Are you homeschooling a “different” child?


Written by Sally Clarkson

“I have a Nathan, too!’

This was the comment I heard every time I spoke at a homeschool or mom conference.

My out-of-the-box boy – clinically OCD, ADHD, argumentative, on a small spectrum of other issues and with learning disabilities, certainly provided me with lots of stories to share through the years.

And I was amazed at how many women breathed a sigh of relief when they realized they were not the only ones with children who were often a puzzle.

My journey with Nathan was challenging, lonely, and difficult in so many ways. My most difficult challenge was that I did not have friends who understood him or my struggles in homeschooling him.

I often felt like a failure, living in and out of frustration, wanting to love him but losing my patience. It was a constant drain on my life. It’s why I agreed to write a book with Nathan about our journey as mom and child–so that others like me will not feel alone.

Now in my 60s, with him a flourishing adult, I can look back with hindsight and realize I have learned some secrets to being the mom of a “different” child that I wish I had known before. I hope they’ll encourage you.

1. Don’t live with guilt as an extra emotional burden.

All mamas blow it, lose their patience, and feel regret for not being patient, gentle or kind. Children with extra needs add more to our workload. Not only that, I have rarely met a mom of needy children that didn’t sometimes have feelings of “I wish my life and my child wasn’t like this.”

Negative feelings are neutral—they are what they are. What we do with our feelings is more important. Can we be honest and admit to God and to ourselves that it is hard and that we did not expect this difficulty? Yes, of course!

2. There is no magic bullet.

We must learn to accept our children for the person that they are and not wait for them to become someone we wish they would be.

Accepting them as they are and choosing to love them unconditionally, even if they never change, is a beginning point of a healthy emotional relationship with them.

3. Take care of your own needs.

This journey of homeschooling an out-of-the-box child is a long one—a marathon of sorts. There is probably no time when it will suddenly become easy, without tension, stress-free.

Plan for the long term by building anchors into your own schedule that will help you live a sustainable life:

  • One of my friends would take Nathan to spend the night at least once a month so that I could have an evening of peace with our family, so that I could take a break from some of the tension he created.
  • I went out for breakfast by myself on Saturday mornings to a favorite French café just to have some adult time by myself, and to breathe.
  • My husband took my boys out regularly so that I could have a regular fun time with my girls.

Plan some alone time just for you.

4. Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them.

Nathan could rarely add any numbers together, and he had lots of trouble spelling or understanding grammar, but he was a wonderful storyteller. I read him hundreds of hero tales, and had him narrate them back to me.

Now, as a grown man, he is writing movie scripts, books and producing films. (And he hires an accountant to do his math and to pay his bills!)

5. Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own.

I am witnessing a miracle every day in Nathan’s life. He produced a movie that sold 60,000 copies. I just wrote a book with him about families with children who are different, (his idea!), and I am watching him flourish in every area of his life.

He still struggles daily with some of his issues, but he is more than his diagnosis. He is a man made with a great story to live!

I didn’t know if he would ever be able to leave home. How God has surprised me.

6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important.

Having a home where they feel they can be totally themselves, with a mama who loves them, is a gift they will take into their hearts forever.

Remember, homeschooling moms: Your love, life, and work matters for eternity! You are my heroes.

About Sally Clarkson

Sally Clarkson is a mom to 4 adult kids who were homeschooled until college years. She recently wrote an inspiring book with her son, Nathan, called “Different: The Story of an Outside-the-box Kid and the Mama Who Loved Him” as an encouragement to other families who live daily with out of the box kids.

Comments

  1. I homeschool my daughter and she is our only. The point that Sally made that stands out to me the most is #4. I know for myself I tend to focus on just her faults and what she doesn’t do well. I need to work on building her up more with what she does do well. And also #2, focusing on loving her just the way she is and not the way I might wish she was.

  2. Hi! I am also homeschooling a “different” child. He is autistic and he is funny, loves music, and loves connecting with others. Thanks for reminding me that God has a bigger plan for him than I could ever have. I just need to keep loving him, and working with him …God will take care of the rest.

  3. Kitchen fairy says:

    What a great post. This looks like a tremendous book! The idea of finding your child’s strengths and cultivating them is a previous one to me right now, helping me to stay positive and find the best in my kids. Thank you!

  4. Oh! Such hope! I have more than one “different child” and I am never not tired! Thank you for sharing tips and hope and . . . sheesh . . . I don’t know . . . encouragement. I’d love to read your book, even if I don’t win it. My most hopeful tip was that negative feelings are natural and neutral–it’s what we do with those feelings that matters. Thank you so much for this reminder on a dark and early Monday morning!!!!!!!

  5. No need to enter me. Just wanted to say what a beautiful story this is. Thank you.

  6. Fiona Thompson says:

    A great post, Sally. I received a copy of Different on Thursday and was a part of your launch team. The part that most struck me on this post was not trying to change my son, who has ASD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and SPD, but accepting him for who he is, working with his strengths, which are many, and trying to help him develop coping strategies for his areas of difficulty. I have struggled with the issues of “cure,” “change,” and so on with people offering many solutions, but ultimately he is as God designed him to be and developing into a wonderful young man whose confidence is flushering.

  7. This post is a breath of fresh air. The last few months have been particularly difficult in homeschooling my “different” child. I’ve felt so emotionally and physically drained at the end of every day and just burnt out. . . Tears from me literally every night . Working so hard somehow feel like I’m screwing it all up; I don’t want to crush her spirit yet she requires SO much correction, guidance, attention. #1 and #3 definite resound with me most in this season.

  8. Hello. Love the post. I am homeschooling two children and have two adult children as well. My 16 year old is my very “unique/different”child. I think the one thing I need to remember is that God knows what he’s doing and I need to know that he’s got this.

  9. So encouraging! This is such a good reminder not to compare my children with each other, to value them for who each of them is individually. Am I homeschooling a “different” child? I guess I have 3, each different in their own ways. May I see them the way God sees them!

  10. Dear Sally,
    Thank you so much for all your emails, but especially this one. I am crying with relief reading this and knowing that I am not alone in this journey. All the ideas resonated with me but especially focusing on my child’s strengths gives me hope. Thank you so much for the support and encouragement.

  11. I have a son who is very much like Nathan, and we are going through another particularly difficult time….again. It’s hard to choose which tip because they are all hold so much wisdom. However, right this moment, I’ll choose number one: “Don’t live with guilt as an extra emotional burden.”

  12. I can identify with all of these tips, but at this moment, #1 is what I need to hear most. After all the tears and yelling, it’s easy to sink into thinking I’ve scarred my child for life. And then the guilt keeps me from doing any type of problem-solving, so we quickly end up with more tears and yelling. Thanks for the reminder that the negative thoughts are okay, and that I can choose to do something constructive about them.

  13. Leah warren says:

    I am homeschooling an “out of the box” kid (my oldest, driving force of homeschooling) and I have soaked up all of Sally’s articles and podcasts on the topic. For me “there is no magic bullet” is something I’m realizing and accepting. As much as I want one I think God wants me to realize that He’s the magic bullet…to trust that he’s the one that I turn to for my help and guidance and endurance.

  14. This was a great encouraging read. I have a somewhat different child that I homeschool but I have several friends who will also be blessed by this. Thank you for the encouragement that God can make the outcome an amazing and blessed life for our children & us.
    The tip I am leaning on is #5.

  15. Leah Doak says:

    I love the thought of having this book on those days that I don’t think I’m enough for my out-of-the-box girl! I am especially encouraged by points three and four. Sometimes when you are in the middle of your own little hurricane of emotions and torment it’s nearly impossible to see anything else. Just these few simple suggestions have been incredibly refreshing! I would love to read the book😊

  16. I posted this on Facebook to share with my friends & family

  17. Thank you for this post and hello from Cape Town! I am homeschooling two children, and my son is an Asperger tween. The point that stuck most with me is number 5, and more specifically also your question about you thinking whether your son will ever be able to leave home. I have thought that on so many occasions, especially with issues around spatial awareness and him having to drive one day… 👀 Thank you again for making us feel that we are not alone on this crazy, sometimes difficult, but utterly rewarding journey!

  18. Our family is a miss-mash of ‘different’-ness, and each person is amazing in his/her own unique way. I love tip #6 – creating a home where your child can be loved profoundly.

  19. I do not have a “different” child per se, but as a homeschooling mother of four, I face the consistent challenges that come with their individual personalities & emotional needs. Sally’s first point, about not living with guilt, really resonated with me as I feel like a really bad mom when I mess up- especially when I lose my cool- and then I feel that my mistakes cancel out the good that I am doing, so I needed to hear that! It is my desire to learn from my mistakes and then let them go and move on!

  20. Hi Sally, I have read your other books….so encouraging!! I am homeschooling my 14 year old triplet daughters. One of them has been diagnosed with a condition called PANDAS. She suffers from OCD, tics, defiance, aggression, dyslexia, dysgraphia and low self-esteem. Life with her can be very trying at times, and school is pretty much a disaster most days. Thank you for reminding me that God has a far better plan for her than I can imagine. I definitely worry about her future and her ability to take care of herself. Thanks for sharing your story!!

  21. Lilyan Frisch says:

    My oldest son has Down syndrome and autism. Now a teenager I sometimes fantasize about sending him to public school. But on those days, I like #6 because no one can love that beautiful boy like his family. And that is what I told my late father I would do when we found out he had Down syndrome, my Dad asked what I was going to do and I said “I’m going to love him.”

    Would love to read your book! God bless you!

  22. Clarissa Mance says:

    This post resonates with me on such a deep level. My oldest is 6, and though he is not diagnosed has “different”, I see things in him that make me pause and wonder. He is a challenge for me on so many levels, and homeschooling has been a hard and tear filled journey. The tip that speaks deepest to me today is #6. I want so much to create a home where he is loved for who he is and where he can flourish. It is my prayer and listening to Sally’s story gives me hope.

  23. Clarissa Mance says:

    I shared on Facebook.

