I think we all know I love the Charlotte Mason method. But now that I'm truly understanding that we are a special needs family, I realize how it helps us in so many other ways. I believe this method is beneficial to all children, but I've thought of a few ways that it really helps those with special needs.
Living Books Stimulate and InspireChildren with bipolar disorder and dyslexia have very vivid imaginations. These children can be distracted but are very creative. Giving them books that stimulate their imaginations almost ensures their focus. Many times, it inspires them to do something else such as draw, write their own story or explore something in nature.
Family StudiesAlexis is 14 and usually a child is reading and doing their work on their own long before this age. In fact, by age 10, they can do nearly all of their assignments independently.
However, Alexis has dyslexia (a language processing disorder), dyscalculia (a math disability) and dysgraphia (a writing disability).
Children with dyslexia have no concept of time, have short-term memory problems and a host of other symptoms. Giving her assignments and expecting them to be remembered, much less done in a timely manner, would be asking the world of her.
Fortunately, with the CM method, I am able to teach multiple ages which helps keep her in a group setting. She gains the knowledge but in a way in which she's not left to flounder. I do give her independent assignments but perhaps not as much as others her age. In time, as she has more help from specialists, we'll be able to transition her to more and more independent work.
NarrationNarration is one of the foundations of a Charlotte Mason education. It certainly helps children with A.D.H.D., bipolar and dyslexia as these children tend to have co-existing challenges with reading, writing and math. Although I have no children with A.D.H.D. currently (and narration doesn't address math), narration is a huge help for any child with reading or writing challenges.
It is recommended that children begin writing their narrations at a certain age, but this can always be adapted for children with writing challenges. Narration, copywork and dictation are the tools used to teach proper spelling, grammar and punctuation and to eliminate any of them would be a disservice to my children.
When requiring writing from Alexis, I give her more time to complete it. As well, children with dyslexia/dysgraphia do better with keyboarding than writing. Many times, she can simply type her work. Giving fewer handwritten assignments and more time to complete them help her to maintain her handwriting skills without overwhelming her.
Short LessonsI guess this is a no-brainer. Shorter lessons are helpful to children with attention issues or short-term memory problems. Children with bipolar disorder or dyslexia are easily distracted and the shorter lessons really are accommodating to this challenge.
These are just a few things that come to mind when considering how this method helps my children in their homeschooling. There will be more in Part II.
Do you find that the method or style of homeschooling you've chosen benefits special needs children? If you have no special needs children, do you find that it's easy to adapt your chosen method or style to your children's individual needs?
Disclaimer: I respect my children's privacy and level of comfort. Posts such as this one have been discussed with and approved by them.