We made the decision to homeschool very early in the lives of our children. Once we made the decision to educate our children at home, I read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling.
As we moved through our homeschooling journey, much of what I learned about homeschooling and Down syndrome (DS) I learned the hard way by working with my daughter. Initially, I didn't have internet access and therefore no access to information on how children with DS learn or even others homeschooling families with children with DS. Professionals were not really helpful because they had little specific knowledge about DS. We even engaged a consultant with a Masters in special education as an educational consultant. He gave us suggestions for curriculum and general information about learning in children with cognitive challenges - and information about academic and developmental skills progression in typically developing children. He also gave me the confidence to homeschool our daughter with special needs but did not have the answers on how to overcome the challenges we faced. It wasn't really the fault of the professionals we worked with - it takes a LONG time for research to trickle down to those working in the field. In fact, with R, I had to unlearn much of what I knew about homeschooling and learn with her, about her & her unique needs. I now have a room (seriously) filled with research into how children with DS learn along with my regular homeschooling stuff!
The fact is children with Down syndrome learn differently. Simply put, they are wired differently. Methods used for typically developing children may eventually work I suppose, but to lessen frustration all around & increase learning potential (and keep motivation high) they need their specific learning profile targeted for success. The learning profile is a list of strengths and weaknesses common to children with DS - different from typically developing children and children with other causes of developmental delays.
Today, there is a great deal of support for families homeschooling children with DS primarily found on the internet. For more information:
Homeschooling and Down Syndrome
A family oriented list.
Home Education and Down Syndrome
A list for committed homeschooling families that focuses on the special learning needs of children with Down syndrome - resources, curriculum, strategies for teaching etc.
Homeschooling Kids with Down Syndrome
A list comprised of only homeschoolers with children with Down syndrome. It is a closed list but I have pull :-)
National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network (NATHHAN), a Christian support network for those homeschooling children with special needs, also offers e-mail support for those of us homeschooling children with Ds. Send me an e-mail and I'll give you the contact information.
Of course, I also love to read about the lives of bloggers who homeschool their children with DS - the numbers are growing rapidly given the lists I moderate and the bloggers I am meeting. I know two families via the blogosphere with older children with Down syndrome - Barbara and Laurie who share their wisdom, insights and experiences - and many families with younger children. There is no need for anyone on this journey to do it alone like I did for all those years!