By Dyana Robbins, M.Ed.

As the new year approaches, more families will be considering homeschooling. Each January, an influx of new homeschoolers hits online forums, support groups and homeschooling resources looking for encouragement and help. If you are one of those families, making the leap into homeschooling might seem terrifying. I hope to dispel that fear by sharing the reasons our family chose to homeschool and how that decision has played out the last eleven years.

1. American culture is tough on childhood
Some areas are blessedly immune from the frantic pace characterizing the majority American culture, but I don’t live in one of them. Pressure to have children involved in lots of activities and perform at a high level erodes the quality of life for even our youngest children. As we pushed back against this trend, we found that a more relaxed lifestyle allowed our children to thrive. This led us to reconsider schooling options as they approached kindergarten. We wanted our family to have a rich, well-rounded life and to be well-rested and happy.

2. We wanted a strong family for our children

The pressures on families today mean that they spend little time together that is not rushed. We desired to model and teach our children life lessons through daily life and shared experiences. I’m so thankful we have been able to do that the last eleven years. We have traveled many places, made special family relationships, shared ministry experiences, and collected a lifetime’s worth of joyful memories. While our family is far from perfect, we laugh, cry, live, and love well together. I credit much of that to the lifestyle homeschooling has afforded us.

3. Our children do not learn well in typical classrooms

Our preschool experiences demonstrated that typical classroom learning failed to impart true learning to our boys. We had committed, skilled teachers, a great environment, and still they could not learn well. When our children were diagnosed with developmental and learning disabilities, we hoped they could thrive in a classroom with appropriate supports. That did not happen for us. This does not mean that all families in our situation should homeschool, but I do believe it means homeschooling must be an option for all families who need it.

Homeschooling has allowed our children to surpass every expectation therapists and doctors originally held out to us. With all the time, love, help, and attention we have been able to offer them, we have seen tremendous improvement. I am so thankful that we have had the ability and freedom to make this choice for our family when we needed it most.

4. Our Spiritual Convictions
Spiritual reasons are often cited for homeschooling, but I think our family has a twist on this qualifier. Yes, our beliefs were important to us and we wanted our curriculum to reflect those beliefs. However, we also wanted our children to gain exposure to opposing value systems and grapple with them. Homeschooling has allowed both in a way that provides the time and space for deeper discussion, interaction and reflection.

Also, we wanted our lifestyle to reflect a greater focus on others and service that flows from our convictions. Traditional schooling schedules make that very challenging. Homeschooling offers freedom to live our convictions more fully.

5. It’s an Adventure!
So, if you are standing on the edge of this decision, you might be experiencing fear or apprehension. You don’t know how this will turn out. Will your children thrive? Can you teach them well? How will you stay sane while living all day with your children? These are common questions almost every parent considering homeschooling asks. We had them too.

Can I suggest to you that those very questions might just be a reason that you should homeschool? No adventure comes without risk. That risk is the heart of all grand journeys. Following expected paths may seem comforting, but it will never challenge, stimulate, or incite growth in your family like launching into the unknown will. Our family has enjoyed many wonderful experiences and changed in ways we never could have if we had followed a wider path.

The learning, and self-awareness that comes with homeschooling is worth the leap. Even if you decide after a while that homeschooling is not the right decision for your family, you will make that choice with the confidence and knowledge gained from experience.

Eleven Years In
My oldest son is a ninth grader and decided he wanted to attend our local high school this year to graduate with a trade certificate and explore a world he doesn’t know. We grappled deeply with this decision and allowed him to attend school this year. We are still homeschooling our younger son.

Having a foot in both worlds reveals several things to me that I share in the hopes it might help you with your decisions.

  • My son is only able to be successful in public school because of his years of homeschooling.
  • The concerns we had about public schooling are valid, but his age and maturity are allowing him to navigate them well. The strong base of responsibility and family support that homeschooling has helped us cultivate is partly responsible for his success.
  • Our family has a deeper appreciation for all that homeschooling has given us as a foundation for the children’s teenage years. I am immensely grateful that we have been able to pour so much love, instruction, and time into them.




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By Peggy Ployhar

If you are looking for a fun, and adaptive, new tradition for ringing in the new year with your children, here are five activities we have pinned on our SPED Homeschool New Year Pinterest board , that may be fun to try as you ring in the new year together this year.

