By Peggy Ployhar

 

Are you looking for quick instructional videos that will show you some of the best tips and techniques homeschooling speakers, consultants, therapists, and curriculum providers share for helping struggling learners achieve various goals? Look no further than the SPED Homeschool YouTube Channel. Below is just a sampling of some of the videos you will find on our channel to help you prepare for helping your child reach various goals.

 

Social Skills

Scaffolding for Playdate Learning Success

 

Behavior Intervention

Teaching Behavior Modeling Through Audiobooks

 

Self-Esteem

Helping Your Highly Sensitive Teen Develop Self-Esteem

 

Large Family Group/Combined Learning Different Levels

A Large Homeschool Family That Plays Together, Learns Together

 

Reaching Enough High School Credits

Combining Credits for Homeschool High School Transcripts

 

Spelling

Making Spelling Tactile

 

Writing

Spotting Writing Blockages and Making Modifications for Your Student

Breaking Down Writing into Bite-Sized Tasks

 

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Strategies

 

 

Need more help?  Search the SPED Homeschool video library, or check out one of  our playlists.

 

Also, make sure to  subscribe to our channel so you are the first to know when our newest video has published.  And, make sure to check out our broadcast schedule for a listing of all of our upcoming live interviews which allow you to interact with our special guest.

 

I leave you with one final video that provides a bit of encouragement when you start looking at your child’s pace and wonder if you are doing enough, you question your child’s ability, or you are falling into the comparison trap we all too easily fall prey to.  

Why Parents Should Forget About Developmental Timelines

 

Be encouraged. You got this…and we are here to help you stay strong through your homeschooling journey!

 

 

 


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SPED Homeschool Team  

Just as in life, special education homeschooling comes with its own set of highs and lows, peaks and valleys. These may look different for each of us, but the journey teaches us important lessons with each new challenge. In this post, our SPEDHomeschool Team Members share the peaks and valleys they have faced in their journey of homeschooling special needs and what they have learned from those hard moments.

 

Amy Vickrey

This year has been a big valley in our lives in general. However, life affects how our children learn. One year ago, I became a single mom. The details aren’t important. What is important is that my kids looked to me this year to see how I would react, to learn real-life lessons in love, faith, and trust. I have worked every day to show love, thankfulness, and strength. I want my boys to grow up to know that women should be strong, a part of a team, and you should stand up for what is right. These life lessons have been ever-present this past year. Many people encouraged me to put my boys back in school, but I saw the need they had to be close and seek comfort and shelter when things were tough. This year, homeschooling has been our peace, our solace when things were tough and we needed something “normal.” It has allowed us to escape into field trips and fun activities when needed, and discover a bond between my boys, my parents, and I that would not be there without the time and love we have shared. I built a team of family members, therapists and doctors to help us navigate this difficult year, work through regressions that occurred, and continue to moving forward.

 

During all of the turmoil of our daily life, my oldest son also struggled with vision issues. Diagnosed with amblyopia last year, he began with 20/250 vision in his left eye – the legal limit for “blindness” being 20/200. He made quick progress with glasses, but could not tolerate the patches due to sensory issues. So we dilated his good eye. Which means he could see even less. Through it all, he showed amazing strength and determination. He continued to progress in reading and math. While his handwriting has suffered some, we are now getting back on track with the help of an amazing team of Occupational Therapists.

 

The bottom line is, I know this is just one valley. It has been a tough year. And yet, I have seen so much blessing come out of it. My oldest still showed academic growth, my youngest (3-year-old) is now receiving needed services and has potty trained (no more diapers – yeah!). Despite all the hardship, we are a close-knit family and have found a deeper love for each other and for God. Through all the difficult times, I could look back and see the hand of God protecting us and guiding us through. Because of His guidance, I know we can get through anything together. Homeschooling has allowed us the ability to navigate this last year in a way that has blessed us tremendously.

 

“I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength.” Isaiah 12:2.

 

 

Dawn Spence

Homeschooling can be overwhelming especially when you add on atypical learners. My valley—and something that I have had to rise above—is thoughts of inadequacy. I am a very type-A person who expects a lot of myself, which can be good sometimes or self-defeating at other times. I taught public school for 10 years, and in that environment, you are judged on your students’ success. So my worth as a teacher was measured by scores. When I became a homeschool mom, I had to fight against this way of thinking and allow myself the freedom to teach my children without judging myself. It was hard, and I often beat myself up when my kids were not meeting goals. But then I had to realize that my kids’ learning is about mastery and growth; I had to allow myself grace.

