When you need accountability in your homeschool , where do you turn? What if your child simply needs someone other than you to be in charge of their completed work? Is there an affordable answer that will allow your child to work at their developmental level as opposed to their chronological age? Is this a pipe dream for parents of children with autism?
Last year at Teach Them Diligently Nashville, I was privileged to meet with the owners of Beacon Of Hope Online Schoolhouse, a phenomenal Christian couple whose hearts are dedicated to helping families homeschool successfully. They want to walk the journey with you, not demand you do what they think is the right education for your child. You’re partners in the journey.
With our move to Arizona, it was decided that both Madison and I needed some accountability in our homeschool. It can be so easy to let her studies slack with the details of packing, finding a home, and traveling across the country. Hear me out. All of these things will be learning experiences for her. They will all go in her portfolio. But she’s in high school now. There are certain things that need to be done for graduation to occur in four years.
Madison has struggled with math for years. She is significantly behind in it. As the kids approach the upper level math subjects, it is quickly becoming more difficult for me to teach them. I have struggled with it my entire life, so I am not prepared to lead her in this area. Michael is good in math, but he works a ton. We needed someone to teach her as well as keep us accountable that she was doing what she needs to do. The caveat here is that she was immediately accepted into the pre-professional program at a renowned ballet studio; she literally dances for up to 5-6 hours a day. We had to come up with something that worked around that schedule.
Beacon of Hope fits that bill. Your child can take a live class, which Madison can do on occasion since it happens early in the morning. She’s not a morning person (that would be my fault), so it was quickly decided that she would do the at-her-own-pace class. This means she can hook up to my phone WiFi in the car on the way to dance and get her work done. This option is also a great one for those kids who can’t sit still for a live class or who need a longer time to process what is being said. The pressure of performing for the teacher is eliminated with this option. Assignments still need to be completed in a timely fashion in addition to a teacher being available for the child if needed. It just allows the child to complete the assignments when it’s convenient for them.
There was never any pressure on Madison to do well on a test. They were accepting of the fact that she was behind in math for her age. We came up with a plan to work at her level to improve her skills. Never did she or I feel insignificant or chastised for her shortcomings. They were as interested and vested in her success as I was. Regardless of her level, they wanted her to succeed just as much as I did.
While Madison is not my child with autism, I can see how this approach would be beneficial to a child with autism. They often work at varying developmental levels. To be able to customize your child’s education to fit their needs and to go at their own pace, as well as get a certified teacher for assistance when needed, is a game changer in my opinion. This kind of support is unheard of in the education system. I’ve never seen it offered anywhere else, online or in a brick and mortar building. This is what happens when you approach your school as a ministry not as a profit building venture. The profits will come as a natural result. The changed lives will be the ultimate reward.