Homeschooling Children with Brain Injuries
A brain injury sustained at birth or at any time during childhood can have severe negative impacts on a child’s ability to learn, socialize, and cope in school. Developmental delays are common in children with such injuries. These learning problems can make it very hard to learn in a traditional classroom. Some students do better with a special education curriculum or in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The instructional materials, equipment, and learning aids used in a special education class focus on the goals specific to meeting each individual child’s learning goals and needs.Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation
Homeschooling is an option many parents turn to. A child who struggles with reading or comprehending any subject at their grade level can quickly fall behind. Many also face stigma by their peers, getting teased and bullied. Parents, therefore, choose to provide a safer and more comfortable environment for their child to learn. Although there are private schools specifically for special needs students, they can be quite costly.
Getting Started with Homeschooling in Ohio
Homeschooled students are not required by law to receive district-funded special education services, nor do families receive any state financial assistance. However, parents have a right to educate their children at home, so long as they meet state law requirements for doing so. The Ohio Department of Education then allows for the district superintendent to exempt that student from compulsory school attendance. Parents or guardians are then responsible for choosing their child’s curriculum and course of study.
To be approved to homeschool a child, one must:
- Notify the district superintendent of their intention to homeschool a school-aged child. A Home Education Notification Form must be submitted.
- Receive a formal excuse from school attendance laws by the district superintendent, within 14 days of the official receiving the notification.
- Provide 900 hours of instruction annually, assess the student’s work, and notify the respective district superintendent annually.
- Possess a high school diploma.
Maintaining Status to Provide Home Schooling
Each school year, a parent or guardian who chooses to manage their child’s education must submit a notification for review. The superintendent of the district they reside in must determine they’re compliant with the state’s home education regulations. Annual assessments may include certified standardized test results, a written report by a certified teacher or another person that demonstrates progress made by the student (based on their abilities), or an alternative assessment.
School districts must be notified that a family is homeschooling a child. Otherwise, the district will see the absence from school as truancy. Under Ohio law, all individuals from six to 18 years old must attend school. To homeschool a child, one must provide instruction in specified subjects. These include language, spelling, reading, and writing. Geography, national/state/local government, and U.S. and Ohio history are required, as are mathematics, science, physical education, health, fine arts, and first aid/safety/fire prevention. With each notification, the parent or guardian must submit a brief outline of the year’s curriculum, in addition to the textbooks, commercial curricula, and teaching materials they expect to use.
Resources for Homeschooling
Time4Learning offers resources to help with individualized learning. Although it suggests referring to the Ohio Department of Education regarding legal requirements, the site provides insights into the process of homeschooling. It emphasizes the use of diverse sets of materials and activities and finding a strategy that works for each individual child. The system accommodates different learning styles, children who enjoy using computers, and parents who track progress. It also includes self-paced lesson plans. Such flexibility, in turn, accommodates the variable needs of youngsters with brain injuries, whose capabilities differ depending on the nature of their injury and subsequent deficits.
Another perk of Time4Learning is that it provides sample lesson plans per each grade and subject, in accordance with Ohio education standards. Tools for finding relevant activities are available as well. The web-based system also provides multimedia lessons, printable worksheets, reporting tools, and teaching tools.
School Choice Ohio isn’t specifically a homeschooling resource, but it does provide parents with information on all available education options. The organization stresses home education as the most personalized form of education. Homeschoolers can purchase or otherwise obtain a curriculum or create their own, although state requirements must be met.
Other means to support home education are highlighted, including a co-op or support group. These can complement home education, and allow students to socialize with others who are homeschooled. Special needs students can also receive help from an outside teacher or tutor who may be familiar with the child’s individual needs and methods of helping them learn.
How to Finance Homeschooling
In Ohio, the state does not fund homeschooling or families who engage in it. However, there are state-funded resources that can provide assistance. These include the:
Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program: Provides scholarships to eligible students, which can be used at participating schools or in hiring a private service provider. The program is open to any K-12 student with an IEP.
Ohio Autism Scholarship Program: Students with an autism spectrum disorder, which often include those with brain injuries, are eligible to apply. Worth up to $27,000 per year, the scholarship can be used towards school and private service education.
Staying in Line with the Student’s Abilities
When a student’s work and progress are assessed each year, their portfolio must show that academic progress is in line with their abilities. Each child with a brain injury has different challenges, goals, and needs. They’re still required to meet certain state guidelines. Under state law, homeschooled students can receive a high school diploma under certain conditions – specifically, the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code 3313.6110.
Students can also participate in part-time school activities if they are able, and the local public school district approves of it. Parents or guardians can also choose to enroll a child in public school later. The district superintendent must grant approval and determine an appropriate grade level. Therefore, the system allows for flexibility should a home-schooled child with a brain injury make sufficient progress to re-enter the public school system.