#1 – Create a New Year’s Eve Time Capsule
The Kids Activity Blog  shares what to put into a time capsule your family can create on new year’s day, store away for the year, and then open next new year’s eve.

#2 – Record a Video Interview with Your Child
The moms at How Does She?  posted this simple way to create an ongoing record of your child’s progress and interests. This article not only gives you questions to ask your child, but also ideas on what to include in the video so you don’t miss recording all those special things your child has to share.

#3 – Help Your Child Fill Out a Questionnaire
There are so many New Year’s questionnaires, I couldn’t pick just one. Instead, here are five different questionnaires you can choose from to do with your child.

  1. One page printable to record memories from the past year from 
  2. A colorful printable to record your child favorites, year in review highlights and goals for the coming year from 
  3. A printable with 14 questions you can use to interview your child from  
  4. This annual interview questionnaire from  even includes some questions to ask your children about his/her family relationships 
  5. A simplified new year survey from 

#4 – Make a Family Memory Jar

The Suburban Mom gives step-by-step instructions on how to construct a New Year Memory Jar you can make as a family and use all year long to store your family’s memories you don’t want to get lost in the chaos of life.

#5 – Create an “All About Me” New Year Memory Poster
  Crayons & Cuties in Kindergarten has a fun idea for taking your children’s hand and foot prints and using them to create a memory poster where you can record special things you don’t want to forget

And if you’re still looking for other ways to enjoy celebrating the new year as a family, make sure to check out all the links on the SPED Homeschool New Year Pinterest board.

Happy New Year!


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By Peggy PloyharOriginally posted December 2017. Updated in 2019.

What an amazing 2 years we have had since the launch of SPED Homeschool in the summer of 2017!

Sharing Hope As God Leads
All our success would not have been possible without the help of so many wonderful people who believed in our vision for a national special education homeschooling organization. So, thank you for being a part of this movement to grow a national support network for families who are working to help their children achieve educational success against so many odds.

We’re excited for 2020, with plans to continue expanding our outreach while developing more ways to bridge the gaps families currently experience homeschooling children with special educational needs. We can’t do this alone. In addition to needing your prayers, and God’s constant guidance on how to to move forward, we also need financial support to continue our necessary outreach.

Sharing Hope is Practical

This time of year, many families determine how they might increase their 2019 tax-deductible year-end donations. If your family is prayerfully deciding how to promote God’s kingdom through charitable giving, we would ask you to consider donating to SPED Homeschool. Your support will help us continue to share our primary mission and minister to families in the same manner He has ministered individually to each of us and our children throughout our homeschooling journeys.


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

We truly understand the difficult daily realities special needs families face. Many who find us are lost, hurting, and on the defensive having been forced to live this way to protect their children and survive in hostile educational/medical/social environments. But, where there were walls, there are now doorways opening to reach these families. By coming alongside these hurting families, we can provide hope, show God’s love in practical and relevant ways, and truly demonstrate that faith in Jesus is the only pathway to peace amidst their circumstances.


Sharing Hope Together 
Together we can change the outlook for families with children who have special educational needs. And, together we can share God’s hope and point more children towards the future God created them for, by helping their families teach and train them in the way they should go.


SPED Homeschool is a 501.c.3 nonprofit. All charitable contributions are tax-deductible.



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By Melissa Smith

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

At Christmas we see the words “joy” and “peace” on cards and gift bags, written in lights in people’s yards, and sung in the holiday hymns we all know and love. But at this time of year, and particularly this year, what captures my heart most about the season is hope. Hope is so beautiful and powerful when anchored well. It gives courage to wavering souls, lights the way in the midst of dark paths, and lends strength to us when we are set on an arduous journey.

This holiday season has been a different one for our family as we are still rebuilding from Harvey flooding our home. We have been learning to do everything differently from laundry to spending money. And then, set on top of that, as I’ve labored in educating our youngest child, it has become evident that the challenges we’ve faced have nothing to do with the curriculum I’ve chosen or the inadequacies of my teaching abilities, or his strong will. He has ADHD and likely, dyslexia. There, too, I am learning to do things differently. The energy expended – mentally, emotionally, and physically – has required me to reroute my life and live differently. I find myself in great need of hope.