  24. I’m a first time homeschooling, with four boys ages 5 and under, one of which includes a newborn! All my kids are “average” but that in itself is a challenge to spend the time trying to understand learning needs and seeing how God shaped them. I pray for parents raising children with any unique needs and any added weight that comes along with that…I can only imagine the emotional burdens as well as the day to day challenges. I struggle with not feeling guilt like Sally mentions, plus taking time for myself feels so rare! Even with time to myself, I’m still thinking about the next homeschool need to tackle. Thank you for encouragement Sally! I’ve heard nothing but positive things about your book.

  25. I would love to win a copy of this because I definitely need it! My five year old son is autistic (level 2) and although I know he does best at home where he is loved and happy – I am terrified to homeschool him. How can I possibly teach him math and history when he is still not potty trained and still can’t eat with a fork? He overwhelms me every day and we haven’t even started “formal” schooling yet and we have zero support system. I haven’t had a night out with my husband in 2 1/2 years. I know I need to trust in him and that he will learn when he is ready…..but I am SO scared of failing him. This book looks like it was written for moms like me, thank you for telling your story!

  26. Alma Ruth says:

    Sunshine from the Mexico Border. Yes, I have 2 ‘different’ boys. Thank you for writing a book about this!

  27. Sally’s encouragement to, “Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own” blesses my soul. We have a “different” child due to a deletion in his genetic make-up, bilateral hearing loss, severe childhood apraxia of speech, focus issues, OCD issues, and more. I have followed the launch of Nathan and Sally’s book and wished that I could sit and sip tea with her, as well as find the time to read the book. I am so grateful that they have opened their lives to share and to encourage. I cannot wait to be encouraged and to trust in the Lord’s plan and purpose for our little guy’s life!

  28. I am so excited to see Sally and Nathan’s book. I’m at the point now that I need to think on God’s doing more than I can and not limiting my son based on my fears that he will “never” be able to do something!

  29. I’ve shared the blog post to Facebook.

  30. Tamara Abboud says:

    I am… though it’s not quite obvious to others. Definitely at home it is. All those are good tips :)… working on # 5 and #6 are really helpful for us right now. We are trying to work on our home as a safe harbor and a family culture that allows all 4 of my kiddos to thrive better.

  31. I have been seeing the fruit of recently accepting my girl just as she is (more growth in her) and am realizing after reading this today that I now also need to hope in what God can do (and maybe she will be an independent adult), 😉

    • Brett Elizabeth Spore says:

      Isn’t it fun to watch that transition? It so exciting to see that when we focus on their positive attritibutes, they flourish!

  32. I have one child that is definitely different than the others. He has so many wonderful qualities but he is extra sensitive and much harder to parent. I really need to be reminded of #3, but particularly that I need to do the things that actually take care of me even if they seem “too much.” For me, this means A LOT of alone time, especially after a day filled with a lot of conflict, tears, and (positive) discipline. It exhausts me and I really benefit from recharging alone!

  33. I am homeschooling a different child. I think it’s so important to build on their strengths. It can be hard to focus on that, because we feel such responsibility to shore up weaknesses, but it’s really what makes them flower.

  34. I’ve heard a lot about this book through a couple podcasts I listen to, and I’d love to read it. I have a child who has a learning disability and although from what I’ve heard and can compare to, this child isn’t “different” but “difficult”. Maybe that’s like ‘same, same, but different’? I think #s 5 & 6 encouraged me most today, and are the best tips to remember.
    Sarah M’s latest post: January Reads // 2017

  35. Brett Elizabeth Spore says:

    Our son is definitely “different” and homeschooling him has been an interesting journey. The point that I feel is most important to remember for me right now is #1 – Don’t live with guilt as an extra emotional burden. We have worked really hard at giving him a loving home where he can be free to be himself, and we have shifted to an unschooling life led and interest led homeschool style which actually fuels his desire to learn going against everything being said about needing more structure for “kids like him.” There are no kids just like him. For all of us on here, I’m guessing it’s pretty similar with the stereotypes of the various diagnosis – our kids just don’t fit in boxes. We accepted that there is no magic pill even though sometimes that knowledge is hard to swallow and we wish we could swallow a fix it pill instead. We believe in God’s plan even though we can’t see it through the fog of sleepless nights. But the thing this type A, goal oriented, “git ‘er done” Mama still hasn’t gotten her head fully wrapped around is letting go of my own mistakes, my blow ups, my loss of sanity and hair! 🙂 That is the thing I am most working on right now. Forgiving myself and letting go of the guilt.

    May you all be blessed on this journey.

  36. Heather Goetsch says:

    What a great encouragement. I needed this today. I’ve been working on encouraging my son and trying to focus on his strengths. There is so much to relate to here, but as an advocating personality type, I tend to forget to care for myself and that has been on my heart lately. As I’ve slowly been putting that in to practice, I’m beginning to see the fruit from it as I am more patient and less overwhelmed. Praying that I will be better able to help and focus on my children and each of their strengths especially my “different” son. Thank you for this encouraging read today.

  37. Patty Anglea says:

    #4,5,6-especially ring true in my home. After homeschooling our 6 biological children with relative ease (oh, there were ‘days’ 😜); God blessed our home with a 7th child that we adopted out of the foster care system. Now a 2nd-grader – and in some ways showing amazing talents and abilities – but in other ways exhibiting learning ‘hurdles’ I never encountered with any of the others, I find myself looking daily to God for His wisdom in how to best direct her focus and energy, so that she may ultimately grow into an amazing follower of Jesus Christ, mirroring His love and grace to the world. I would love to read and glean from this book!

  38. Heather Goetsch says:

    Shared on FB.

  39. Tara Bailey says:

    I have three kiddos who are “different”. #1 really stood out to me. I have spent so much time with guilt as a companion.

  40. I am homeschooling a different child, and I am weary and lonely in this journey that the Lord has us on. ! I can’t wait to read your book! Point number 4 really struck a chord with me – some days all I can see are the areas of struggles and I miss the delight in my child.

  41. I homeschool a “different” child, my son. I needed all the encouraging points this morning, but the one I will take with me today is: Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own. I think it has become a physical and mental burden for me, which God did not intend for me to carry. I need Him, my son needs Him. God is in control, and I need to relinquish that control to what God will do in and through my child, more than we can imagine. So thankful for Sally and Nathan sharing their story!

  42. Angela Wells says:

    I have two different children and two more typical which has definitely shaped my homeschooling. Just when I figured how to makes things click and work with the older one, none of those same work with the younger. He is on the autism spectrum, with tons of therapy for 3 years he is now typical looking to everyone else. That doesn’t change the fact that he still struggles in some areas, usually at home when schooling that had made me wonder if I can do this or not. I want to, but I am outnumbered and trying to figure out what works for each child is exhausting. And yet, that is the main reason we are still homeschooling. A classroom full of kids would mean mine would likely not fit the mold and then the struggle would be greater. Gosh, my comment just confirms I need to read this book!!

  43. Michele Hylton says:

    I too have difficult home schooler. My daughter is 14 and has trouble with reading and staying focused. She was previously labeled ADHD with dislexia. Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them is the truth that strikes me as most important for now. I hope to learn more ways to help my children in life’s journey through homeschooling ( I currently have 3).

  44. We have four kids and while none of them seem all that “different” yet, their unique personalities make some things (like practicing math skills, for example) a challenge. All of Sally’s tips are good ones and I’m struggling to find one that sticks out the most… One that jumps out at me a little though is Tip #1 about not living with an emotional burden of guilt and other bad feelings. I definitely struggle with that from time to time, as a lot of moms do. When things that I think should be easier get hard I often berate myself and think I must really be messing up, but that doesn’t help anything. I need to focus on the good things about my children and redirect my frustration into ways I can help them thrive. Thanks so much for the great post and for the chance to win a copy of the book! I look forward to reading it – whether I win a copy or not! 🙂

  45. I can’t wait to read this book! What great wisdom Sally is sharing. It helps me not feel so alone and maintain the proper perspective. I don’t know if I can pick just one tip, because they all are exactly what I needed today. However, if I had to choose one it would be #1.

  46. My youngest is my out of the box kid, and thanks to this blogpost I’m going to be adding this book to my reading list. Though I can identify with most , I’d say #2 hit home for me.

  47. I am homeschooling a “different” child, one who never seemed to fit in at school and just was always a little behind the other kids. He is very sensitive, needs lots of motivation, loves playing video games, and needs to be told things repeatedly. #2 was the one that struck me, because I often tell others (family mostly) that we need to accept him as he is and work with him at the level he’s on, not expect him to be a certain way becuase he’s a certain age. However, I struggle with this daily, mostly because of societal expectations (he should be doing these chores without being reminded, etc.). But all of the tips resonated. Nice to know I’m not alone!

  48. It is refreshing to know I am not crazy or alone out there. Even my husband doesn’t really “get it”. We have adopted a little girl from a trama background. She was diagnosed at the age of 5 with RAD, ADHD and PTSD. Her behavior has been more than challenging and has created alot of conflict and strife in our home. Much of her anger and lack of trust if directed at me. She is emotionally needy, developmentally delayed and depletes my resources daily. I homeschool my oldest daugthter, but Emma needs the supports and structures provided in a traditional school setting. That time provides the break to emotionally recharge my batteries to give her my best when she is home. Trusting that God can do so much more than I can is a good reminder of his faithfulness. I appreciate your transparency and honesty.

