NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

 Home | Login | Contact Us | Resource Room

The Demands of Teaching a Special Needs Child

by Mary Rees


    If I were to ask what you think is one of the most necessary ingredients needed to homeschool special children what would be your reply? Having the best curriculum or learning environment might be your answer. Maybe you think that vital ingredient is finding the best tutor or therapist to assist you in the daunting task of homeschooling. while these are important and worthy of our consideration I think the quality of a patient teacher is most important. Hebrews 10:36 says " For ye have need of patience..." Patience is a necessary character quality for anyone who desires to homeschool, or for that matter, be a Christ-like person. In this article I would like to define patience, determine why we need it, and discover how to find patience and practice it before my students. 

      Patience can be defined as long-suffering or bearing long with a situation or person. It is the ability to remain under or endure when things are difficult. Patience also has the idea of waiting with expectation.

    Homeschooling special needs children demands a patient teacher. Daily situations and circumstances arise to prove this. Special ones often do not grasp concepts easily so material must be presented and reviewed in a variety of ways and sometimes for a number of years. Traditional textbooks and materials often do not allow enough time for special needs children to master concepts and never have enough review. Often these children cannot built bridges to connect what is being taught to actual workbook problems. Materials work for only a time and then additional resources must be found. This includes sorting through teacher manuals which can be difficult to understand. Many of these challenged learners do not have the short term memory skills needed to proceed to a "normal" speed. Behavior issues hinder learning and concentration. Physical problems require more doctor visits and therapy sessions causing regular interruptions in the daily schedule. All these situations help us realize why patience is vital for those homeschooling special children.

    We know that patience is why we need it in our homes but how do we get this vital ingredient? It does seem to be rather short in supply in most homeschools. James 1:2,3 has a promise for us to ponder. "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience." these verses remind us we can't produce patience in our lives. Patience is a quality that god produces in us as we submit to the testing and trying of our faith. God makes me patient as I submit to the daily challenges in my life. We can become frustrated by our circumstances and respond with impatience or we can submit to His will and learn to respond in patience. We can become mean and angry at he school table or we cam submit to the Lord, pray for His love to fill us, and respond in patience. we can learn to give our children the extra time they need to learn even if it requires longer school days, a fixed daily schedule, and more creative ways to teach and re-teach concepts. We must allow our special children the extra timer they need to become all God wants them to be. James 1:4 goes on to say, " But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing."  Are you letting patience do her perfect work in you? The very children God has given us are instruments of instruction to teach us patience. As you go to your school table realize that God wants to do a work in you as well as int he heart of your child.

  When I practice patience in front of my students they are helped and I am made more Christ-like. A patient teacher will be long-suffering with the child who struggles and is not always easy to love. A Patient teacher will remain under the demands of homeschooling not quitting when it is no longer convenient or the results are less than encouraging. A patient teacher always hopes for the best. Surely this is the "perfect work" that God desires to do in us. May we allow God to work patience in our character so that we will be better equipped for the challenges of teaching our special children.


    Mary Rees homeschools her four children, two of whom have special needs. She lives near Greenville where she directs HOPES, a special needs support group to encourage those schooling children with learning challenges. You may contact her at with questions or comments.