So, as Christmas approaches and my family prepares to celebrate Christ coming as our Savior, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to put my hope in Christ and how that looks on the ground in my everyday life. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way and the gifts Christ has given when we cling to hope.

The Gift of Strength: I’ll Never Be Enough
Whether it is a flooded house, a child with special needs, difficult family relationships, or any number of other situations, we recognize our inability to control the situation and our weakness in it. And that is a really wonderful place to be. From there we can humble ourselves before God and allow Him to be strong in us and for us. 

He understands weakness: He came as a baby. He understands temptation: He overcame it. He understands grief and sorrow: He endured it. He understands death: He conquered it. Dwelling on the truths of who Christ is, why He came, and what He desires to accomplish in our lives, gives me hope. This life, today, has purpose, and I don’t have to be strong enough to weather the storms that come with it because “my life is hidden with Christ in God” who is strong. What a relief! That, my friends, is where we find rest.

The Gift of Joy: Savoring Christ
Nothing crushes joy like losing hope. However, just a tiny bit of hope is like a flickering light in the darkness. It illuminates our perspective and allows us to see beyond the challenges of the moment to the joy we have in Christ.

God promised His people He would come and send a triumphant Savior, and His people waited and hoped. The Old Testament is a story of deferred hope, but the New Testament continues the story and brings a promise fulfilled – Christ is born! Today, for us, that joy is that we have Christ with us as we walk in this life and as we wait in hope for His return. He is with us. My flooded home. My child with special needs. My dreams for the future. All of this, infused with the love of Christ and a promise that He is at work, brings me joy. And so I can wait with hope. And you can too.

As we wait, we can savor Christ and the simple moments of joy. My moments have looked like this: my amazing new laundry door being installed, a sweet moment snuggling one of my children, working together as a family to rebuild, a simpler Christmas, a few minutes to read my Bible…alone, a word of encouragement from a friend. What are your moments of joy?

The Gift of Love: Hope Anchored
Ultimately, the story of Christmas is a tale of God’s incomprehensible, unshakable, life-giving love for His people. There is no faith, hope, joy, or peace without God. Our stories would all end in despair without God’s plan of Redemption and His power to complete it. Jesus Christ in a manger tells us that we have hope because God’s love pierces eternity to make the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

We live in a broken world where homes flood, relationships get broken, death is inevitable, the unexpected rocks us on our heels, and we struggle. Over all of that, though, the knowledge of God’s great love for us and His plan to redeem us reach out past eternity to remind us that Christmas is more than a season, it’s a promise and an anchor for our hope: Christ.



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By Dawn Spence

If your child has ever been in special education, you have probably have heard the terms accommodations and modifications. So now that you are a homeschooling parent, what do these terms mean to you? 

Sometimes these terms have been used interchangeably but they are different. They are both used to help the learner to access learning at their own cognitive levels, while highlighting their strengths. These tools will also help you if you have group time with all learners in your homeschool or if you teach at a co-op. Understanding and using accommodations and modifications helped me write my child’s IEP and also led me to use my current curriculum to meet my daughter’s specific educational needs.

The definition of an accommodation is giving your student a different way or path to complete the task or assignment. This is how we teach our learners. This does not change the grade level or material; an accommodation just allows your student the flexibility to be successful using their strengths and at the same time addresses their weaknesses.

Accommodations generally are broken down in the following five ways:  
Time – giving more time to finish an assignment or more time to finish test
Alternative Scheduling – giving more days to finish their project
Change of Present Setting – providing a quiet place to complete assignments or tests
Change of Presentation – changing the way you present the material. You might use a video or a hands-on way instead of reading from a text.
Varying Response Method – allowing your learner to be able to complete a project instead of test or type a report instead of writing it out. Allowing for verbal responses would also fall in this category.


On the other hand, a modification is changing what we are teaching the learner and what they are responsible for learning.

Using a modification is reducing the amount of learning we are expecting our learner to be responsible for. Again we use the strengths the learner has to help them to be successful.

Modifications can be summed up in three major ways.
Presentation of Material – this would be using a special education materials or curriculums.

Adapted Materials – simplifying content and vocabulary. Instead of introducing 10 vocabulary words you would hold the learner accountable to only 2.
Grading and Testing Altered – instead of testing the whole lesson you would choose certain parts that are important for the learner to grasp.