  49. This was a much needed read this morning. Starting our Monday off with stomping and lots of attitude. And Monday is our laid back, all day bible study day! What you said about feeling alone because you didn’t have any friends who understood just made my heart sink. That’s something I struggle with a lot, and I’m an introvert so I don’t have extra energy to socialize about it! #1 is what I need to work on most. Even though I know it’s okay to fail, I still struggle with it a lot. She has adhd and is very intelligent, but she’s not as emotionally mature as she is intelligent and it’s a daily challenge. She’s also a narcissist, which has it’s own separate set of challenges. I have started to accept that fact that this is going to be a lifelong struggle… and I often feel saddened, guilty & overwhelmed by this mixture of emotions and my inability to “fix” the things she struggles with. I feel like as her mom that God may have equipped me with the tools that she needs to grow beyond her struggles, but what if He didn’t? My son doesn’t have any struggles, although he often mimics her attitudes or hyperactivity, but it seemed that I had the energy to deal with her when she was my only child. Now with two and being home with them all day, every day, I’m a zombie most days. As the exhaustion day in and day out grows I’ve been forced to stop trying to deal with things on my own and to pray fervently and endlessly. But I need to hold #1 close to my heart. I love her so much and unconditionally without question, but she wears me out every.single.day and a lot of days I’m in tears, asking God why He isn’t showing me the light at the end of the tunnel and why it’s so hard all the time. My husband and I were talking the other day and I told him how awful I felt to feel this way, as her mom. I need to stop adding to things by giving myself a never-ending guilt trip. I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Are there any other resources that you found helpful along your journey? I’d love more insight from a mom who’s been there & done that successfully & leaned on the Lord.

  50. Point no 3 really resonates with me. Sometimes it is the hardest thing to take care of yourself first.

  51. Thank you, Sally, and Nathan, for this encouraging post! I homeschool our 4 and our oldest (9) is “different.” It can be exhausting but I know home is the best place for him to learn. Making home a place where he (and his siblings!) can be profoundly loved and expecting God to do big things in his life both spoke to my heart today!

  52. #6 Having a home where they feel they can be totally themselves, with a mama (and daddy) who loves them, is a gift they will take into their hearts forever.
    With all the work day to day, goals, therapies, progress, lack thereof, etc., it’s so important to remember that love, given and received, is the most important focus.

  53. Sharing this…

  54. Our son is definitely our “different” child and this point from Sally is the one that stuck out to me: Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own. I have seen this over and over with my son that the right people/books/experiences come at the right time into his life to continue him on his journey.

  55. We see God’s hand in David’s life. This keeps me going and meeting others who have different children.
    5. Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own.

  56. Thank you for these ideas. I have two different children and am currently struggling. I liked the tip to accept them as they are and the other to find their strengths.

  57. Ashley Honeycutt says:

    Point #1 for sure. The Guilt can be crippling most days.

  58. Loved this post! I would say I’m homeschooling a child that is “different.” I also know many others and this post was so helpful and encouraging. I loved the fourth tip the most. Looking at the child’s potential strength and cultivating them is a beautiful way to turn this into a positive. Every child has something to offer and I think parenting a different child comes with some baggage but knowing they also have a special wild beauty inside them that can come out and touch the world is so important.

  59. I have been feeling so guilty and frustrated. I hated that I secretly wished my son could just be “normal” especially since I have been feeling very alone and sad in this experience. To read #1 “Don’t live with guilt as an extra emotional burden” – because you met many other moms who have felt these feelings too is a tremendous reality to share. Negative feelings are neutral – was a NEW way of looking at something that can unfortunately have great power.

  60. Kristy Roblee says:

    Thanks so much for this post. We just started homeschooling this year and my kids are 9, 6 and 3. My 6 year old is my “different” child. I have really struggled with him and often times feel defeated, guilty and that I’m not doing what I need to with him. This post totally helped me feel like I’m not alone and I loved #2. I want to just love him for who he is and not wish he were different. Thank you!!!!

  61. Robyn McLeod says:

    Oh wow. All of these pints are probably so important for me to remember. As I read through them, I was tearing up. I’m struggling to homeschool (and parent the way I’d like to) a “different” child and it’s doubly hard because she’s also my step-child so I have the added “evil stepmother” image to ward off from my subconscious. I feel a lot of guilt, some resentment, guilt over the resentment, and so much more. Can’t wait to read the book for some much needed advice and encouragement.

  62. Monica Kounter says:

    My son has HFA, Anxiety, CAPD, Dysgraphia, Vision Processing Disorder, Developmental Coordination DIsorder… Reading this post reminded me so much of why we homeschool. The one statement that really resonates with me is #4–Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them. My son is amazing on the computer. He taught himself to program. He spends time creating virtual machines and downloading different operating systems to try out. Then, he talks about it on his own YouTube Channel. His father, a Network Manager, and my son have daily conversations about his job. Other people in the field (not his parents) have called our son a prodigy. All of this is completely self-directed. Yet, all of his therapists, counselors, etc. keep telling me we need to cut back on his computer time. I really struggle with this. But, he is happiest when he is working on this stuff. It is something he and his father can share. I try to incorporate it into other areas of study. He is finishing up a power point presentation of the History of Technology as we speak. So, although all the studies and experts say otherwise, I give him as much time to explore his interests as he needs, provided his other schoolwork gets done.

  63. Anne Dunlop says:

    Oh how I needed to read this! This is the first year homeschooling my 9 year old son who has adhd…odd…spd….you name it. He is sweet and funny and mean and hurtful and loving. I am yelled at a lot of the day but get amazing cuddles and I love YOUs from him. I love homeschooling him but it is HARD! #4 resonates with me. I need to spend more time on what he is good at and worry less about the fact he can’t memorize his times tables. His self esteem is so low at times. I want to build him up and make him feel loved always!

  64. As a mother who has homeschooled and now runs Mums4aChange which uses a combination of coaching, creativity and community to support mothers emotional well-being all would get my vote but particularly no 3. As mothers it can feel utterly over-whelming at times as we try to do the best for our children and support their unique potential. It can be a life-times work to keep accepting again and again the mother we are and the child we have. To find a way to sustain and nourish ourselves even if this is in 60 second slivers is not just a luxury it is an absolute necessity. And sharing stories that explode the perfect, ideals we are sold and supports us instead as fallible human beings is a very very good thing – thank you Sally and Nathan and all the mothers and children who continue to tell their stories and create a positive alternative.

  65. I have a variety of different children, all muddled together in our little house. Number 3 has been a game changer for me – I have much more patience to help everyone else.

  66. shared

  67. My oldest is this way! He’s 20, and still struggling. I have always believed love is key to raising our kids. Not blaming myself for our life circumstances is my challenge right now. Thanks for sharing!

  68. I am homeschooling a different child. Numbers 4 and 6 struck a cord with me. I do tend to focus on her weaknesses instead of channeling her strengths. But also, because she is so different from her siblings, she probably doesn’t feel completely accepted and valued.

  69. Shared this excellent article on Facebook!

  70. No but I have relatives that are. #5…Believing that God can do what is impossible.

  71. Love your vulnerability in sharing your story! Both my boys are ‘Nathan’s’ too and I would sure love a copy of your book! I think your number “6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important” is really the most applicable to our lives right now. I dream of doing a small group study with other mamas on this book !

  72. I am looking forward to reading this book so very much!
    All of the points hit home with me, but especially #2. I have felt the burden of finding some “magic bullet” that will suddenly make my life with my different child easy. He is growing and maturing, and I am still learning new ways to help him and help myself along the way. Our life together will likely always be a work in progress, and that’s ok.

  73. #2 is what struck me as the thing I’m struggling with most right now. With all the therapies we are doing and the way we are trying to help him function better, it’s important (and difficult!) for me to remember we aren’t trying to “fix” him and that the challenging behaviors may remain. I’ve always known he’ll make a great grown up, but raising him is not an easy road to walk.

  74. Sara Malby says:

    Yes! I have two boys that are “different.” So grateful for the oppportunity to homeschool them! #5 strikes me as the most important in our journey right now 🙂

  75. Carrie McCullough says:

    I like the accepting the child vs waiting for them to change. There is freedom in doing that

  76. Sara Malby says:

    Just shared this on Facebook too!

  77. I am homeschooling a couple of “different” children. The tip that most stuck out to me was #1, particularly the fact that the feeling is neutral, but it’s our action that counts. Also, I tend to feel guilty about lots of things, especially negative reactions to my kids. It’s good to remember that we all feel this way at times, and guilt isn’t helpful to hold on to.

  78. I have two daughters that I am homeschooling and one is “different” and an out-of-the-box learner. I struggled from the first week of her life. I didn’t know how to mother her and love her well. But as she approaches 8, God has given me eyes to see that His ways are not my ways. He created this beautiful girl with eternity in mind and I started to see how her “weaknesses” are actually God-given strengths and abilities! We choose a school motto each year from the Proverbs and this year is Proverbs 3:5-6. I am trusting the Lord with all my heart and not leaning on my own understanding. I acknowledge that He is sovereign and He is good and that He alone can make our oaths straight! What’s Sally says in #5 struck me! I adore Sally and read many of her books and her blogs. She is just precious to me and has shaped much of how I mother and school my girls!

  79. I love this so much! #2 and #4 especially jump out at me and seem to go hand in hand – I so often try to find the next “magic bullet” that I hope may make our lives easier or improve my daughter’s attitude rather than accepting her as God made her and trusting He can do far more than I ever could. Thanks for this beautiful, hope-inspiring message!

  80. Shared on FB 😊

  81. I have one outside-the-box kiddo. Sally’s advice to look for your child’s strengths and cultivate them is so helpful.

  82. Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own.

  83. My son is easy to get angry and rather inflexible. He is so challenging to parent and homeschool. I seem to constantly set him off. My husband is able to deal so much better with him. He has tons of strengths though (my son) and I really do need to focus on those and helping build him up. I constantly remind myself that God “gave” him to me for a reason and that I need to pray for him and for our relationship more specifically.

  84. I am working hard at cultivating her strengths and not getting wrapped up in her struggles. She flourishes in science and gardening so we are putting a lot of time into those fields. I know the reading and comprehension will come with time and patience.

  85. I believe that God has given my boys to me for a reason. They are extroverted, hard to handle and often I feel lonely as I find them so very different from other boys my friends are raising. It’s been a challenge for me to speak words of life over them rather than pointing out what they are doing wrong, shushing them or hiding myself away from them to gain some peace to my introverted heart. The key thing I’m taking from Sally’s tips right now is to believe in God’s ability more than my own. He trusts and has entrusted me with these “sons of thunder” and I need to believe Him that he will use them for good because I’m praying for them to love the Lord.

