By Peggy Ployhar
Often when we write or talk about homeschooling in the United States, we see it through the lens of our surrounding established homeschooling landscape. Earlier this month (May 2018), I had the privilege of speaking at the Global Home Education Conference in Russia where my lens was greatly adjusted.
While in Russia, I heard many countries present on the current state of homeschooling in their homelands. Additionally, I had the chance to speak with researchers and hear about some of the latest data being gathered from all over the world regarding various homeschooling practices, laws, and trends.
It would be impossible to share with you all I learned, especially since I will probably be processing much of it for a long time into the future, but I have decided to specifically share some trends that surfaced during the GHEC 2018 conference in relation to special education homeschooling.
5 Worldwide Special Education Homeschooling Trends
1 – 35% Special Education Homeschool Rate in North America
In speaking with leaders and policy makers, many leaders shared with me they were seeing a special needs rate between 33% to 37% in their homeschooling population. And although these figures didn’t surprise me, the fact these leaders were throwing these numbers out without me asking communicated how pressing this issue was with the homeschoolers they were seeking to support.
2 – #1 Reason to Homeschool in the U.K.is Special Educational Needs
As the representative from the United Kingdom presented the state of homeschooling in his country, one of his slides gave percentages his organization had gathered relative as to why parents in his country choose to homeschool. The number one reason given was “Lack of provision for child’s SEN (Special Educational Need).”
3 – Special Educational Needs are the 2nd Most Influential Catalyst in the Russian Homeschooling Movement
Homeschooling in Russia is on an explosive growth pattern for many reasons, but one presenter at the GHEC 2018 stated that “Just behind the lack of proper education for remote village children, the second most influential factor had to do with inadequate means for the Russian schools for teaching children with special learning/behavioral needs.
4 – Canadian Homeschooling Trend: Special Needs Rates One of the Top Three Reasons to Homeschool
In the report given on North America’s homeschool status, the Canadian representative pointed out that the top 3 reasons parents in Canada are choosing to homeschool were because of bullying, special needs, and the public schooling agenda being taught.
5 – Research on Homeschooling’s Differentiated Education Continues to Be an Optimal Choice for Children with Learning Challenges
The largest segment of data presented at GHEC 2018 in relation to special needs came from the researchers who presented new and past studies on the how love, differentiated instruction, child-paced lessons, interest-focused learning, and teaching with immediate feedback create an optimal learning environment for any child, but especially a child who struggles.
The Increase is Evident
There is no doubt that the shortcomings of institutionalized special education are causing the increase in parental choice for homeschooling. Add to this increase the current rise in learning and behavioral issues among children, coupled with the inability for schools worldwide to provide the specialized instructions needed by these students, and we better understand why homeschooling is increasing in the special educational realm.
As this population grows, so does the need for reliable and consistent support, resources, and training. This community covers a vast spectrum, from gifted and 2E learners to children with extreme challenges who progress so slowly in learning new concepts that from the outside it may not seem like they are progressing at all.
Coming Together to Support More Families
The need is huge…no it is colossal. But, thankfully those burdened to help these special needs homeschooling families are also increasing in number. It is the goal of our organization, SPED Homeschool to unite those burdened to help these families so we can save their time, energy, and money while teaching to the specific needs of their child, no matter where in the world they live or what means they possess to teach their children.
How about you?
Are you homeschooling a child with special learning needs and in need of support, encouragement, and resources? Then we would love to have you join our support group, check out our website, our podcasts, our videos, and our Facebook page on a regular basis for new content, use our Pinterest recommendations, and sign up for our newsletter.
Or maybe you are looking to further support the special education homeschooling community through your experience as a veteran sped homeschooling parent. If that is the case, I would ask you to prayerfully consider joining our team and then filling out this application if you feel led to do so.
Other ways you can help our outreach is by becoming a donor partner with a one-time or on-going gift; partnering with us in prayer for our needs and outreach through our new prayer calendar; or become a partner organization so we can tell our community about a service or product you provide that is beneficial to special education homeschooling families (It is free, just fill out this short-questionnaire and upload a logo or image we can use on our website.)
The growing number of special education homeschooling families around the world does not need to be a concerning trend. Instead, this movement is creating learning environments for children that really work…one child at a time. My prayer, as I look into the future and what kind of report will be brought to the Global Home Education Conference in two years (GHEC 2020) in the Philippines regarding special education homeschooling is that the concern currently felt for these families will be replaced with the excitement of a growing movement that is unified and empowered to teach each struggling learner in the manner they were designed to flourish and reflect the image of God into this world.