1. Sit down and decide why you are home schooling. It is important to be firm in your convictions. Home schooling itself can be a controversial matter. Home schooling a child with disabilities can be even more so. Be in agreement with each other as husband and wife. Pray for the Lordís wisdom in making choices.
2. Write down the goals you would like to see accomplished with your child in the year, next six months, and next month or so. Be specific. Break the steps down into manageable pieces to be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. Beware of "overestimating" and donít be afraid to back up. What is it going to take to get there? Will you need equipment, curriculum, teaching aids or help? Next order catalogs. Write for information on curriculum that you feel may suit your needs. Try to find a broad base to choose from.
3. Establish control in your home. Your child needs to be able and willing to follow your instructions. This comes about through consistent, loving discipline. Letting your child know what is expected of him/her and following through with your requests with bite not just bark really works. The Bible is clear on this one!
4. If you are worried about harassment by your local district or professional personnel, join HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). They are great confidence boosters! File your local districtís Intent to Homeschool form on time.
5. Set aside funds each month for equipment, teaching aids or other supportive material. Budget wisely and be prepared to shop around. Many materials are expensive but there are ways around the costs.
6. Find a supportive educational consultant if you are feeling muddled or bogged down. With notebook in hand, try hiring a professional you trust as a consultant.
7. Get involved in a support group. If you cannot find one you are comfortable with (or that is comfortable with you), create your own. Get involved with the NATHHAN Network and/or NATHHAN Directory and get a copy right away from us. You need not wait until spring when the new ones are printed. As soon as you have sent in your confidential questionnaire with YES for directory, you can ask us for one. Write to a bunch of families that look like they might be able to help. So many great friendships have been formed this way. We cannot stress enough how encouraging it is to know you are not alone in this home schooling endeavor.
8. Learn to keep track of your progress records.
IEPís may not legally be required in your state, but it is wise to make a game plan of action, to mark progress and to see how far youíve come. Make two copies of your records, including medical, and store them in two different places.
9. Set aside a shelf or cupboard in your home for just your homeschooling supplies. This one area may need to be bigger or smaller depending on how much equipment, books, games, teaching aids and curriculum you need. Be organized. This is a real key to eliminating frustration every morning. It is a waste of time when you go to get started and cannot find the things you need.