  86. Cristy S. says:

    Looking for potential strengths is what resonated with me most. Everyone always sees the problems, few actually see the strengths! Thanks for the book, and for this contest!

  87. Shared on FB.

  88. I am praying about whether or not to homeschool our daughter who has a variety of special needs. Accepting my emotions and deciding what I’m going to do with them is definitely the main thing that stuck with me after reading Sally’s post. Thank you for sharing about this book, it is such an inspiration and I haven’t even read it yet!!

  89. I am homeschooling 5 children, and I would say my #2 is perhaps my most difficult to understand and encourage. I loved all of Sally’s points, but the second one especially resonated with me. It’s often difficult to love a “different” child as they are rather than waiting for him to change. I look forward to reading the book … whether or not I win the giveaway! 🙂

  90. Shared on Facebook. 🙂

  91. I would give anything to read your book!!! I have 2 different children boy age 7 and a girl age 4 and a 1 yr old who has normal brain wiring. Homeschooling is so difficult for me as I am not a natural teacher and I have a hard time understanding my 2 out of the box children. I pray a lot and God led me to your web site and your blog has changed my parenting!! I have never had money to buy your books but I live for your blogs and pod casts! The point that sticks out to me above is the living with guilt. I never feel good enough as their mother. I feel they have these incredible brilliant minds and such massively beautiful hearts and I long to cultivate all of this raw potential. I feel so inadequate and often I think I am not doing enough or spending enough time or saying the right things….the list goes in and on. I am determining today to stop the guilt and start accepting Gods grace and trust Him to fill in the gaps that I can not fill. Thank you Sally. My heart loves you so dearly and if i never get tje chance to meet you dace to face when we get to heaven I will throw my arms around your neck and thank God for your ministry because with out you I would have continued spanking my out of the box children and turning their hearts to stones and away from God.

  92. All of them! Probably 6, I have to be better at the environment I give my kids.

  93. Anna Freeland says:

    All of them, but number five stands out as my son is almost 17.

  94. Yes, yes!! Looking for potential and cultivating it! I’ve got to stop worrying about what he can’t do and help him grow and enjoy what he can!!! Awesome advice!

  95. Linda Sharp says:

    I’m not homeschooling my son but loved reading this post. Number 1 resonates with me the most as I’m really struggling with the guilt I feel from losing my temper sometimes with my attention needy son. Would love to read your book someday. It’s very encouraging to hear how well your son is doing. Thanks for sharing this.

  96. Shared via Facebook!

  97. Deanna Chavez says:

    Yes I am!! I have a “Nathan”! I think #6 is so important because home is where we spend most of our developmental years. It needs to be a place of live and acceptance.

  98. I don’t want to parent or teach with a sense of guilt thinking I’m always missing something or not doing enough. I need peace from the Lord that I am going in the right direction!

  99. Yes, I have two children like this but only one that is schooling at home now. All of these truths are so important but probably the most would be #5, because without believing this I could not have the hope and perseverance to apply the rest. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

  100. Shared and commented 🙂

  101. Deanna Chavez says:

    Also shared this in my homeschool fb group.

  102. I’m raising 1 very out of the box girl, and my other daughter is walking the edge of in the box/ out of the box. I myself was an out of the box child, and when we started to see their differences I thought I would be better able to handle their needs, but beacuse of my own different needs I tend to put myself last to meet their needs and then I fall apart. So right now I’m learning to take time for myself and get others to help meet their needs. I’m learning to get over the guilt of not being able to “do it all.” I’m so looking forward to reading this book. The Lord is so go to give me just what He knows I need just in His perfect timing.

  103. I homeschool my two boys and #5 is what I most resonate with for my different firstborn. I am learning to define his diagnosis and defy the predetermined by trusting in God’s power working through me. I can walk and not grow weary, even on this different journey, if I trust in Him. Can’t wait to read your beautiful memories and wisdom Sally!

  104. We are currently working on discovering the boys strengths. It is hard for me to be their teacher as they don’t want to do their work. I’m struggling with keeping them engaged in learning. I’m brand new tho homeschooling.

  105. “Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them.” has been the thing that I must continue to intentionally work on with my “different” kid. It is so easy to see the negatives when you’re in the day to day trenches!

  106. Shannon P. says:

    Oh my goodness!!! So many mama’s who are in my shoes! How encouraging! I struggle most with #4. I find myself growing weary with finding her strengths and I get frustrated with her so frequently. Lord give me patience and let this home be where she can relax and feel loved and encouraged. Cause I know that’s not what the world will offer her!

  107. 5. Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own is something that I must remember daily. I tend to get in the mindset that all of the responsibility is on me. Without God I fail over and over and over again.

  108. Yes, I do have a “different” child I’m homeschooling. For a long time, I thought her normal:) but she does have little quirks that make her different. Admittedly, I would compare her with siblings and wonder what’s going on. I have come to accept the fact that she is herself with those quirks. For me both # 4&5 are sooooo important: recognizing her strengths & abilities plus realizing God can do MORE than I can:)

  109. Yes, I am homeschooling a child that is proving to be different than those before her…although this applies to all of my children because each one was made by God to be so different than the other. “there is no magic bullet” strikes me most, and is what God has been speaking to me for a few years now. As much as I would love a how-to guide, or just do these 5 things list, I know that the only answering is hearing from the Holy Spirit each and every minute of everyday 🙂

  110. Homeschooling a 17 year old. Both #4 and #3 hit me. If I had to pick one I’d say not having a support team so I could get away a bit would be it. But also though I try to find strengths, I also need to do it daily…not occasionally. Hard to try to help them prepare for life on their own.

  111. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for article. My son has autism and sensory processing disorder. As his mama I also have Aspergers and sensory processing disorder. We have zero babysitters. I love my kiddos but it is hard when homeschooling with no support. I try give in my way. I facilitate a free national call in support group for parents with mental health challenges and am speaking again on this topic. I have a master’s in special education but I’ve gained more insight over the years from the homeschool community.

  112. Catherine Vos says:

    Two of my 3 fit in this category. It’s been a hard road and I have struggled so much to fit self care into my journey. It’s tip number 5, however, that makes me want to cry with joy.

  113. I have been clinging to all of your articles with hope! Our second child has always been different, hard, discouraging, frustrating, jaw-dropping smart and wonderfully life changing! He has been a wild rollercoaster ride these last twelve years. I find all of your points encouraging, but #6 is the one that is on my heart constantly. God created my boy for His glory and I want to guide and direct my son into a relationship with Him! Thank you for writing and speaking about this!

  114. “I often felt like a failure, living in and out of frustration, wanting to love him but losing my patience.”
    Listening to Sally speak her ideals with passion and excitement, it’s so easy to believe that her home was the picture perfect ideal lived out. I ‘know’ that isn’t possible but it was nice to have that reminder that she too felt like a failure at times and lost her patience.
    I listened to Sarah Clarkson via Read ALoud Revival and was delighted to hear that the Clarkson kids didn’t always appreciate read aloud time (at the time).
    It gives me hope.
    I homeschool my oldest two (8, 10) and my youngest special needs out of the box boy (almost 6) is just starting public school two mornings a week, homeschooled the rest of the time.

  115. I am homeschooling 2 of 5 right now. My second child is my different child. I really believe #5 is really the most important tip (though they are all excellent to remember). Trusting God’s lead in my child’s life, especially when we are at odds, is something I need to constantly have in front of me. I need to press into God’s plan for this child and allow that to shape my reactions, my nurturing and even my listening skills when interacting with my child. Trust, trust, trust. So, so hard.

  116. This brought tears to my eyes. I’m homeschooling 2 “different” children. OCD, and possibly DMDD/ODD/ADHD. In spite of the hard days, they are amazing boys. #4 – They definitely have incredible God-given gifts, and I’m learning to be their cheerleader and point out their strengths rather than continually nagging about their faults. I’m so excited to read this book!

  117. Lillian G. says:

    I have been homeschooling for 6 years now. I have a “Different” child who is 17. All of Sally’s points are wonderful and very encouraging. The one that touches my heart and has been on my heart forever is #6 “Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important.” Love conquers all. When there is a loving environment, things fall into place and all works wonderfully especially if God is the center. Thank you Sally for your points, I truly needed them today. Thank you.

  118. And I just shared the giveaway on Facebook!

  119. Your book MISSION OF MOTHERHOOD changed me radically! I am a part time nurse instead of full time by choice, we moved out of the big city to a smaller town (best move ever!), and my children now call me the best mom ever because I don’t give my kids leftovers of me anymore… what did strike md most, or rather reminded me, is that I need time for myself… I am working at it slowly but I am trying (perhaps not hard enough). I think that finding time for ourselves is one of themost overlooked area for moms during this season of our lives (3 kids: 3, 7, 11).
    Sally, may God bless you always for the work you do and for the encouragement you bring to us mammas!

  120. Maia Hinderman says:

    I have a different child and I think, for me, I need to work on number 4, though all of the tips are extremely important to remember and live out.

  121. I’m home schooling my 12 yr. old son, who was adopted at age 7 from foster care. It’ a whole different kind of parenting and teaching than with my bio kids. Focusing on his strengths is the area I need to work on!

  122. Rebekah Ash says:

    I am homeschooling 4 children. But my one who is different is my hardest and right now the best thing for me to remember is #5.. that God’s ability to work on my child is way better then my ability. He can do so much more then I could.

  123. Kellie Camp says:

    Point number five really hits home. I tend to want to have everything in my control which can lead to frustration. I need to remember that God is in control and he create each one of my children and made them who they are. I need to depend on him.

  124. Janis Wells says:

    I am so encouraged by all these posts! My “different” child came to us at 2 years old. He is 11 now and learning to verbalize his confusion, anger, and fear of rejection. He recently was able to tell me that he pushes our butttons to see if he can make us angry enough to leave him behind like his biological family did. It’s hard every day! Your words encourage me to focus on his strengths and build him up in those areas. Thank you both for this book, I look forward to reading it!

