MELISSA, TRISHA, AND RUTH: HEARING THE VOICES OF THREE HOME SCHOOLED ADOLESCENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
Loten, Sarah Elizabeth
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ABSTRACT The intent of this study was to explore the life and values of three home schooled adolescents with learning disabilities and their families, to determine the level of social inclusion for the students and to examine academic individualization within the learning process of these students. The data were collected through interviews with teaching parents, the students and non-parent coaches or teachers. Observations took place in the home and outside the home in various locations for each student. Socially, the role of interest, context, friendships and social networks were all significant factors. Academically, the home school environment provided a dynamic intersection of different schooling environments with instructional characteristics that were deemed essential for learning. Despite the differences between families, the themes were similar across the case studies. The social landscape of these students looks different from regularly schooled children but it is healthy, with many opportunities for friendship and social networks. The academic environment allows for the advantages of tutorial and small-group instruction as well as opportunities to be included in larger, classroom-style groups in certain contexts. These three case studies demonstrate that home schooling can support the needs of children with learning disabilities through instructional strategies and through contextual advantages. For non-home schoolers, the qualities found within this context are promising and worth considering in other educational environments.