Learning From Your Special Needs Child

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Learning From Your Special Needs Child | I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications | #HomeForLearning.com #blog #homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #LearningFromYourSpecialNeedsChild #LearningSpecialNeedsChild

In the realm of homeschooling, the most unexpected journeys often lead to the most profound lessons. Join me as I share a personal odyssey of discovery and growth while homeschooling my special needs son. From an initial reluctance toward science to a deep immersion in the natural world, our educational path took a captivating twist. Amidst the floodwaters of our Florida home’s backyard, a unique classroom emerged, fostering hands-on learning and life-changing insights. In this blog post, I unveil the transformative lessons I learned from my son, Neal, as we embarked on a science-filled adventure together, unearthing a newfound appreciation for learning and an unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child

I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications. However, even that could not make me like science. Part of my coursework was on teaching elementary science. I received an “A” in the course but proceeded to sell that book at the end of the semester as if it were tainted with gang-green. Nope! I was not going to teach science in any way, shape, or form. I preferred literature and writing to anything that required analytical thinking, was not straightforward, and made a mess.

Along Came a Transition

Then along came Neal, followed by our decision to homeschool. Our new home was nestled in 2.5 acres in the Florida six-mile cypress slough. (Translation: During the rainy season, this land tends to flood.) And during the rainy season, it was challenging to keep my kids indoors. Neal was six at the time, and his little sister, Christina four. They loved to head outdoors after a rainfall, which often lasted a scant hour but dumped so much water on our yard that it didn’t take many days for the lands to become soaked.

So, what does it mean to live in a flood zone? It means your yard is teaming with wildlife and is a virtual natural sciences lab. The day’s supplies consisted of knee-high boots, a red wagon, a bucket, and nets for scooping up critters. This was soon followed by not one, but two microscopes, one for inside and one that was in the garage. In that way, the children could get up close and personal with their living treasures. It was definitely caught and released. However, the lessons learned were invaluable.

The lessons were two-fold and identified in two separate compartments. One set of lessons was for me, and the other for the children.

Here is a list as follows:

Mom’s Lessons Learned

  1. The well-planned elementary curriculum consisting of textbooks was shelved
  2. Hands-on learning teaches skills that are foundational and memorable
  3. Character qualities were formed through experience, such as patience, fortitude, charity, and understanding
  4. Messes are okay if they instill a love of learning
  5. Safety is important, and learning that “red-on-yellow can kill a fellow” is mandatory in understanding which snakes to avoid
  6. An arsenal of pond life, bird life, and nature books is a must
  7. Many subjects could easily be tied into science
  8. Scientific discovery caused the children to delve deeper into complex thought processes.
  9. What if questions and the word “hypothesis” became part of their basic vocabulary
  10. Reading and comprehension skills soared because of the research required to identify much-needed information.

Kids Lessons Learned

  1. We can keep any animal for the day if we can prove that we won’t kill it
  2. If we keep our messes contained to the deck and garage, anything goes
  3. Mom will buy us anything that has to do with science
  4. Mom doesn’t know everything, so looking it up in a book was easier than asking her
  5. We love looking at the eyes of frogs, lizards, and insects if they hold still enough under a microscope
  6. If we do our seat work quickly, Mom lets us do science
  7. Leaving mom’s suitable measuring cups outside will result in punishment
  8. “Red on black” is not a friend of Jack! However, red-on-yellow won’t kill a fellow but should still be avoided.
  9. Baking soda and vinegar can be used as short-burst rocket fuel, but ask Mom first.
  10. Science is fun!

Ultimately, I learned using nature science was the key to unlocking my child’s critical thinking skills, and I took his learning to new heights. My well-planned curriculum went into the “circular file,” I joined my children as we headed out the door and into the world of nature studies and more! In fact, it was because of this wonderful experience that I wrote the first book I self-published: Teaching Science and Having Fun. I could relate my fears and dislike of anything scientific to those who mirrored my concerns and show that it is never too late for any mom to learn new things.

Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

You can continue reading her story in her very personal story, One More Child, from Media Angels, Inc.

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