 

My peak is watching my children grow at their pace in their way. I love getting to know my children’s strengths and watch them bloom. I love to see them have those moments when the lightbulb comes on because they get a concept or lesson. I love that my kids are not compared to anyone and are taught as individuals. That is what I wanted to do as a teacher, and I’m so blessed that I get to live that out with my best students, my children.

 

 

“It’s when I realized that [my son’s] best was all I could expect, and that was good enough. This is the highest peak! This is where freedom is!”

 

 

Cammie Arn

As a veteran homeschool mom with 20+ years experience and still in the trenches with my youngest who is 4, the one thing that I have learned is to not sweat the small stuff. There is freedom is not comparing our children to others; however, we also need to have the confidence to trust that we ARE doing what is best for our children.

 

My difficult valleys in my homeschool came when I lacked the confidence in my ability to teach. It had nothing to do with curriculum or my child’s performance. It had much more to do with the ugly monster of fear. Could I do more? Is this enough? Should I do this better? It’s a slippery slope of despair. The darkest valley.

 

However, once I realized that my best was all that was needed, that is when freedom came. That’s when I discovered that is was OK that my son only wanted to read the Bible and that he didn’t want to read Shakespeare or do Latin. It’s when I realized that his best was all I could expect, and that was good enough. This is the highest peak! This is where freedom is!

 

 

Peggy Ployhar

Since our homeschooling journey started in such a large valley there was no way except up for us to go from there.

 

Our introduction into homeschooling was anything but easy since it started with an autism diagnosis, my son’s private school not having any options available that were workable for him, our public school wanting to only focus on his behavioral and reading issues instead of his depression, social anxiety and academic giftedness in math and science, and my own personal depression and anger issues. We were nowhere close to being a family chosen as most-likely to homeschool, especially successfully. But it was the only choice we had, and so we followed the peace God gave us above the nay-sayers of the world and dove headfirst into the adventure.

 

Now 17 years later, I know without a doubt that the valley God took our family into, to twist our arm to start homeschooling, was the turning point that has led us to the many peaks of success we have seen over the years with our children. I could go on and on about the peaks in my children’s homeschool careers as well as the peaks I too have experienced as I have allowed God to change me as their mother and teacher, but there is one peak that rises above the rest. Just last month I wrote an article called The Greater Benefit of Homeschooling, where I highlight this greatest peak we reach in our homeschooling. And, it is a peak we all can reach no matter what academic potential our children have. It is scaled not by the places we take our children, the lessons they learn from us, or even the skills they develop. Instead, the pinnacle success of homeschooling is the strong bond we have the opportunity to develop with our children.

 

I am truly blessed to have such amazing relationships with my children and each day as we converse and continue to walk the road of life together, we just keep scaling higher and higher on this great mountain that allows me to keep speaking truth, wisdom, and love into the places in my children’s lives that need to be spoken into. Meanwhile, the lies of the world have less impact as they shout out from the distant valleys down below.

 

 

Rewards of the Journey

Creating a place of support, giving ourselves room to grow, strengthening bonds with our children—the lessons we learn in our valleys are what propel us to our peaks. The special education homeschooling journey is not without its challenges, but the rewards are well worth it!

 

 


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By Dawn Spence

 

A common abbreviation that is used in special education is an IEP. It stands for your child’s individualized education plan, and it defines your child’s academic and behavioral goals. Your child’s IEP will be unique and is based on their abilities. This can help guide you in reaching their learning goals.

 

Before you get started writing your child’s IEP, you will need to gather the necessary information to form appropriate goals and objectives.

 

1. List Your Child’s Strengths and Weaknesses
You should start with a list of what your child is doing well and the areas that need growth. When you are listing the strengths and weaknesses, you are defining their present levels of performance (PLOPS). I found a form for $1.00 that is a great checklist to start with.  You can find that form here. I found others when I searched “present levels” in the search engine on Teachers Pay Teachers: some were even subject based (i.e. math, English, etc.). You may also search the acronym “PLOPS” and different forms will appear and many are free. 

