Home Schooling: Risks of Home Schooling

Home Schooling: Risks of Home Schooling

September 2, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


[MUSIC PLAYING] While we’re certainly not
discouraging anyone from home schooling, when it comes
to your child who has a disability, there certainly are
some risks that we want you to know about. And so that’s what we want
to inform you about. Right. And one of the big risks,
really, is that ultimately, you may make a decision that
either your child’s disability is beyond something that you
can provide for at home or without the support of your
school’s funds or services down the road, or your child
may have developed a disability after you’ve begun
home schooling him or her. Or over time, you’re becoming
more aware that, in fact, this is a disability as you’re home
schooling your child. And then you go to your public
school and say, OK, now I’d like to have you identify
my child, et cetera. That’s where the
risks come in. And here’s where I see them,
at least in my practice. Many of the times when a school
district is trying to decide whether or not a child
has a disability that requires special education services or
that requires accommodations, they’re going to be asking
a number of questions. And there’s many checklists that
states will come up with for various eligibility
categories. So, if a child has a
specific learning disability as an example. One of the questions often posed
is, is what we’re seeing in terms of the performance
of the child related to a disability, or are we seeing
something that is a result of environmental or circumstantial
causes, or causes like not having received
previous education. So, an easy example of something
like that might be a child who moved to this country
from a country where they don’t have a public
education system and they’ve never received instruction. And now they’re in second grade
or something, and we’re taking a look at test results. And what looks like a learning
disability may not, in fact, be a learning disability
at all. It’s just that this
child’s never been instructed on how to read. And so we don’t, as a society,
and we certainly don’t give funding for situations
like that where it’s not disability related. It’s related to a lack
of instruction. And that’s just one example. In a situation where a family
has made the decision to home school their child, unless the
disability’s extremely easy to diagnose and something that is
really without question that a medical doctor could easily
say, this child has this disability, or that it’s
very apparent. If there’s a judgment call about
whether the child has a disability, many times that
decision to home school made bite the parent in the behind
later, frankly, because what the school’s going to say is,
this isn’t a disability. You just haven’t been providing
appropriate instruction all along. And that’s a kind of hard
thing to prove. Now, most states require that
you have met some standard on a regular basis to demonstrate
that your child is receiving an education. So, hopefully you have data that
can maybe refute that, but that’s a tough
thing to prove. Right. And in the home schooling world,
as I’ve read up on, there’s ways to capture
that data. And one is to put a portfolio
together on your child. And then, of course, the
other way is to have standardized testing. And again, if you’re home
schooling, you may not have standardized testing so
you might need to rely on that portfolio. So that’s one risk. Another risk that I’ve seen is
that, if the child has some kind of a social skill deficit
that is based on a disability– so, I’ll just pull
out an example. In autism spectrum disorder,
very often, if not always, I’m not a doctor, but in my
experience it seems to be, almost always, it comes with a
core social skill deficit. I think it’s one of the criteria
for the diagnosis. So, that’s related to
the disability. Now, again, if it’s
a very clear cut diagnosis, that’s one thing. But what about a situation where
the family comes to the school district after maybe home
schooling a child for six or seven years and wants to
enroll the child in middle school, or in high school,
or something like that. And it’s not as clear cut. Maybe it’s a child with a
diagnosis that’s a little harder to make. And the parent is saying, well,
the social skills are really behind. I’ve noticed that when we go to
these home schooling events that he’s not interacting with
peers or that he says really inappropriate things. And unfortunately, that is
going to be one of those situations where the school
district’s going to say, this is not a matter of a social
skills deficit that’s disability related. Your child hasn’t been
around other kids. They haven’t practiced that. It’s just another avenue that
the school district may later be in a position to take
because, unfortunately you don’t have the evidence as to
how they did in a larger environment per se. And again, many individuals
who choose to home school their children do participate
in group activities and community-based groups, home
schooling groups, outings, and things of that nature. So again, you just want to have
some data to show that, in fact this is not as if your
child’s been stuck in a room for six or seven years. In fact, we do these things,
and I can demonstrate that this is a problem. Another risk, and along the same
lines of home schooling your child who has a disability,
is that, unless it’s a very short period of time
that you’ve done it, if you do ultimately return your
child to the public schools and give the school district an
opportunity to educate your child who has special education
needs and it doesn’t work out or you don’t feel
that he or she is making progress, which happens
frequently. Then in that situation, if you
want to challenge the program the school district has offered,
you’re going to be met, unfortunately, with an
argument on the other side. Well, he or she missed out on
all of those years of special education instruction and
therefore, of course, we can’t expect the level of progress we
might have expected if you hadn’t home schooled
him or her. I find there is somewhat
of a bias out there. I have had a case, at least one,
where the child had been home schooled for many years
prior to enrolling in their public high school, and
we had a dispute. And it was very clear that there
was a perspective, that philosophy, you broke it, you
bought it kind of thing. Well, you’ve been educating
your child all these years at home. You can’t come after your
school district later. Legally, you can, but
unfortunately it is a bias and it’s something you need
to realize is a risk. So, once again, we’re not trying
to discourage you from home schooling your child
with a disability. We just want to make you aware
that there are some risks out there and we thought you
should know about them. [MUSIC PLAYING]