This is the first part in a series where I will be taking different subjects and showing how to modify or accommodate lessons. If you have something you specifically would like for me to address as I write about these important topics, please post a comment.



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We all learn very quickly, that even though we may have established a routine, and are plugging along at our homeschool days, things can quickly derail us. Illness is a huge problem for many people. Illness of a child, illness of the parent, or even illness of a family member that we are responsible for can affect our schedules. We have dealt with many of these in our family, and since I’m dealing with the flu this week, I thought I would share my approach to them.

7 Tip for Homeschooling During an Illness

#1 – Keep a Balance
Do not try to be superhuman and ignore the illness! Usually our bodies are trying to tell us something when we feel bad. We need rest, we need nutrition, we need a little TLC. As caregivers, we are not always the best at taking care of ourselves, so if your body lets you know you are sick, heed the warning. The same is true for our children. Sometimes they simply need rest. 

#2 –  Allow for Rest
Prime learning does not take place when children are run down and sick. It’s easy to stay in the mindset that school has to take place every day for a certain number of hours, but it’s simply not true. Learning takes place all the time, in all good environments, but it doesn’t usually take place when the participants are sick and run down. Don’t try to muddle through and “check your boxes” for the day. You are free; allow you or your child to rest if it is needed.

#3 – Learning Happens Everywhere
Learning can happen snuggled up under a blanket on the couch. Do you know how many fabulous things my children and I have learned by turning on a kids educational program, documentary, mini-series or YouTube video? Countless! We use them all the time. If you or your child are up to it, turn on a video. Our favorites are: Sid the Science Kid, Magic School Bus, Signing Time, Rachel and the Treeschoolers, Liberty Kids, and many PBS history shows. My kids learn so much from a visual/audio learning experience.

#4 – Insert Books
If you or your child feel like it, break open the books. Read-alouds are wonderful for sick days (well, if the person reading isn’t the one who is sick). Audio books can also be used. My girls like to color or build with blocks while listening to their audiobooks.

#5 – Housework Can Take Backseat
Sometimes, you must ignore the housework completely. I’ve met a lot of homeschooling mamas that really can’t ever give themselves permission to let the housework slide. I am here to tell you…when you are ill, there is only so much energy you can exert. Sometimes, feeding the children and keeping everyone alive is all you can do!! Don’t fret! Let the kids “help” all they can and just face the housework when you are well.

#6 – Reach Out For Help
If an illness for you, your child or a loved one is extended, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. We all need to lean on others at certain times. Don’t be afraid to reach out for any help, when needed. I’ve been through some rough times with sarcoma and unexpected surgeries. One of my sweet friends set up a meal train to come every couple of days for several weeks. It was such a huge blessing. Food literally just showed up at my doorstep and I didn’t have to cook it. Sometimes asking for help with cooking, cleaning, laundry or anything can free up the time you need to keep you sane.  

#7 – Give Yourself Grace
This really has to go for every aspect of our lives. But if someone is sick, remember to give everyone grace for schooling. You are not confined to anyone else’s schedule. Sometimes the greatest lessons our children can learn are not their ABC’s or 123’s, but they are learning to care for and love each other during the best and worst of times. What you are doing while caring for them and others will not go unnoticed. They will learn to love by your example. Press on! 



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As we better understand how children with special needs, exhibit anxiety and depression differently from their typical functioning peers, the need to recognize and treat these disorders in our children increases. My prayer is that by giving you an inside view, of how I personally dealt with childhood depression, as well as being a parent of two children who struggled with depression, you will be equipped to more readily handle these issues if they appear in your home.

To find a listing of all the previous posts in this series, go to the bottom of this article for the links. And, if you are looking for a community to walk out the daily struggle of homeschooling a child with special educational needs, please take the time to like and follow our Facebook page as well as join our closed Facebook support group. You will find over 1k like-minded families who are ready to come alongside you and encourage you on your journey.

Warning “T” – Thoughts

Thoughts Cause Emotions
Did you know that 10,000 thoughts pass through the human mind each day? And, per Neil Anderson in his book Overcoming Depression, “…emotions are essentially a product of our thoughts.” Thus, it is extremely important to consider how thinking and depression are linked.

When I was at the deepest places in my own struggle with depression, I could go for hours just sitting and cycling negative thoughts without even knowing what I was doing or how those thoughts were causing me to spiral even further down into a pit of despair.