  125. Cindy Morris says:

    I’m homeschooling a 13 year old, an 8 year old on the autism spectrum, and a busy 2 year old. I think that the tip that sticks out the most is to take care of myself….which is something I don’t do nearly enough!! Some days I feel like there needs to be of me to get everything accomplished. It was a hard day for my 8 yo for math….over the screaming of her brother, and me having to be on top of my 13 yo who should be more independent. Let’s just say sensory overload for both of us!!! I need a break!

  126. I have 4 outside the box children out of 5. Our youngest who is now 17 is the most outside-the-box of them all, having ASD, OCD, ODD, and ADD. Sally’s feeling that Nathan might never leave home is one that I often struggle with, especially because of his learning disabilities in addition to all of the above diagnoses. It encourages me to hear Sally say that God surprised her and that Nathan is so much more than his diagnoses. This book has helped me to believe forward for my son and to anticipate what God will do with him and for him!

  127. Cindy Morris says:

    I’m homeschooling a 13 year old, an 8 year old on the autism spectrum, and a busy 2 year old. I think that the tip that sticks out the most is to take care of myself….which is something I don’t do nearly enough!! Some days I feel like there needs to be more of me to get everything accomplished. It was a hard day for my 8 yo for math….over the screaming of her brother, and me having to be on top of my 13 yo who should be more independent. Let’s just say sensory overload for both of us!!! I need a break!

  128. Sally, I’ve been reading your books since our “different” but amazing son was born in 2008. Thank you so much for all your amazing insight and inspiration while navigating mothering and homeschooling. I could not pick one point from the list, they are all so important! I haven’t bought Different yet because I’m reading Life Giving Home. Different is definitely next!

  129. Patty Reed says:

    #1 was a very timely gift to me after a visit with the specialist Doctor for our son with Down Syndrome. I am doing the best I can. I cannot do it all. When I am weak He is strong! Feeling guilt does not help. Caring for Sam will look different than caring for our other children but he brings a beauty all his own.

  130. This book sounds like it would be tremendous blessing to read. Out of my 4 children, I have one who is also “different.” So many of these points struck home but the ones in particular were about tending to my needs and also the one about providing a place where she can feel loved and free to be herself.

  131. Kimberly Doremus says:

    My 6 year old son has sensory processing disorder, anxiety, ADHD, autism, and giftedness. The point I most needed to read was the one about guilt.

  132. I loved all the tips but I think tip number 1 is great. Can’t wait to read the book and see how it helps me parent my different child

  133. I am sitting next to my different child as we speak, tearing up after reading this post. I pulled him out of traditional public school 3 weeks ago, as the emotional toll of 4th grade proved to be too much for him and out whole family. We are back to homeschooling, which is better for him, but brings me to my brink some days.

    My son is gifted musically (can pick up almost any instrument and play something he has just heard), has an incredible vocabulary and a sense of humor better than most adults. He is also defiant, hates direction, refuses to do math, obsessive, full of energy and anxiety that we cannot predict and makes every day a challenge hard to face.

    He is my first child and we have 2 others who also need love and attention but rarely get enough. I loved your tip on taking time of Saturday mornings for yourself. I am declaring Saturday mornings my day to walk on the beach and clear my head!

    Thank you for sharing your story of hope and acceptance. I needed it today.

  134. I love them all but 4 and 5 really stick out to me. We are homeschooling parents with children that are adopted so Id say we definitely have out of the box children. I cant wait to see what the Lord has in store for them when they get older.

  135. I am home schooling a child who very much resembles your Nathan. He is bright, imaginative, and an out-of-the-box thinker. In fact, your description of your son being a great storyteller, despite having struggles with spelling grammar, and math, all describes my son. My son even dictates stories to me on the computer and I read aloud to him a lot. I guess Tips #5 and 6 spoke to me the most right now. Great reminders!

  136. Nicola Muller says:

    Inspiring to hear that the kids turnout fine in the end :). My struggle is with #1, particularly on a day like today when I’m full of cold and haven’t got the patience that I normally have for the million and one non-stop questions about everything! My two are 6 and 4, with no particular labels as such but definitely ‘different’ in their own way :).

  137. I also shared to Facebook!

  138. Reflecting Dawn says:

    Our homeschool journey is only a few months old, however the sixth tip resonates the most today. I am attempting to give my all to my full-time job on a few hours of sleep because my tween DS couldn’t get to sleep until 2 am while hear him enjoy some free time outside my office. He has love and safety in this homeschool that he didn’t have in either a public or private school. I will sit with him until he is 25 to get to sleep if that is what it takes. He is likely to be on the floor of my office this afternoon doing a word search or finishing his science poster. I look forward to the opportunity to share this book with him as another tool to build his self-esteem and confidence that there is a reason he was born. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us that we are not alone.

  139. I’m homeschooling all four of my kids, but there are unique challenges with my two adopted sons. They did not have the solid nurturing and healthy early start my big kids did, don’t share our family’s DNA, and yes, in my low moments I find myself thinking, “Why can’t they just be more like us!?” But I also recognize how much our family needs their differences. I love Sally’s reminder that they are not projects to be fixed, but people to be loved unconditionally whether or not they ever change.
    Julie’s latest post: winter bookshelf for the kids (and kids-at-heart).

  140. I’m a homeschooling Mama of two. One of my children has ADHD and some days can be extra rough. Sally’s reminder: Don’t live with guilt as an extra emotional burden. is important for me because some days I am the most impatient person I know. I shared Nathan’s quote about being different and my child said, “that’s exactly how I feel.”

  141. I am a homeschooling mama of 6. My oldest boy has dyslexia AND dysgraphia. It’s a nice reminder that he can always hire someone to do the stuff he can’t.

  142. Tasmanian says:

    Look at all these comments. Sally said she didn’t have friends who understood her struggle in homeschooling him. Look at how many of us there are now. We need to stick together and support each other. “6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important.” I often lose my patience here. I don’t want my child to look back and think I was a nasty controlling mum who didn’t understand what was happening in their mind. (2E 10yo)

  143. Also shared on Facebook!

  144. Mama Rachael says:

    My son is certainly “different”. He shows many aspects of ADHD, but not all. He struggles to “walk” (vs run) and sit long enough to eat a meal. But he can sit through a chapter of “White Fang” listening and able to talk about it afterwards (he’s 5). He is incredibly bright, very charismatic, and can push someone’s button until they explode with pinpoint accuracy. I was thinking to get a copy of this book, for the encouragement, and might still do so. If I happen to win, I’ve got friends who would enjoy it too. Really, #2 and #3 are what resonate with me. There is not magic bullet, no one thing that will ‘fix’ it all. Its a 20 yr process, taken slow. And caring for myself is so hard. My son needs me so much, and now I have a nursing baby, so its hard to get any real alone time right now. But I also know that this season will pass, and when it does I’ll remember it with a wistfulness that I can’t imagine now. It helps that I’ve got the 5 year old with the newborn… the older is far enough ahead of the younger that I can clearly see the other side of that developmental stage. But poor oldest son gets Mama as she is wondering what the other side of his current developmental stage is….

    And of course, he is super interactive, great verbal skills, etc, so people often wonder what I’m doing wrong that he ___________. Most people don’t know how to deal with a kid who can push their buttons so well that they get so very angry. I know God can use this somehow, just right now its hard to see how!

  145. Mama Rachael says:

    shared on FB!

  146. Rebecca Wamsley says:

    Yes I am homeschooling a difficult child. I think number 4 hits me the most. “Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them.” It’s so easy to see what she can’t do and notice areas where she isn’t able to do what her siblings can. I need to find her strengths and help strengthen those.

  147. I homeschool 3 kids, and my youngest is becoming quite the challenge at 4 years old. He is completely different from my older two, and I often have no idea what to do with his loud, loving, clinging, vibrant personality.

  148. I really think I need this book. Thank you for sharing some “bullet points” about thriving with different kids. Self care is so important!

  149. Looking forward to reading this and purchasing to give to a few friends.

  150. Katie Roach says:

    Wow! What a timely post (and an entirely relevant book!). I am homeschooling a “different” child right now, and we are actually in the process of having her be evaluated so that I can help her learn new tools. Both #2 and #4 spoke to me in terms of what I am currently trying. Thank you for sharing!

  151. I have a couple of “different” children. I have struggled with all six of these tips but the one that struck me most today was number five. I believe God gave me these children for a reason and I should trust that he knows what to do and if I seek the answers he’ll help me find them. And that ultimately he’s the one leading them not me .

  152. Yes. We just began OT with my “different” son to help him with some of his sensory and social challenges. I think #2 is really important for me. He and I have a great relationship, but I waste a lot of emotional energy looking for a magic bullet solution that’s going to help him overcome his areas of struggle rather than just taking it one day at a time. I’m looking forward to reading this book someday!

  153. Yes, seeing your son’s success gives me hope, as I continue believing God for His miracles and grace over my former one-point preemie. My son also loves story-telling. Thank you for writing and sharing your encouragement with us.

  154. Marissa Gregorwich says:

    My oldest, Thomas, is 8, and he is my different child. I rarely feel successful with his schooling. Number 4 is important to me. Finding his passion and encouraging it is so necessary!

  155. Lisa Warren says:

    3 of my 4 kids might be different and as I have read the book it has hit me hard that I need to focus on
    allowing home to be their safe place where they are not judged, rather loved just as they are.

  156. I am homeschooling a son who is a “different” child. Sally’s post made me cry because I realized that I was only seeing the challenges he creates for me instead of providing a safe, loving environment for him.

  157. I have an out-of-the-box kid. Yes, to there is no magic bullet! This is true with all of my children. We like formulas, but with people there are so many variables…and not having a magic bullet means we press into Jesus, lay it all at His feet, and trust Him. Looking forward to reading this book.

  158. Shared on FB 🙂

  159. I’m schooling a “different” child…four of them in different ways. I have carried this burden. My oldest just finished school and is having trouble transitioning to the adult world. I wish I had read this years ago. I have always tried to love him but it was easier to see the shortcomings than the victories. Now my daughter is my battle and I realize I need to just love on her more. I can only pray my kids will turn out successful but daily beat myself up that I could e done more. Thanks for the article.

