Charlotte Mason and Special Needs
Carol Bainbridge, a gifted childrens’ educational expert says,
“Gifted children need a special environment, as does any special needs child.”
Charlotte Mason’s motto – education is an atmosphere – is very supportive of children with special needs.
“Gifted and special needs are terms that have traditionally been used to describe students who don’t fit into the ‘ordinary’ box. Some teachers, administrators and parents are determined to drag these children into conformity and hold on tight to the ones who try to break from the ordinary. There are personalities that can somehow survive in the box, but surviving is not living an abundant life. A Charlotte Mason education takes away the box. There is no box. A child is a person that has a mind with an amazing capacity for love and joy and ideas and growth.” Jennifer L. Gagnon
Charlotte Mason also believed that education should suit a child’s ability. She says,
“A great deal has been said lately about the danger of overpressure, of requiring too much mental work from a child of tender years. The danger exists; but lies, not in giving the child too much, but in giving him the wrong thing to do, the sort of work for which the present state of his mental development does not fit him.”
Charlotte Mason and Special Needs Family Stories
Sheila Carrol encourages parents with special needs kids that Charlotte Mason’s ideas can be used successfully when you homeschool. She gives many examples from different families.
Charlotte Mason and Dyslexia
Marion said, “Once I stepped away from the textbook, workbook, test mentality, our family began to live and learn like never before.”
Sensory Processing Disorder (Formally called Sensory Integration Dysfunction)
Jennifer James shares how she homeschools her daughter and what other skills she has learnt along the way. She doesn’t claim to be CM but it’s still worth a read.
Mrs Darling who used Ambleside Online for her daughter from age 9 -13 shares how she made this Charlotte Mason curriculum work for her daughter with sensory integration disorder
Autism and PDD-NOS
Sonia Shaffer shares stories from homeschooling her daughter with autism and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder).
Kelly is a clinical psychologist .She shares how she used the Charlotte Mason method to make education happen for her autistic son.
Michelle shares how she uses a Charlotte Mason Method with dyslexia and bipolar disorder.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADHD
Some women share their experience with ADD
Stephanie shares her experience of homeschooling her son with ADHD – he’s 22 now,
Special Needs Resources & Tips
Copywork – Although many children with dyslexia and dysgraphia are encouraged to learn typing, it is also important to learn handwriting. Copywork can often take the stress out of handwriting because they only need to concentrate on forming letters and not thinking about what to write. Printing copywork on cream, or soft pastel paper, is also helpful for children with dyslexia.
“We also utilize a large amount of copy-work. Copy-work is part of the review and over-learning of language that is so necessary for dyslexic learners. Seeing the word and writing the word correctly over and over again until the passage can be copied from dictation.” Homeschooling With Dyslexia
According the British dyslexia association it is best to teach cursive first to children with dyslexia.
Reading Aloud Living Books – Living books help children get the big picture. A child who may not be able to read at grade level can still experience a rich education through living books.
My Audio School is full of visual lessons and audio books. It is set out according to periods of history.
Oral Narrations – are a helpful way to test comprehension and aid memorization without being hampered with the writing exercise.
Workboxes – These work especially well with children who need routine.
Nature Study – depending on your child’s fine motor skills keeping a nature journal may be hard. However a photographic nature journal may be just the thing.
Short lessons – help children with short attention spans.