 

This is one of the most important documents for writing your IEP. This information builds the foundation of what you want your child to learn and what you want your child to achieve. Their strengths and weaknesses should be written for both academic and behavioral areas.

 

2. Gather Former Testing or Observations
This can comprise of any testing that has been performed by a school district, home testing, or tutoring. Most testing always has a section that lists areas to work on and may even list some goals.

 

3. Collaborate with Therapists
If your child receives therapy, their therapists are a great resource. Therapists have checklists that they use to make their therapy goals. My daughter’s therapists and I work together so that we cover as many goals as possible. Therapists can also see different strengths and weaknesses that you can not always see.

 

4. Compile Work Samples from Current Curriculum
For example, if you are working on math and your child can add but not subtract that would help you develop a goal. Also, many curriculums have placement tests that you can use to find where your child is currently working and where their progression should lead. These placements are available on many websites and most times are free.

 

Now that you have gathered all your resources and information you will be ready to start writing your IEP. Later this month,  Amy Vickrey will be writing a post that will address the next step of writing an IEP.

In the meantime make sure to check out the IEP resources we have on our IEP Pinterest board.

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar
 
Often when we write or talk about homeschooling in the United States, we see it through the lens of our surrounding established homeschooling landscape. Earlier this month (May 2018), I had the privilege of speaking at the Global Home Education Conference in Russia where my lens was greatly adjusted.

While in Russia, I heard many countries present on the current state of homeschooling in their homelands. Additionally, I had the chance to speak with researchers and hear about some of the latest data being gathered from all over the world regarding various homeschooling practices, laws, and trends.

It would be impossible to share with you all I learned, especially since I will probably be processing much of it for a long time into the future, but I have decided to specifically share some trends that surfaced during the GHEC 2018 conference in relation to special education homeschooling.

5 Worldwide Special Education Homeschooling Trends

1 – 35% Special Education Homeschool Rate in North America
In speaking with leaders and policy makers, many leaders shared with me they were seeing a special needs rate between 33% to 37% in their homeschooling population. And although these figures didn’t surprise me, the fact these leaders were throwing these numbers out without me asking communicated how pressing this issue was with the homeschoolers they were seeking to support.

2 – #1 Reason to Homeschool in the U.K.is Special Educational Needs

As the representative from the United Kingdom presented the state of homeschooling in his country, one of his slides gave percentages his organization had gathered relative as to why parents in his country choose to homeschool. The number one reason given was “Lack of provision for child’s SEN (Special Educational Need).”

3 – Special Educational Needs are the 2nd Most Influential Catalyst in the Russian Homeschooling Movement
Homeschooling in Russia is on an explosive growth pattern for many reasons, but one presenter at the GHEC 2018 stated that “Just behind the lack of proper education for remote village children, the second most influential factor had to do with inadequate means for the Russian schools for teaching children with special learning/behavioral needs.

4 – Canadian Homeschooling Trend: Special Needs Rates One of the Top Three Reasons to Homeschool
In the report given on North America’s homeschool status, the Canadian representative pointed out that the top 3 reasons parents in Canada are choosing to homeschool were because of bullying, special needs, and the public schooling agenda being taught.

5 – Research on Homeschooling’s Differentiated Education Continues to Be an Optimal Choice for Children with Learning Challenges

The largest segment of data presented at GHEC 2018 in relation to special needs came from the researchers who presented new and past studies on the how love, differentiated instruction, child­-paced lessons, interest-focused learning, and teaching with immediate feedback create an optimal learning environment for any child, but especially a child who struggles.
 

The Increase is Evident
There is no doubt that the shortcomings of institutionalized special education are causing the increase in parental choice for homeschooling. Add to this increase the current rise in learning and behavioral issues among children, coupled with the inability for schools worldwide to provide the specialized instructions needed by these students, and we better understand why homeschooling is increasing in the special educational realm.

As this population grows, so does the need for reliable and consistent support, resources, and training. This community covers a vast spectrum, from gifted and 2E learners to children with extreme challenges who progress so slowly in learning new concepts that from the outside it may not seem like they are progressing at all.

Coming Together to Support More Families
The need is huge…no it is colossal. But, thankfully those burdened to help these special needs homeschooling families are also increasing in number. It is the goal of our organization, SPED Homeschool to unite those burdened to help these families so we can save their time, energy, and money while teaching to the specific needs of their child, no matter where in the world they live or what means they possess to teach their children.