Uncovering Harmful Thinking
If you have a child who is depressed, and seems to be daydreaming, try to gently confront their thinking. Instead of snapping them out of their thoughts, and getting upset about them wasting time or not doing what they are supposed to be doing, try to gain understanding by asking them to share what they were thinking about.

By confronting your child in love at these times, you will not only uncover their dominant cyclical thinking patterns, but you will also alert them to this habit. I suggest keeping a journal to write down what your child shares with you. You will come to see the significance of these documented insights in the next section of this article.

Guiding “T” – Truth

Foundational Beliefs
We must also look back one more step to realize where our thoughts establish their footing. Beliefs are the origin of many of our feelings. Every day we hold our experiences up to the lens of what we believe. From there, we determine how we should react, think, and thus feel about these things.

Truth determined relative to our understanding of the world is what the Bible refers to as “shifting sand”. Relative truth is not absolute, and thus it provides nothing firm to place your feet on or from which to gain an accurate understanding of the world. Relative thinking places a person, and their version of reality, at the center of a universe they did not design.

Absolute truth can only be found in one place, from the One who stated, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus is Truth. He is a firm foundation. Our rock and our ever-present help in danger. In trading in relative truth for absolute truth, lies have nowhere to hide and the enemy that uses depression and cyclical untrue thoughts can no longer deceive a person into believing, and thus feeling, anything different than what God’s word says.

Battling Relativity with Absolutes
Earlier, I made the recommendation to keep a journal to track your child’s thoughts. In the light of what I have shared in this section, here is how to use that journal to help your child convert relative thinking to absolute thinking.

First, record similar thought patterns on a page. Next, to help your child confront unreal thinking, get out a concordance or go to and find passages that specifically unravel the untruths your child battles against. Finally, help your child not only to memorize the words in those passages, but to internalize the concepts they teach. Help them work through how that verse can be trusted, how God has exhibited that truth in the bible, through past experiences in your own life that you can share with your child, as well as in your child’s own life.

Over time your child will not only replace deep-seated lies with truth, but he or she will also develop a new habit of thinking on “whatever is  true…honorable…right…pure…”

Silver Lining

As I have worked through these battles in my own life, with my boys, and discussed them with other people whose children have struggled with depression, I have uncovered a very interesting commonality. It seems to be that Satan uses the tactic of depression against those who are the most spiritually receptive. Just as God speaks truth into our lives, and some have a greater sensitivity to His voice, so too can Satan use that sensitivity for his own schemes.

Spiritual sensitivity works as powerfully in the godly direction as in the ungodly. And although the enemy never meant good to come from a person’s depression, God converts a once bad habit of hearing and cycling lies into a good habit that hears and cycles truth. So be encouraged parents; the difficulties your child may be experiencing now may be the very thing He will use to help your child live and walk closer with Him.

Links to All the Blogs in this Series

The “H” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “T” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “S” Factors of Childhood Depression


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By Jan Bedell, PhD, M.ND

We all want our children to read so they can read God’s Word and get along better in the world. Much of learning comes through the ability to read. As moms, we often make it “our mission” for our children to read well. This is an admirable mission.

The Truth About Phonics
I am going to say something controversial now and get it out of the way. Are you ready? Here it is: Phonics may not be the best way for you to teach reading to a particular child. Unless foundational skills are in place, phonics will be ineffective. I know it may be a shock to hear me say that about phonics. This was quite a surprise when I first heard it as well. I had diligently been trying to teach my daughter with special needs to read with a phonics approach for five years!

Before my own attempts at this reading quest, the public and private school were also trying to teach her to read with phonics. She was a phonics dropout, but she was a phonogram champ! She knew the sounds of all 70 phonograms, even the ones like “ough” that have six sounds. Even though the sounds of the phonograms were solid, she couldn’t hold the sounds together past a three letter word to read anything! This was rather confusing, and I have to admit extremely frustrating.

I found out after my five-year, miserable struggle with phonics that she had low auditory processing. That meant she couldn’t hold the pieces (phonograms) in her short term memory long enough to put them together to get the word out. We were in an endless loop of sounding out the same word over and over until something sort of like the word came out. So, by the time she got to the end of the sentence, she had no clue about the meaning of what she read. WOW!

