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Home Schooling Children with Autism

Updated on August 25, 2014
JT Walters profile image

JT Walters has a Master's of Science in Behavoralism from Florida State University. A former Campaign Manager in a Senate Race.

Home Schooling

Higher Standards

Home schooling is a really challenging exceptionally disciplined endeavor. The parent has to take on the role of the Teacher and they have to be the enforcer. Under normal circumstances when a child attends school the parent only assists the child with curriculum, home work and after school activities but when home schooled it becomes so much more. Home schooling is not for the relaxed or super busy parent but for the stay at home Mom with an educational background that has a really firm grasp on curriculum. So my advice to all parents that are working and that are really busy is school many not be your cup of tea because it is so time consuming. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and discipline. But if you still want to Home school I have some tips for you.

Standards for Children with Autism

Do you believe public education standards are set high for children with Autism?

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Benefits of Homeschooling Children with Autism

Make a Lesson Pan

You can down load these off the internet now. Heck you can get curriculum form MIT if you wish. There is no really reason not to have a plan. You must weigh your ability to teach curriculum with the needs of your child. For instance a child with Autism has no scientifically valid curriculum. In other words there is no science behind curriculum for Autistic children. It is a huge gap in our educational system. Actually few curriculums have any scientific basis for their existence. Very limited research has been done on curriculum efficacy and even less on efficacy for children with Autism. Again it is a huge miss in our society.

This is also true when dealing with a child with medical complexities. In most instances schools will not allow children with significant medical complexities to attend school in anything but a segregated setting. It isn’t really fair to lump the Diabetic child with the Severely Emotionally Disabled child. I have taught he emotionally disabled and I know this doesn’t work. Nor is it a good idea to stick the child with CP with a child that is Severally Emotionally Disabled.

As a parent of a child with medical complexities the most the school board here would offer him would be an hour of week of instruction by a homebound school instructor. I do much more with him than that. I want my son to have more than the least amount of services. So knowing there is no curriculum that is scientifically valid also gives me license to teach him things I would want him to learn. It also doesn’t hurt I have an advanced degree in education and was a college professor.

Given there is no scientifically valid curriculum for children with Autism and very little scientifically valid curriculum in general that enables Parents whom Home School the ability to create.

I also like the ITunes University which has courses for free on the Ipad.

The Plan Book

I buy one every year. I teach to my child’s strengths but I also have plan books that teaches to my son’s weaknesses. So there are always two lesson books going each and everyday. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have a plan. I stick to the plan book until I see that the plan has netTed the result I wanted and then I make new plans. In general I only write the plan a week or two in advance. I provide grades the day the tests have been complete and I give daily grades for performance. I find it incomprehensible that a child wouldn’t receive a daily grade. It is like asking an adult to work without pay. So I give day grades.

I believe you can even down load lesson plans off the internet with activities included so if you don’t wish to make a plan book just download plans off the internet. I find it hard to keep track that way. We follow books and make curriculum from there. While I would not dispute the validity of internet lesson plans I am reluctant to use them as we are in a format that is working. But having plans is where you start and involving your children helps this process.

How to Write a Lesson Plan

Set A Schedule

Home school takes less time than regular school but it also takes a great deal of preparation time. This is good time for you and your child to pick your curriculum. I take my son to the book store and we look at books and I merge curriculums. For Instance he was studying Euclidean Geometry and he also studied Frank Lloyd Wright in Art and he made many model building designs based on Euclidean Geometry. So the curriculums over lapped. The test was not actually in Geometry but in the application of Geometric principles when designing a building model. I was out the cost of the books and the costs of the building supplies but my son had a wonderful Math lesson. He applied Mathematics to his building design and thus completed the learning unit. If only public school were that much fun we would all be aces. We usually work first thing in the morning and work until lunch. I work in block sessions and we go until we are exhausted or the lesson is done. But the curriculums always overlap. This was a 5th grade lesson so I knew his peers would be doing easier curriculum.

But the general rule is set a schedule for Home School and schedule breaks in Home School. Sometimes there will be an interruption like perhaps you get ill. It is normal for the teacher to miss school. Remember the substitute? Make up for those days by extending the week or doubling up the next day. Home School does offer the ability to be flexible. Use it to your advantage.