  160. Wow I would really like to read this book. How to pick one piece of advice from Sally? I would choose number 5 – to believe in God’s ability. He created our children and has a great plan, but there are days when that is hard to remember. Thanks for this article.

  161. Lindsay Bence says:

    Yes, number 5. I have to remember that God’s plan for my son may be different than mine. HE made him different for a good reason.

  162. Sara Oldenburg says:

    Such great tips! I especially love #4 and #5.

  163. Number 6 struck something in me. I grew up abused and now have no contact with family. So I want to give my special girl a solid, loving home base to always count on. I’m so blessed that I can homeschool her and give her what she needs to thrive.

  164. Growing up, I was the different child, except I was in public school. Because of that, I now homeschool my 4 ‘different’ children. I really appreciate point 2, “There is no magic bullet.” There is no quick fix; no perfect curriculum that we just haven’t tried yet. It’s what I tell myself and my kids. We are who we are. We approach learning differently than others, and it’s okay. My own mother is different, and so was her father. We are the odd ducks lol I hope my kids learn to enjoy who they are, even & especially when things feel rough & tough, for they are wonderfully made <3

  165. Rebekah F says:

    #1 – I need to let go of guilt concerning all my children!

  166. Would love to read this. Love all the tips thst where shared. I do have one out of the box learner.

  167. My precious son is a great kid. It once we started homeschooling and entered into community, I realize not everyone appreciates his energy, intelligence and creativity. It has been isolating for sure. I realized recently that my recent energies have been to make him into something he’s not instead of just loving him for who God made him to be. He’s so smart, kind heart, just active. God is using him to refine me and remind me that only God’s opinion of us truly matters. He’s refining those in our community too as they are starting to see his strengths. Not all kids fit in a box….. funny how we try to put God in a box too sometimes.

  168. Yes! I have three daughters. One is “different” 🙂 Point #1 resonates the most with me.

  169. The first tip-not harboring extra guilt-was the one the hit closest to home for me right now. We have four children, ages six, four, two, and three months, and our two year old is a very, very different child. We have had our challenges with our oldest two in training and correcting, but this sweet boy often leaves me feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. He doesn’t respond to correction in the same way his older brother and sister do-it just feels like you never know what is going to happen next with him. I get so disappointed in myself when I lose my patience and raise my voice or yell at him-I can see in his face how much it hurts his little feelings, and I feel like crying just typing it out! I have been so ashamed in admitting this to the Lord, but I see that is wrong, and was reminded by this article that He is a loving father who cares about these struggles, my mama heart, and this precious boy. Thank you for these wise words-I truly appreciate them and the gentle guiding back to the healer of all broken hearts.

  170. Alexis Christenson says:

    I have three ‘different’ children and live with guilt wondering if I am ever doing the right thing. Then I read uplifting stories like this one, pray some more and know I am the best mum for these three precious individuals. I am reminded I do need to put myself first sometimes and take time to breathe, perhaps before I get overwhelmed! Thanks for telling it how it is. That is something so rare in our social media saturated world of ‘look at how great my life is’ that we are bombarded with daily. Nice to know we are not alone 🙂

  171. I have a “different” one too. It is so nice to know others have been- and are- there. A friend recently texted me about this book, and I really want to read it. Right now, my focus is making sure she feels completely loved at home and that it is a safe place for her.

  172. Different child yes absolutely. Love look for the strength and potential in the child. Thank you for allowing us to participate

  173. Susan Menzmer says:

    My firstborn has cerebral palsy, seizures, and auditory processing disability. The point that rings true to me is to take care of yourself. Too often, I have not. Trying to correct that!

  174. Loving your child just as they are, unconditionally, even if they never change. I love my kiddo soo much, but I do sometimes wish he would change.

  175. Heidi Hamtra says:

    I have been reading all that I can about this book trying to learn. I can get so tired dealing with my children. I am homeschooling my older two while trying to keep the younger two out of trouble. My oldest was just diagnosed with SPD. He is a brilliant little boy, but it is so hard to corral his interest and to get him to finish his work. My second son does not have any formal diagnoses but he poses many challenges too. He often runs around acting completely crazy. Sometimes it is because he is choosing to be “silly” by usually he seems to have no control over what he is doing. Every single one of these tips Sally shared resonate with me! I feel hope after reading it. I think the one that will be the most transformational for me is #4 – looking for their potential and the good in them. I think we’d all be a lot happier if I didn’t focus on the things that they are doing wrong.

  176. Yes, I am raising and homeschooling a different child. #1 and #5 speak to me most right now! I would love to win this book and share it with the moms in my homeschool group!

  177. I, too, have some different children, two of whom are diagnosed. It’s a difficult and exhausting . I am constantly losing my cool and undoing battles and crises because of it. I’m really wanting to read this book.

  178. Katrina S says:

    I have a four year old who has some “out-of-the-box” issues. We’re starting out in Pre-K, and there are definitely challenges. The tip that hit home with me was #6. There was a day when he was 2, and he was having another day with multiple meltdowns over sensory issues. I was so frustrated, and didn’t know how to be a good mama to him. I wondered why God had put us together. I heard a little voice inside my head, “Mama, will you love me just the way that I am?” That was a fundamental moment in my parenting of him. I feel like God gave me that thought, showing me His heart for my son, and how I could go forward.

  179. We are in the preschool at home years but it won’t be long. I love her last point on providing a home they can be loved in.

    Also sharing your post on fb.

  180. My second son is very difficult. Nothing “diagnosable” but definitely an out of the box kid with strong wants, needs and emotions. We had started homeschooling his older brother during our second’s last year of preschool and 3 years later I know that homeschooling is such a gift for him. He is able to learn in his own way and it has brought the two of us much closer together. I love Sally’s tips to love unconditionally and let your child know that in your family, the person they are is just who they are supposed to be. That all of the things that make them “different” from others, that may seem negative to many, have positive sides to them.

  181. Shared on the Kirkos Caravan family FB page!

  182. This. All of this gives me courage! Both of my children have struggled with learning difficulties, speech and sensory issues. When they were much younger, my mommy “well moments” consisted of me locking myself in the bathrrom for a good cry.. As the years progressed, my fears have lessened, but the guilt is still there. ‘Should I have done more, if I was more patient, if I appreciated each phase more.’..yada, yada, yada. Refreshing to read that I can let that get go because it gets better! Thank you

  183. Corrie David says:

    I have 7 children and 1 is “different”, my oldest. I think #4, is what jumped out at me. Can’t wait to read this book!

  184. Dana Pase says:

    I just really need the encouragement Sally is offering in this book. She and I have talked about my “different” child and how burned out I am at this point. He turns 13 next month and I need to replenish my stores of patience and seeing him through fresh eyes and a peaceful heart.

  185. I love this article. I am homeschooling my 6 children, I have an adopted son who is different. I think number 6, trying to give him a safe place where he can be himself, is what he needs. For me, letting go of guilt and giving myself a break are long overdue.

  186. I’m homeschooling two boys, 7 & 12. I am not sure they qualify as “different”. They are not learning disabled, by any means, and my youngest is just a bright ball of loving light. Maybe it’s his age, or a phase, but my 7th grader is giving me a lot of trouble lately–resisting most things and having a generally grumpy and rotten attitude. For me, Sally’s point about making a loving home for him hit me the most profoundly. I’m often focused on checking off the lists, making sure they eat healthy, etc. and I tend to lose the fun and friendliness in the process.

  187. Marilyn White says:

    The pediatrician tried to diagnose my three year old with ADHD and medicate him. I politely refused, left the practice and we went on our way. Yes, by public school standards he is ADHD but to us he’s Andrew. We’ve worked hard to help him understand his world and how to behave in it … and we have many more years to go. I so appreciate Sally’s advice to create a home environment where he knows he is loved because he has been in so many different situations where others don’t bother to show him respect because they focus on his faults and not his amazing strengths!

  188. I homeschool an out ofnthe box 11 year old.
    6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important.
    This is most important to us at this point. There is a lot training how to behave socially. That gets frustrating and tiring for all of us. Friendships are hard but knowing he has a loving place to land helps with the day to day.

  189. Melissa M. says:

    Yes–I homeschool all 3 of my children, and my oldest son, age 14, is on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s). I think number 5 “Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own” really speaks to me. When I look back at where he was 9 years ago and the young man he is becoming now, I can’t help but see God’s hand in all of it. Our days haven’t been without tears and trials, but what blessing to witness his journey every day.

  190. I shared this on FB.
    Jamie’s latest post: New Themes: TextBook and Dara

  191. Well, I’m not homeschooling mine yet — he’s four (about to be five). Thankfully, he goes to pre-k three days a week. We have no family close so this is about the only break I get from him. He is funny and creative and at times, so loving. But he can also be aggressive to the point of hitting me, volatile, and angry. So hard! I am so looking forward to reading your book and thanks to both of you for writing it. It does help to know you are not the only one. All of the points are so good but number five is the one I need to remember most. It’s not up to me. And God is able to do exceedingly beyond all I can imagine.

  192. Anita Demopoulos says:

    My ‘different’ child is only 3, but oh boy, he has been such a challenge already! I’m homeschooling my older 2 & he certainly makes HS hard! It’s not just your normal ‘toddler’ issues – he’s completely different to the other 4 family members & is an expert button-pusher. He knows how to wind everybody up to within an inch of our sanity. He’s loud, destructive & hates rules/order… which again, is the complete opposite to everyone else in the family. Tip #2 spoke to me the most – I find it hard not to want & push him into the same mold everyone else in the family seems to be made from & I’ve struggled to accept his differences & find ways to encourage his differences for good.
    My husband struggles with loving him & feels bad about the fact that sometimes he regrets having him.
    We’re only just beginning our ‘different child’ journey, but I’d so appreciate this book to help us from the start!

  193. We are blessed with 5 children! Our oldest is different. We have very hard school days. So # 5 is for me. Its all I can do some days is cry out for grace to make it through our homeschooling day.
    I’m looking forward to ready Sally’s book for a bit of encouragement!!
    Blessings.

