School Year 2020-2021: What to do, what to do? Homeschool or a variation of it?

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by Bob Doman

As we start the first tentative steps to come out of the COVID-19 lockdown, there is a lot of discussion as to what this coming school year is going to look like. It is perhaps time to become proactive and establish your own course for this coming school year. I suggest that you look at 2020 as an opportunity to change your child’s life. A year of Targeted Home-Based Education could do that.

It’s a bit tough to create social distancing in a classroom full of children, and no one is seriously thinking about kids spending their school day wearing masks or regularly washing their hands. The data would indicate that healthy children are not at great risk of serious consequences from the virus; but how about the children with compromised health and the rest of the family, including the grandparents? I posed this question a couple of years ago: “What do your kids get from preschool?” The answer was, “They get sick.” We are all familiar with the goodies that kids bring home from school. This fall we are certainly going to be at even a greater risk, with even more significant consequences.

Best-case scenario, the schools are going to be spending a lot of time figuring out what to do and then a lot more time actually working out how to implement it. And let’s face it, for many of our children school hadn’t worked out so wonderfully when everything was “normal,” particularly for those children with attention or learning issues or special needs.

If you had perhaps given some thought to homeschool, and even if not, now would be the time to stop thinking about homeschool and spend the year doing NACD Targeted Home-Based Education and accomplishing some major goals. Even if you only home educate for a year, you can make significant life altering changes.

  • Significantly improve your child’s short-term memory, working memory, executive function and maturity—make them smarter.
  • Improve your child’s reading.
  • Teach them to love reading and turn them into a reader.
  • Accelerate your child’s math.
  • Teach them that math can be easy and to like it.
  • Help them learn how to love learning and become independent, motivated learners.
  • Teach your child how to do chores and how to be responsible.
  • Build their self-esteem, confidence, and independence, and teach them how to be highly capable.
  • Establish a strong positive, healthy relationship with your child.
  • Help your child discover their strengths, interests, and passions.

It really is possible to change your child’s life in a year. Raising and educating a child really is all about putting a unique package together. It’s about your whole child. It’s about your unique child and putting the pieces together to really help them become successful, happy, contributing adults. If you spend the year doing NACD Home-Based Education and choose to send them back to school next year, you will be sending back a different child. This new child can be smarter, have a whole different attitude toward learning, responsibility, and themselves, and go back functioning higher academically—a different child, a different student, and perhaps a child with a different future.

For the child with challenges—whether behavioral or problems associated with attention or learning—this year could be the year to really target and address their issues, not just make accommodations for them.

The special needs child receiving a session or two a week of attention from a school speech, physical, or occupational therapist may fit the school’s definition of an opportunity, but it shouldn’t fit a parent’s. A child with learning problems being permitted to sit in class with their peers, even though they are at a significantly different level, doesn’t really constitute an opportunity. The reality is, what constitutes an opportunity is based upon how you perceive potential. You need only to look at a psychological assessment of a child with a learning or attention problem or special needs to see that the focus is on how many labels/limitations they can attach with virtually nothing said about how to address, let alone eliminate, them. Limited perspective of potential, including the limitations of “normal/average,” dictates what is perceived as an appropriate opportunity and leads to self-fulfilling prophecies.

For decades NACD has been helping parents produce very different outcomes. NACD’s successes are predicated on an understanding of the principles of neuroplasticity and the power of parents. We understand that parents are almost universally the most highly motivated people to help their children, are the people who know and understand their whole child, and who can often provide better 1:1 input for their children multiple times per day than the teachers and therapists at school could ever possibly provide. Given a targeted program designed for their child and then trained and given daily access to guidance help and support, parents are uniquely positioned to make real substantial change.

Parents, please consider a commitment of just one year of an NACD Targeted Home- Based Education program or a Targeted Developmental Intervention program and in so doing create an opportunity to change the trajectory of your child’s future.

 

As the Founder and Director of NACD and having worked with many thousands of children and families from around the world for the past fifty years, I get to see what can be. Seeing the realities of how potential is typically perceived, and the resulting outcomes is nothing short of a tragedy. We need to redefine potential and work to realize that potential.

 

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 33 No. 6, 2020 ©NACD