Grade Daily

I don’t believe in standardized test because it is a measure of a very small interval of a person’s life. It is not a consistent measure. I measure each and every day. And the goal is to get my son to demonstrate he has retained the knowledge I have taught him. He is not required to prove to anyone else he has learned anything. I mark him down for not complying and I mark him high for performing well. After six years of home schooling I can tell you my son likes it . He enjoys the routine of it aNd he wants to learn each and every day. He is excited to learn new things even we are working on his weaknesses. My child is a true child of the Global world wanting to explore and be apart of all of it. I would love to take him traveling on an adventure overseas but he is still a bit young for that. So grade daily. Weekly grades are good for testing but daily grades measure everything.

Happy Home Schooling

I can tell you that home schooling is a rewarding endeavor with lots of challenges. And it takes a lot of planning but you can involve your child with the planning and that helps with compliance. The main point is that there really is neither scientifically valid curriculum nor any scientifically proven method for teaching. Before there were teachers there were learners. You just have to create a learning environment in your home and stick to it when everyone else wants to abandon it. It isn’t as easy as everyone might think and lesson has to be taught over many times so that the child gets it. Not every plan is successful. When I taught public school if the majority of the class did poorly on a test I created, I re-taugt the lesson and accepted I had failed them as a teacher the first time around. As a home school teacher you must regulate yourself in the same manner. If your child doesn’t learn the lesson then you must determine why?

Homeschooling yields higher academic performance.

Error Analysis

As a special educator we are taught error analysis. When a student makes a poor grade we look at where they have erred in their logic and then we teach them how to overcome their mistakes so they don’t make the same mistake twice. For instance if a child was given a problem 4 x6 and they answer 10. We know they have failed to identify this as a multiplication problem. We highlight the X and then have them resolve. We might provide a highlight pen for the child to use over the next several weeks so the child is use to identifying the symbol and overcoming this simple error of logic. Error Analysis becomes quite complex the further you go in school. There is a whole field of Science specifically designed to teach people to over come errors in logic. I wish error analysis was used in all educational settings as I believe it yields a higher achieving student but our educational system is not anywhere near the ability to teach to that level because it is so massive. Error Analysis is one of the benefits of Home Schooling, along with Flexible Schedules, Selection of Curriculum, One to One teaching ratio.

In Conclusion

Home School is very beneficial but requires a great deal of planning and dedication. It offers the student and parent the ability to design their own lessons, have flexible schedules, select the curriculum, have a one to one teaching ration and error analysis. For these reasons and much more I can recommend home schooling to all dedicated Moms and Dads who have the time. Quite literally, I could have written an entire hub on Error Analysis and I still might but I thought I would let everyone know that Error Analysis is where our educational system needs to be focused. This is especially true for Children with Autism and children with Medical Complexities who may not have the access to schools.

Update and Lessons Learned

I have kept the majority of my son, Alex, life off hubpages because he has a rare medical condition and is non-verbal with severe autism. However, I never gave up on him and nit even my family knows how much us in him. The knowledge is in there but because he has only had to demonstrate his intelligence/academic achievement to me he will not respond to anyone else. Actually recently, he was asked to identify the organs by his neurologist after I showed the video of Alex identifying bones. Alex loves his neurologist so he did it but he refuses for anyone else. This might be an issue in life for him so I am hoping to enroll him in school. Lesson learned!

Home Schooling also becomes increasingly difficult as they become teenagers as they have their own idea of what they should be learning. Alex hates French as he sees no use in learning four and five other languages when he is non-verbal. Yet, Alex does understand everything that is said to him. All language training for a child with Autism and non-verbal is good. Teenagers have their own minds about what they should be learning and we have moved away from a lot of hands on work we use to do to more book work. Alex is a tactile learner. He learns with his hands so we have had to gravitate back to that but there is nothing I can do about the teenage attitude. Lesson learned!

This video Is just a quick video of a longer oral exam I gave Alex on Anatomy and Physiology. Alex would like to be a doctor if he can't be President. The camera and taping is very distracting for Alex so it is almost impossible to get the whole thing on tape. Please understand that no one believed he was intelligent until I finally got this video. My son leans into letting people think he is intellectually disabled so they require less of him. I never did. I never gave up or surrendered. This is just a portion of an oral exam which is harder then most paper exam. No true or false nor multiple choice. I do cue him when he gets frustrated on the scapula. The scapula always trips him up. Also notice that Alex tries to lead the session and point to the bone requiring me to name it. This Is a form of teaching. I do allow him to point to ask what things are and then he receives the answer in four different languages. To me a brain required to function heals to the maximum extent of its' ability.