How about you?

Are you homeschooling a child with special learning needs and in need of support, encouragement, and resources? Then we would love to have you join our support group, check out our website, our podcasts, our videos, and our Facebook page on a regular basis for new content, use our Pinterest recommendations, and sign up for our newsletter.

Or maybe you are looking to further support the special education homeschooling community through your experience as a veteran sped homeschooling parent. If that is the case, I would ask you to prayerfully consider joining our team and then filling out this application if you feel led to do so.

Other ways you can help our outreach is by becoming a donor partner with a one-time or on-going gift; partnering with us in prayer for our needs and outreach through our new prayer calendar; or become a partner organization so we can tell our community about a service or product you provide that is beneficial to special education homeschooling families (It is free, just fill out this short-questionnaire and upload a logo or image we can use on our website.)

 
Looking Ahead
The growing number of special education homeschooling families around the world does not need to be a concerning trend. Instead, this movement is creating learning environments for children that really work…one child at a time. My prayer, as I look into the future and what kind of report will be brought to the Global Home Education Conference in two years (GHEC 2020) in the Philippines regarding special education homeschooling is that the concern currently felt for these families will be replaced with the excitement of a growing movement that is unified and empowered to teach each struggling learner in the manner they were designed to flourish and reflect the image of God into this world.

 

 


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It’ that time of year again, when everything is pumpkin flavored, field trips consist of visits to apple orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches…and school starts to develop a routine.

 

I am all for routine, and so are most of our special education homeschooled kids, but sometimes it’s nice to add a touch of the season to our school lessons.  So, if you’re feeling the need to add some seasonal flair to your special education homeschooling, here are 20 ways to add some fall spice to your schedule.

 

20 Fall Special Education Homeschooling Activity Links

  1. Fall Candy Science – Ideas on how to use candy corn for a variety of STEM activities
  2. 10 Fall Movement & Sensory Activities – Both inside and outside fall activities
  3. Pumpkin Craft for Speech Activities – Craft and activity that can be used to work on any speech goals
  4. Fall Themed OT Activities – 30 fall activities to choose from to add a seasonal theme to your home-based OT
  5. Fall & Thanksgiving Themed Unit Study – Ideas for fall and Thanksgiving books, crafts, activities, studies, writing projects, and games
  6. Why Do Leaves Change Color Science Project – Using just simple things you already have in your yard and house, you can teach this easy seasonal science lesson
  7. Autumn Sensory Story – Lots of links and ideas on how to create a sensory storytelling experience for a child with multiple learning delays and/or who is blind/visually impaired
  8. Halloween Social Stories – 16 different stories to help teach children learn how to deal with Halloween social situations, as well as 2 videos parents will find helpful
  9. Fall Lego Building Challenges – 20 Lego building challenges all based around the fall seasonal theme
  10. Fall Tree Luminaries Craft – Easy craft project that turns basic jars into glowing works of art
  11. Leaf Preservation Ideas – Learn 3 different ways to preserve beautiful fall leaves
  12. Fall Sight Word Scavenger Hunt – Make reading more active, while working on sight-words with this great outdoor scavenger hunt
  13. Scarecrow Alphabet Activity – Help your child work on letter recognition with this fun scarecrow activity you can create with felt, a die and some stickers
  14. 20 Fall Speech and Language Activities – Lots of great fall resources on this post to help you work with your child on speech and language goals
  15. Fall Leaf I Spy Game – Free printable game of Leaf I Spy
  16. 30+ Pumpkin Learning Activities – Great list of many ways to use pumpkins to teaching learning concepts
  17. 40 Fall Fine Motor Activities – Extensive list of ideas on how to incorporate the fall theme into fine motor skills practice
  18. Fall Books for Speech Therapy – Learn how to use 4 popular fall books to work on speech goals
  19. Pumpkin Writing  – This cute craft and writing project will get your child writing with simple prompts what require short answers on how to step by step carve a pumpkin
  20. Fall Unit Study – This study contains ideas on ways to incorporate the fall theme when teaching literature, language, art, math, science, and even history to your child


For more fall SPED homeschooling ideas, make sure to check out our SPED Homeschool Fall Pinterest Board.  There are new pins being added to the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards every day, so subscribe to all of them so you don’t miss a thing.

 

 


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