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Making Time For Learning

By Kerry Jones

Does it ever seem like you get finally dressed for the day around the same time other people are putting on their pajamas? Have you ever washed the bottom of your body in one shower, and saved the rest of you for another shower? Do you ever feel like you just finished the breakfast dishes, and it’s already suppertime? Any of these may be familiar to you if you are homeschooling a child with special needs. Life just simply takes longer for us than for other people, doesn’t it?

Homeschooling a child with challenges is made even more challenging by trying to fit it in between the business of living - - personal care, food issues, doctor and therapy visits, networking with other parents with special needs children. So just how much time is left for learning? Not a lot. Special needs homeschooling families need educational materials that are easy to use, require little preparation, and are accessible for varying educational abilities and learning styles.

Fortunately, there are some wonderful quality homeschooling products that fit each of these criteria. One of the most wonderful time saving programs I’ve found is NetTrekker. NetTrekker is an educational search engine, that makes finding quality websites for any subject you are studying a snap. The websites can also be searched by reading level, and/or grade. No more filtering endlessly through search engine results trying to find something that will support your lessons.

Another terrific resource is Cosmeo. Although touted as a homework helper, this video and reference search site is actually the perfect harried homeschoolers companion. It includes thousands of educational videos on every imaginable subject, and again can be searched by subject and grade. It also links to hundreds of childrens reference books and magazines so you can quickly link and print articles that will enhance your instruction.

For visual learners, or those who just a little extra help making sense of their schoolwork, SkillsTutor is like having a live-in tutor in your home. Devised for kids grades K-12, SkillsTutor provides individualized online instruction in reading, writing, language, information skills, math, comprehension, and life and workforce skills. Parents love this program because it quickly helps them evaluate just where their child is, academically, and what they need the most help with.

For an overall homeschool program for special needs students, Time4Learning is a wonderful option. T4L is an online, interactive program that covers an entire core curriculum in grades K-8. Lesson planning, worksheets, review, testing, and record keeping are all done for you, giving you and your child time to simply enjoy the fun daily lessons and activities. Another advantage of this program is that is can work with almost any learning style and ability level. Parents can have their child work at different levels for different subjects, and can work sequentially through the lessons, or pick and choose what they want to focus on. Best of all, the whole program costs less than $20 per month - - much less than most comprehensive homeschool programs.

Parents of special needs homeschoolers know that learning is key to their child’s growth and potential. They just aren’t always sure how to fit it into their schedule. Assistive technologies, like the ones I’ve mentioned here, make homeschool time more productive, and less time-consuming. They might even make it possible for you to bathe your whole body at your next shower!

Kerry Jones is a homeschooling parent of two special needs children. She writes extensively about educational and assistive technology. You can find more of her articles by visiting her website.

About the author

Kerry Jones is a freelance writer and web maintenance engineer in North Carolina. She has two sons, and has been homeschooling since 1999. Click for more information about the Time4Learning homeschool curriculum she uses for her right-brained visual son. You can find more of her articles by visiting her a href="http://my.att.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=16&groupid=353935&ck=">website.

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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