  194. I love the emphasis on cultivating your child’s strengths. All of our children need that!

  195. I have 4 out of the box children, in some ways. Looking for ways to encourage Tver potential has really struck me. I’m not sure I do that enough and I love the encouragement to do that!

  196. Heidi Owen says:

    I have homeschooling my ASD, ADHD and learning delayed son for a few years before I put him back in public schools. So many struggles and the loneliness without support took its toll. I really would like to homeschool him again and would love to have your book to help me.
    6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important.
    I didn’t my best at this to let my son be himself at home and away from the constraints at school. To know he is loved and accepted at home.

  197. This is a timely post. My daughter is “different” and I constantly worry if I’m doing the right thing, about her future, about everything! I found #5 to be the most powerful. I really do need to focus on what God can do, not just what I can do. I think I need to write that by my bed to see every morning when I wake up!

  198. I am raising and homeschooling an outside of the box child also and oh how I ( as well as the rest of the family) would be blessed winning a copy of this book! It’s hard to choose but I love #5, cause if I’m believing, then all else will fall into place! As I seek Him. Also I shared in Facebook. Thank you for this opportunity 😀

  199. Perfectly timed…. I have an extra-special son among my five joys that I homeschool. All your reminders were good and it is hard to choose among them, but I would have to say the #3 time-alone being me without the stress, challenges, and questions is very important as well as #6 relaxing and making them sense the love and knowledge that with God they are not inferior in any way and that they can do all things. Right now, we are nearing finishing high school and are left with the question of best options for purpose and meaning to direct him into as he does want to make a difference but disabilities of ASD and learning challenges limit him.

  200. My oldest has Asperger’s , my daughter has severe dyslexia and third child is highly emotional. Homeschooling them is quite challenging, but with God and words of encouragement from people like Sally I know this journey is well worth traveling. It is hard to pick only 1 of Sally’s points because several struck a cord ( and brought a few tears). I have to say #5 really encouraged me the most.

  201. My oldest child, Kate, has some learning disabilities. As a straight-A student myself, I find myself frustrated often with trying to help her understand simple questions. Number 1 resonates the most with me–I often feel guilty not only for my impatience, but also in wondering if she struggles because of poor, ignorant choices I made in the past. All the points in this post have been a great encouragement to me.

  202. I homeschool our pre-adoptive son, who has a history of trauma and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This post is beautiful… The fifth tip stands out to me: “Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own.” 😢 Sometimes, in the face of this diagnosis and the difficulties it can bring, it is all too easy to grow discouraged. Thank you for reminding me to BELIEVE… God’s got this!

  203. Shared on FB!

  204. #1. For sure. Thank you for sharing this! Can’t wait to read it!

  205. None of my kids are clinically “different” ( I don’t think!), but man, the four of them can throw me for a loop daily, especially with how very different they are from each other. The first point is most relevant for me right now. I find it very easy to think I should be better than I am, that I shouldn’t ever be exasperated or have mama-meltdowns, or that my children’s struggles are my fault. God is bigger than my weakness and failure!

  206. Ruth Asch says:

    For me, the tip which gives me most to ponder over right now, is the ‘don’t expect a magic bullet’… we are encouraged to see therapists and use programmes to help correct differences in my ‘different’ child, and while they may help to some extent I think it is important for my husband and I, as well as others, to realise that he may never change in some of the more complex areas, but to love him and accept our own limitations whatever happens. Also the quotation from your son about questioning what he was and wishing he could just be normal struck home – my son feels the same way and it makes him very despondent sometimes… I would like to know what else Nathan had to say and wonder if it would help my own son.

  207. Jaclyn Nace says:

    I’m homeschooling my 2 oldest of 4. The 2 littles are just in the play and learn phase so far 🙂 My 2nd, my first boy, is different than my other kiddos. Nothing requiring a diagnosis, just hard for this Momma to figure out! Everything I’ve heard about Sally’s book sounds so encouraging and I always love her writing. The tip I most resonate with in this post is looking for strengths. That’s so hard but I want to do better! Would love to win a copy 😉

  208. Jaclyn Nace says:

    Shared on Facebook!

  209. Krystal M says:

    I homeschool my 6yo son, who is autistic. He is so wonderfully different and I think the best advice from this blog post is #4 & #6 – I try and remind myself to focus of his abilities, work with his strengths and differences to get him engaged and loving the learning journey we are both on.
    So wonderful to hear a success story of a homeschooled person who is different and “outside the box”. Thanks for sharing and for the book giveaway.

  210. I am frequently catching myself in the guilt trap (#1) and daily focusing on strengths (#4). It is always nice to be reminded that each person is unique and we can only help our children unfold into who they are becoming.
    Nicola’s latest post: around the sun

  211. So good! #1 and #6 are very timely for me today and I am excited to read the book!

  212. Yes! My precious one and only! My son is “different”. My parents and sister(and her family)have had such little regard for my child, claiming “he’s a boy and we don’t know what to do with him and his high energy”. It’s been heartbreaking especially as I embrace my sister’s daughters. My in-laws are great, but my brother-in-law once made this comment about my son as he was dealing with his 3rd child who is “different”–“so this is what you’ve had to deal with all these years”. Sadly, they’ve crushed the spirit of their little girl, she’s just a shadow of who she could be. So, creating a home where my child feels loved and safe is so important for us and letting God cover everything that I can’t possibly cover, those are my favorite. I would love to read your book.

  213. Hi Sally, thanks again interlinked and only tips. My take away from today’s are 1. To believe in God to do more than I can. I have my fears of how my daughter will deal difft stages of life. Your encouragement and stories helped /showed God is incontrol. 2. A bighomework for me and my husband to find out her potential.. Thank you

  214. I am not homeschooling. No such programs here in Ethiopia.

  215. Melinda McCormick says:

    I homeschool one that specifically challenges me. Giving unconditional love is a great tip.

  216. “There is no magic bullet”
    I keep trying to find That Thing that will suddenly make teaching my middle child easy: That Thing that will help me be kind when I feel like screaming, that will help her focus and pay attention, that will magically make every day lovely and happy and like the picture on parenting magazines. Is it a curriculum that I haven’t discovered yet? Some parenting technique that I don’t know? No – it’s just that That Thing doesn’t exist, and knowing that gives me hope. It’s not that there’s 1 single answer out there that will make it easier, rather that while there are tough days, there are a LOT of things that we can do and try. Some will work, some will not – and that’s ok. We are both learning and growing.

  217. Great book ! Thanks for writing it .
    Number 4 finding your special Childs strengths has definitely been the most helpful for us. It’s so easy to focus on the things they can’t do, but noticing the things they can and encouraging those will help these children grow and achieve.

  218. What resonates with me the most? The most ‘key’ element, #1, mommas’, everyone looses their patience. Guilt (false guilt) destroys you and won’t allow the necessary peace to look at your child with objectivity.

  219. Lindsey w says:

    2 of my 4 kids are “different” in totally different ways! Sally’s 4th point is really helpful for me – looking for their individual strengths and helping to grow those. I have loved listening to Sally and Nathan’s interviews about this book on different podcasts- can’t wait to read Different!

  220. I have 5 kids, each with their own special qualities. One of my boys, though, has some sensory/ocd tendencies. The point about finding his strengths and cultivating them really touched me. I am easily frustrated with him needing things to be “just so”, but I rarely stop to appreciate how neat and orderly he is compared to his siblings. 😉 His attention to detail and keeping his clothing drawers super neat and tidy means I don’t ever have to remind him to straighten up! I need to focus on that and work that into our schoolwork and our whole day. he is only 5, but he excels at reading and math. Sally’s reminder to focus on his strengths is just what i needed to hear!

  221. I listened to Nathan and Sally in a podcast recently and the genuine love and respect they share is heartwarming. My husband was an out of the box child who was made to feel worse and never felt that love. He is successful despite that, but he’ll never have that sort of relationship with his mom. We, in turn, have an out of the box child (dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD and aspergers) and we are working through the challenges. I love point 2, that there is no magic fix. It’s so hard to not just want something to work magically, but it’s comforting that it’s not that I just haven’t found the magic bullet.
    Ashlee’s latest post: Book Review: Imagine Childhood by Sarah Olmsted

  222. I, ironically, went to the library to search for this book this last week!! I listened to the podcast on RAR, and enjoyed it immensely!! I have an eleven year old son, who was diagnosed with ASD,.. Only a diagnosis, not a lifestyle!! He humbly helps me to see life at a level that brings me to the feet of Jesus EVERY day!! He challenges me to thinking! He’s great at wood working and his building and business skills are phenomenal!! I am able to see that God has developed gifts and skills into EACH and EVERY person and am able to appreciate other people around me for EXACTLY who they are created to be!! We homeschool and trying to accomplish spelling and writing is a huge task!!
    Thanks for all of your wonderful encouragement and for writing this wonderful book!! Hope that I will be able to read it soon!! God Bless You!!

  223. I’ve got a Nathan. I never had him diagnosed, but before we started homeschooling it was recommended that we have him tested. I’m sure according to the system he’d have a few labels…but we really wanted him to know the labels God has for him…we aren’t always successful – mostly because there’s no way to know just how difficult it will be, and also the effect it will have on yourself and the rest of your family. Just getting through the basics of math and language arts is a huge accomplishment most days and definitely require daily doses of grace.
    #2 hit me hard today… will have to let that one roll around in my heart today. I’m always so encouraged by your books and am looking forward to this one more than any other! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and pouring into those of us on the road behind you.

  224. Yes – we are homeschooling four children, two have special needs. Providing a loving home where the child feels loved and encouraged is such good advice. I’d love to read this book!

  225. I have twin boys, one of whom is pretty much a complete joy and the other is very, very difficult at times. I hate my sin of being frustrated with him, so #4 and #5 both serve a wonderful reminders that I can look at all the differences in him and see them as divine gifts that God can use in mighty ways for His glory. I can also realize the truth of Romans 8:29, that God uses all things (good and bad) to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus. My husband and I are nearly ready to send him to a Christian school to see if that level of structure will make things any better for him, so this post is incredibly timely, in the sense that we just need to hang on with faith in our great God. Thank you for all you do!

