although the regulations and requirements vary from town to town and state to state. Home schooling, also called Home Education (to distinguish it from the style of instruction typical of public schools), refers to educating one's children outside of the public or private school setting.
Every state has different laws regarding what a parent must do in order to home school. In some states, it is not necessary to even report that you are home schooling. In other states, there are strict regulations that include creating an Individualized Home Instruction Plan, and submitting quarterly and annual assessments. Not following the proper legal channels can result in a report to Child Protective Services for educational neglect, so make sure you find out the laws for your state.
Please note: A possible issue that parents could face when they choose to home school with their school districts is the federal standard of educating in the "least restrictive environment." The further you take a disabled child out of a standard classroom, the more "restrictive" it becomes, in direct opposition to IDEA. The district has the following order of preference under federal law:
- a regular classroom;
- a regular classroom with modifications and/or supplemental aids and services;
- a resource room for special education instruction with instruction in a regular classroom;
- a classroom for children with disabilities located in a regular school;
- day or residential special schools, where many or all students may have disabilities; and
- a home-, hospital-, or institution-based program.
You would also want to verify whether or not your child can still receive school-provided services such as occupational and speech therapies, depending on the laws in your state. You can home school a child of any age, even if you have no teaching experience yourself. For older children, such as high school students, some parents are more comfortable using an online, virtual school or other structured or accredited curriculum. Others enroll in community college courses.
How Can Home Schooling Benefit my Mito Child?
You get to monitor the health of your child, without having to rely on the teachers or classroom aides to provide care or report how your child is doing.
- There is less exposure to viruses that could exacerbate a chronic condition.
- You, as the parent, can determine how much "work: your child can handle before he becomes overly fatigued. You can adjust your program accordingly, and provide education in smaller, more manageable chunks, especially if your child fatigues easily.
- It is MUCH easier to get a doctor's appointment, and you can go during "off" hours. This also leads to lower germ exposure, since you can be in and out of the doctor's office long before the kids get out of school.
- You can visit museums, stores, and other public places during school hours when they are less crowded, thereby reducing your child's risk of virus/germ exposure.
- You can make sure your heat-intolerant child has an air-conditioned vehicle for transportation and an air-conditioned room at home that he can comfortably study in.
Where Do I Start?
- Join a home schooling support network in your area. Search the Internet. Check out Yahoo groups. You will most likely have no difficulty finding such a group in your area.
- Join online support groups. There are home schooling curriculum support groups for just about everything you can think of; do a search on the Internet.
- Search general home schooling sites on the Internet.
- Read books about home schooling.
- Go to your State Education Department's website. It usually lists curriculum standards for each grade. The World Book site also has a nice standards breakdown.
Some Thoughts to Consider
What are the General Benefits of Home schooling?
- You, as the parent, have complete control of, and knowledge about what your child is learning. You can support him in his educational endeavors in ways you would not be able to while he is in school.
- You can tailor your child's education to fit his specific needs, and he can work at his own pace.
- Lots of time for enrichment and other activities as your child will not have to share his time with multiple other students, including waiting in line, waiting for other students to finish, transitions between activities and tasks.
- In addition, if your child develops an intense interest in a topic, he will have the time and opportunity to delve into it as deeply as he is able. Your child will not be limited by having to "move on" because the rest of the class is doing so.
- Increased family time. Home schooling gives parents the opportunity to spend more time together.
- Control over your own/your family's schedule. Your family's schedule is no longer determined by school expectations. This can be a serious consideration for families with medical issues.
- Some states require that you report attendance to your school district, which means that you need to submit a record showing that your child has met the minimal attendance requirements. However, you can do this in whatever way works for your family, including summer education, weekends, or evenings.
- Learning can take place anytime, anywhere.
- The variety of approaches, methods, environments, and materials for home schooling is endless -- with home schooling, you can choose whatever you find most appealing for you and your child, unlike the school system, where teachers are limited to specific topics, textbooks and materials. Remember just because your child has mitochondrial disease, there are always options available for him to succeed academically!
Please view these additional websites for more information!
Legalities-US regulations by state
Getting Started-Great reviews of products, considering parental time, learning styles
Home School magazine-Freebies, blog, and getting started info for Homeschooling
Home School legal defense-Provides advice and on-call legal representation for home school families. This website also provides a link to international homeschooling.