Monday, April 9, 2018

The Benefits Of Homeschooling Brain Challenged Children

We are nearing the end of our first year of home school! This week we will have completed the required 40 weeks, which feels like a huge accomplishment. However, we can't hang up our school hats just yet because the children need to finish all their books in addition to getting in the 40 weeks. 

Parenting children with brain challenges means we didn't always get in a full days work. We chose to try home school because of the various brain challenges along with social and emotional challenges our children face. Getting up for school at a certain time, after they had slept poorly, meant a battle every step of the way. Ever try to get a brain challenged child to eat when he is feeling ornery and out of sorts with the world? You can't explain that he will be hungry in another hour because he lives in the here and now. He cannot think about even 5 minutes into the future. All he knows is that right now he isn't hungry and if mom insists that he eat breakfast, he will melt down. Nor can you insist he wear a coat, get dressed, take his back pack, or a host of other things. Children with FASD do not learn from their mistake's which means you can continually fight the same battle's. Children with brain inflammation simply cannot think or rationalize. They are in fight, flight, or freeze, All.The.Time.

Sometimes I could get my children out the door with relative ease, only to get a call from school. They were melting down, or worse, or something had happened and the teacher needed advice on how to handle the situation, and on it went. Toward the end of the year, I got call's nearly daily, sometimes I went to school more than once a day to intervene when a child was raging and couldn't be calmed.

Then they came home from school and everything fell apart. They had tried so hard to keep it together at school, because what child wants to fall apart in front of his peers? Nor did they feel safe at school because the teacher had a whole group of children to teach, not just our traumatized children, which meant things couldn't always remain the same. Children with trauma thrive on routine and structure. Changing the seating arrangement threw them over the edge without fail. A birthday party, program, special activity, or even extra recess was enough to send them into a panic. After doing their best to keep on top of their emotion's, they attacked the one person with whom they felt safe, mom

Our evening's were spent ironing out school trouble's, calming over stimulated children, and trying to get them relaxed enough so they could get a good nights rest, which would make getting them out the door the next morning a wee bit easier.

I was getting run down, my children didn't feel safe, and my poor husband was getting weary of phone calls from his panicked wife asking how to deal with the latest round of school problems. 

When home school came up, I originally said, "Absolutely not!" After one particularly bad day, I decided that perhaps home school wouldn't be so bad after all. God worked out several kinks that we thought were insurmountable and here we are nearly a year later, with our first school term nearly behind us.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Did I enjoy it? That is a bit harder to answer because home schooling traumatized, brain challenged children is NOT a walk in the park, but the rewards are huge.

Joseph is better emotionally than he has ever been. If he is over stimulated or emotionally unstable, I cut his lessons short or give him the day off. This gives his brain a chance to regroup and refocus rather than forcing him to try to do work and pushing him into further dysregulation.

On the days when brain inflammation is over the top, we don't do school either. My daughter loses what she has learned when she get's PANS flairs and no amount of explaining helps. You have to wait until the inflammation subsides and go from there.

Another big asset was that we could tailor each subject for each child. In some subjects such as math and English, our children were behind their grade level, while in other subjects they were ahead. In the typical classroom setting it isn't always feasible to tailor subject's for each child, especially when your children attend a private school.

So all in all, I would say home school is exactly what our children need. We can adjust the schedule to their daily ability to focus which means they are at least a tiny bit more agreeable. I keep our days low key, or boring as some of my children call it, which enable's them to use their brain power for studies versus using it to cope with other stressors. They are doing lesson's that challenge them but do not overwhelm them and we go over each new concept until they have mastered it.

Dean and Lia playing Go Fish with the alphabet cards.

Dean explaining a math lesson to Joseph.

follow me on FB @ Tales From Our House Blog


  1. I too am coming into the home stretch of our first year of homeschooling one of my children. It has not always been easy but well worth it. She is better emotionally than she has been in a long time. We still have a long way to go but glad we are on the right track. So glad we made the change. It was supposed to be a temporary change but we are diving into another year. Will just play it by ear and see what she needs from year to year. But for now this is a wonderful choice for us. Glad you have found it works for you too. :) Kelly

    1. Your story sounds very similar to ours. I was secretly hoping homeschool wouldn't be the answer, as I really didn't feel I had the mental and emotional energy to put into it. However, it proved to be just what our children need, so for now we will continue homeschooling them. Blessings!


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from my readers!