By Shari McMinn
Homeschooling children with unique life difficulties can be a daunting task. These special students are more than just struggling learners — they are unique learners — and it takes unique parents to follow-through with long-term discipleship, education, and unconditional love.
Such students might have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) issues from the ups and downs of foster care or adoption. A child could have a life-altering major mental or physical delay. Maybe a student is undergoing long-term treatment for a debilitating disease. Perhaps others might have endured shock and great suffering with the tragic death of a parent or sibling. All of these compound the expected rough spots of a homeschool lifestyle, even though a Christ-centered home education is the best answer for their overall growth and development.
I’m Shari McMinn, mom to 11, the five youngest of whom are unique learners. After 27 years of being both mom and teacher to my children, I am getting close to the finish line of our final home high school graduation in 2022. In this autumn season of my life, I hope to now encourage other parents who are running a similar marathon. My unique learners have had to deal with nearly all of the previously mentioned difficulties. Yet, God has blessed our diligent homeschooling efforts despite our daily struggles. If we can do this, your family can, too!
In future blog articles (monthly), I’ll be sharing encouragement and practical advice related to homeschooling Unique Learners, but for now I hope you will investigate and take advantage of the support offered by CHEC for homeschooling unique children, including the following events and resources:
- Our webpage for unique learner resources.
- Our Colorado Homeschool Guidebook with chapters on Vision, Struggling Learners, and Preventing Burnout.
- CHEC Independent School (IS) enrollment accepts grade level modification, and in lieu of standardized testing, allows you to submit an alternative assessment in the form of a “parent evaluation.”
- Homeschool Introductory Seminars are offered annually in January, June, and August. In addition to sessions on Vision and Philosophy of Homeschooling and Colorado Law, the final Nuts & Bolts sessions discuss baselines and routines for struggling learners. (CHEC IS members attend free.)
- June 16th, Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference (RMHC) Wednesday’s pre-conference, 8:00am-2:45pm at the Homeschool Introductory Seminar includes a bonus 3rd session at 1:45pm, Unique Learners. (CHEC IS members attend free.)
- June 16th, RMHC Wednesday’s pre-conference, 9am-3:45pm, offers screenings for identifying learning delays.
- June 17th, RMHC Thursday’s Conversation Cafe, 1pm, Raising Children with Special Needs is an encouraging and practical group discussion, which I will be facilitating.
Let me leave you with this Scripture to lift your spirits:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
Have a peaceful start to 2021, and watch for my next CHEC blog post on homeschooling Unique Learners. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, Shari@CHEC.org.
Shari McMinn, for the CHEC team
Update: The Unique Learners’ Column will now be published monthly on the 4th week of the month.