  226. I am homeschooling my oldest son (age 7) who was diagnosed with adhd at age 6. It is definitely hard some days. Have been thankful for your articles and talks as I’ve waded through this journey. Looking forward to reading your book soon…and would love to win a copy!

    • And I forgot to mention, which point in this blog I thought most important for me…I think it is making sure the child feels he is part of a loving home. Definitely a hard one some days when they are so difficult. I think it is especially hard when you look at them in comparison to your ‘normal’ kids. God made each child special and I need to remember this! Loved Nathan’s thoughts, too about wondering if he was a bad kid…and I know my child thinks this often, too.

  227. Kathy Hart says:

    Yes, I home educate two special needs children 16, and still, a 21 yo! And I’m married to a special needs husband!
    #6 especially rings true for me right now.

  228. Julie Tomlinson says:

    Hi Sally,
    I was homeschooling my different child. right now he is in a private Christian school. Hope to homeschool him again when I am able. Point #6 in creating a home environment healthy for him would be so much an answer to prayer for all of us in the family.

  229. This is such a wonderful and encouraging article. I found it posted on Facebook. I am a NaNa of an out of the box grandson. He is 3 and so precious! He is a high functioning autistic and he is amazing! He is in preschool now, but mom is considering homeschooling next year. She has read this article already. My hope is she picked up on point #1…… Drop the guilt! And point #3….Make time for yourself! She has two other children older. Oldest is 12 dealing with preteen and self esteem. Middle is 9 dealing with dyslexia. And Nate 3 with autism. She is always tired but always wanting to be all things for all the children.
    Also point # 3 for her to take some time for her! I’m sure your book would be wonderful for her, Sally.
    Again, the whole article is just wondering for any mom and dad. Raising children is not easy, “Normal” or “Special”!!

  230. I have 5 kids and as I went through the process of crying out to God and discovering 2 of them were “different,” I realized their dad was “different” as well (which explained a lot!) and did not always receive the love and care that I want to give them. It is slow baby steps of learning complete dependance on the Holy Spirit for all that is needed and they bring to our home. Would love to read about Sally and Nathan’s relationship and process from a Godly perspective – the world’s advice leaves out the spirit and the power of Jesus to help in this. Thanks

  231. Tina Cunningham says:

    This is so encouraging. I think for me it’s step 1 and 3. To not beat ourselves up as moms when we doing something for our different child and it doesn’t work and also to put in set times for me time. We all need a break to stop and recharge our batteries.

  232. I have 2 different kids! My oldest suffers from severe anxiety and Sally’s #5 above hit me. I need to trust God to take care of her. She is almost 17 and I worry if she’ll ever be able to leave home. It’s so hard because I want to support her but I also know I need to gently nudge her into the world, even if it seems scary. Tough spot for a tender-hearted Mom.

  233. Thank you so much Sally and Nathan for writing this book and encouraging other families going through the same thing. I have five children and both my youngest two boys are “Out of the Box”. My youngest was just diagnosed with autism and more this past year. I love point 3 where you talk about taking time for ourselves, but also where you mention this being a marathon. Over the years I’ve tried quick fixes or new curriculum in hopes of bringing about great results, but nothing is quick fix about this journey. It’s about understanding that we can help them in little ways everyday, but to accept that being “different” is who God created them to be. I can’t wait to get your book!

  234. Shared!! Many of my friends are hoping to start a small book club with this book! Funny how many of us have “Out of Box” children (and spouses)! You have no clue the blessing you two are!

  235. 6. Giving your “different” child a home where they can be loved is profoundly important. My daughter will be 5 on February 13th. She loves to learn and homeschooling has been easy so far but her personality in other areas is difficult. She’s our oldest. We have two sons ages 3 and 1. We are just at the beginning of homeschooling where it would be very beneficial to lay necessary ground work with her and make homeschooling the rest of our children less stressful. Ultimately I want them to have a place where they are loved unconditionally and they feel safe to act out when need be. Let their stresses go in a loving home. Right now when they stress out, I lose my temper. I also need to set aside time for me, my spouse, our boys, and one on one time with my strong-willed girl 🙂

  236. “Believe in God’s ability to do more than you could ever do on your own.” It’s not my job to “fix” my child. I will love him and help him grow into the person he was created to be.

  237. i am homeschooling a “different child” and right now #1 letting go of guilt is something I need to work on right now in dealing with our situation. I would love to read your book!
    Thanks

  238. #5 really resonates with me as I homeschool my 13 year old son with severe learning disabilities, bipolar disorder, auditory processing disorder and more. I know God can do infinitely more than me for him and daily have to remind myself of that. Also, letting go of guilt for not being perfect and losing my temper or cool sometimes. I really beat myself up because anytime I am unbalanced he becomes that much more unbalanced. Tough road with him that started with his premature birth at 26 weeks gestation. He is my hero though.

  239. I am homeschooling a different child. Thanks for this post! I really like the tip of believing the God is capable of working things out.

  240. I am homeschooling two boys. They are different from each other for sure 😉 and I’m still figuring out what issues they have. They don’t have anything to the degree Nathan does, but my oldest is definitely what I would call “out of the box.” I especially like the tip that there are no magic bullets. That concept alone has freed me from a lot of guilt 🙂

  241. I am homeschooling a different child. He is not my biological child but God put him into our lives and we have had him in our home for six years. He is my child regardless of blood. I like the point that was made that “God can and will do far more in my child’s life than I can ever imagine possible. I am loving and consistent and my different child is flourishing and will continue with God’s help. <3

  242. I think cultivating their strengths is one of the important ones I try to utilize for my kids. And taking time for myself (which can be hard at times) and having patience even when that may be in short supply.

  243. Shared and shared 🙂

  244. Wonderful! I homeschooled my son in 2nd grade with success! He wanted to see his friends again so he went back with success, fortified from our great experience.
    Now we are in 10th grade and in need of homeschool again. So glad we have the option to do so. I think the best point you make is about giving your child a loving home and trusting that you’re doing well by your child.

  245. Oh, the guilt, #1! All of the “shoulds” that can fill my mind about my special, amazing, different boy!

  246. My constant prayer lately is help me to love him for who he is, not wish he was different than he is. And for the lord to give me wisdom in my interactions with him.

  247. I am a disabled veteran and single mom with a special needs daughter. She has ADHD, sensory disorder, and dysgraphia, along with some other needs. I am constantly being told by some family members and other people (some of who have never had children) that I need to be more firm and discipline her more. I disagree. I sacrifice my potential income that I could make outside the home so that I can homeschool her and give her the education that she needs and the schools refuse to give her. I believe her needs come first to include knowing that she is loved even if we don’t have a complete family or tons of friends. I believe the sacrifice that I make the most of is not taking care of myself first to even include spending time alone or doing something that I enjoy. I need to learn to do that so I can care for her even better.

  248. Would love to read more from the book on her fourth tip: Look for your children’s potential strengths and cultivate them. I love the hope, positivity (is that a word?) and strength this mindset gives.

  249. This is my first year homeschooling my 4th grade “different” child. I know homeschool is the best place for him, he knows homeschool is the best place for him, but man, there are some hard days. Remembering to give him a home that loves him for who he is…that’s what I need to focus on. It’s hard not to feel like I am just correcting him all of the time.

  250. I have a different child at home and it’s challenging on a daily basis. I thought Sally’s point about looking for your child’s strengths and encouraging those abilities was good. It’s easy for me to see what he’s doing wrong, but do I notice what he does well and effortlessly?

  251. Valerie Cook says:

    I struggle with my 9 year old homeschooled. His add, and sensory processesing disorder make it so hard for him to focus. Then his younger brother also takes up so much of my time with issues of his own. The point I needed to hear most was to take care of my needs too. Second to that I need to point out his successes more than I do his failures.

  252. Tamra Lewis says:

    I am homeschooling a different child. She can push buttons that I never knew I had! I think the most important thing to remember s that it is God’s work not mine that will make beautiful things.

  253. My third child has me often in tears. Trying to do my best with him, so #5 really hits home the most. God is not surprised by my child’s uniqueness, nor is He surprised by my frustrations. He has a plan!!

  254. My oldest son, now 7 challenged me since day 1. He cried a lot (still does), rarely slept, nursed 24/7 and still has high demands and pushes my buttons daily. But, of course, I love him dearly and he has a huge, sensitive heart. I could always use some inspiration and a knowing that I am not alone. I look forward to reading this book whether I win or not!

  255. I have a 5-year old who is in the process of being diagnosed with ADHD. I struggle with him feeling like he is wrong or bad so much. #4 speaks to me because he has so many good qualities and I wish and pray that others can see what I see in him. Would love to read your book and I hope I can win a copy.

  256. Shared on Facebook.

  257. Jenny Aldrich says:

    I am definitely homeschooling a “different” 11 year old boy. He amazes me everyday though because I love him so. I really enjoyed her part about finding your child’s potential and cultivating it. We struggle everyday but I enjoy being able to be on this journey with my kids and wouldn’t change it for anything.

  258. Julia Sager says:

    Too many nights I’ve fallen asleep on a wet pillow, wishing I’d been more kind today. That she can’t really help it. I want to bite my tongue when I snap at her while we are sitting together going over the. same. thing for the 47th time wondering, will she ever learn?! I wish I could stop having anxiety about pleasing man and the state and just ENJOY her, at her pace. That I could truly nurture her, in everything, not only in homeschooling.
    #1 resonated with me as I learn to love my “Different” 8yo daughter.

  259. Jaime Scharf says:

    I have a “different” child in the sense of personality conflicts and scraping against each other a lot. But not in the diagnosis sense. I struggle with believing that the Lord is going to accomplish the work despite me. That my child is His work and He won’t leave him unfinished. I think I struggle along most of Sally’s points to an extent, like most moms. I shared to facebook as well.