Finally, I did not think I could possibly tell anyone about home schooling a child with medical complexities and autism who is none verbal without showing you how I did it. If you have any negative comments to say about my son I moderate but I welcome questions from legitimate readers.

Alex A & P Oral Exam

Alex Wondering Why Non-Handicapped a People Use the Handicapped Accessible Bathroom

Alex sick of non-disabled people using the handicapped accessible bathroom.  He has a petition on
Alex sick of non-disabled people using the handicapped accessible bathroom. He has a petition on | Source

Updated Conclusion

Home School does not have to look like a classroom. Learning and education us available to everyone and everywhere. We learn through our environments. The most important part of being a home school teacher is being able to evaluate your child unbiased. My son has made "A"'s in Science since he was a baby but I could never explain why until I obtained this video. Listen to your child because even no verbal children/students are speaking and demonstrating cognitive ability.

Remember no matter what anyone else believes you know what is inside your child. Never give up on them and always teach them everyday, everywhere and then slip more in when they are not looking. Believe in them and never give up and they will amaze you. My son amazes me everyday!


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    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hi Unmasked,

      You know the best part about home schooling is that you can start when ever you want.

      With my son I started when he was much younger than four. I started when he was little with garden in the backyard. He loved to plant the seeds and watch them become little seddlings and then we would translate them into the garden.

      We also did kitchen Math which is a lot fo fun. As an educator I know that life is full of lessons that we can teach our kids everyday and we do.

      I am certain you will be a wonderful home schooling parent just make certian you are networked in for team sport activities. That way your child will have a high socialization.

      My friends child we pretty much home schooled between myself and her grandmother who is a teacher. By the time she went to real school she was required to take her college boards in 6th grade. She is in her second year of college in her junior year of High School.

      Parents have the ability to influence their children's educational outcomes the most by making it a priority. You have done that already. Congratulations. In the future if you need any assistance I will be happy to provide your with further resources.

      All My Best You Have Your Focus in the Right Place Your Child!!


    • Unmasked profile image


      7 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      This is a fantastic hub. I have intended on homeschooling my daughter since birth and I like to see other parents supporting the endeavor. She is not quite two yet so I have time but I am starting to prepare, now. Thank you for the interesting and informative article

    • profile image

      Jt Walters 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for reading before I was a Mum I was a school teacher, beahvior analyst and a college profesor working on my PHD.

      There is so little science in curriculums and even less science in the practice of teaching that educations credibility is strained. It is easier t do it yourself and make certian your child receives an excelent education then leave things up to chance. But it is not for the weak at heart parent. This takes a great deal of dedication and presistence. A parent having to teach their child can be contemptuous unless the parent really empasizes academics and diligence.

      But this article also gives parents a measuring stick to ask questions of their children's teacher because all children should be entitled to a scientifically valid currciulum and a teacher that is an expert in the execution of instructio in education. Anything less than that is a failure of society for the child and family.

      Sorry I have such strong views. As an educator I was always the first to admit when my students failed I failed and I was responsible to do an error analysis and take corrctive ction so the children attained the skills I had set as goals for them.

      All of this is missing in our educational system.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      7 years ago

      Wow, there is so much involved in home schooling, and even more that I had never thought of if home schooling a child with autism. Thanks for this enlightening hub.

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much for reading and thanks for the review. I really appreciate it. I'm going over to check you out as well. I have the feeling we have a lot in common. Thank you again and I'll look forward to reading you on the Hub.

    • dianew profile image


      7 years ago from Spain

      A very well written and informative hub, thanks. Well done JT for covering such an important topic. voted UP and USEFUL

    • profile image

      jt walters 

      7 years ago

      Great to read you. Thank you for the encouragement. My background is in fictional writing and technical writing so this is a stretch for me. I am going to look at your work as well. There are a lot of really good writers involved with the hubpages and it is humbling to be surround by such great writers. You should check out my Hub on caring for Autistic children during Hurricanes. It would make a great screen play!! It links to several others but it is right up your alley.

      Thank you. I really appreciate you readiing my work, you taking the time to write a comment and giving me the thumbs up. I am humbled you would follow me.

      With Great Appreciation,


    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I write novels about special ed kids. Nicely done I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ


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