The Auditory Processing Disconnect
For some children, learning to read using the phonics approach is a breeze, but for others it is a huge struggle like it was for my daughter. When children have low sequential auditory processing abilities (an inability to hold a series of items in consecutive order in short-term memory), phonics doesn’t work well. Why is auditory processing so important for using phonics? Phonics is an auditory learning system, meaning the child must be able to hold all the pieces of the word and the rules together in his brain long enough to get the word out of his brain. Phonics is a fabulous way to learn to read for those with good auditory sequential processing! I love, love, love it! For those with low auditory abilities though, it can be a nightmare for parents and students alike.

When auditory processing is low and words get longer and more complicated, the child gets lost by the end of the word and starts guessing. There are also some developmental issues with the eyes that can make reading in general difficult. You can listen to Podcast #17 – Make Reading Easier for a better understanding of other developmental challenges. Number 17 at will also help you learn how to raise your child’s auditory processing abilities so he can be more successful with phonics in the future.

Some Brain Coach Tips for More Reading Success: 

  • Determine if your child is struggling with low sequential auditory processing by ordering your Free Auditory Processing Test Kit. Your child should have a strong 5 digit span and preferably working on a 6 digit span before reading with phonics is effective.
  • Do some auditory processing activities twice a day for two minutes (instructions included in your free kit). In my opinion, this would be the best investment of your homeschooling time that you will ever make! The benefits go far beyond phonics help.
  • Read to your child with him following word by word. Then have the child read the same sentence or paragraph immediately after you (Echo Reading). I know this sounds a bit like cheating and memorizing, but prepare for another shocker that you might not have realized yet: We are all sight readers! Once we know a word, we don’t sound it out again. I know that is hard to believe, but read the statement at the end of this article: Phonics vs. Sight Reading. Now tell me if you read it with phonics. 
  • Don’t let your child struggle. Tell him the words he doesn’t know or sound it out for him.
  • Have your child listen to auditory books daily and read aloud daily. At least an hour a day of listening will help develop the auditory processing.
  • Teach your child sight words while building auditory processing levels. Then work more successfully with the phonics approach when the foundation of processing is set. Find resources here. We become sight readers once we know a word, so by combining these approaches you have the best of both worlds and a happier, more successful reader.




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SPED Homeschool Team

As our kids are counting down the days to Christmas, we special needs homeschooling moms have our sights elsewhere. We’re not only looking forward to the end of the holiday season, and a return our family’s version of normal, but we’re also looking towards the goals we have for our kids.

With that in mind, the team members of SPED Homeschool have put together our own special needs homeschool mom Christmas wish list. This list is meant to be fun, but at the same time highlight the biggest goal we have for our children…godly character.

As you read through this list, and the accompanying character traits, we pray you are inspired this Christmas season to see beyond the educational goals you have for your children and also see their attitudes and actions moving them towards much more lofty goals.


12 Days of Christmas – Special Needs Homeschooling Mom Version

On the first day of Christmas, my child gave to me..a homemade angel on top our Christmas tree! (Creativity)

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

On the second day of Christmas, my child gave to me..2 completed assignments. (Determination)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

On the third day of Christmas, my child gave to me…3 chocolate candies. (Generosity)

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

On the fourth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…4 “lost” items. (Truthfulness)

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25

On the fifth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…5 sloppy kisses! (Love)

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

On the sixth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…6 prayers for my patience. (Sensitivity)

“ Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

On the seventh day of Christmas, my child gave to me…7 respectful responses. (Respectfulness)

“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:5

On the eighth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…8 sharpened pencils. (Resourcefulness)

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10

On the ninth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…9 correctly answered questions. (Wisdom)

“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15

On the tenth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…10 painted toes. (Caring)

“ For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:20-21

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my child gave to me…11 minutes of silence. (Self-Control)

“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my child gave to me…12 hours without complaining! (Contentment)

“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8


May your Christmas season be fruitful and filled with the joy of seeing your children learning and growing in their ability to walk in God’s truth and His light. – SPED Homeschool Team

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1:4


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Peggy Ployhar


Although sugar plums are mentioned in “The Night Before Christmas,” and there is a Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker Ballet, not many people are familiar with what a sugar plum really is.

Years ago, when our family did a Christmas unit study, we discovered this versatile Christmas treat.  Since then, it has been my go-to recipe for holiday gatherings and a personal healthy indulgence during the holiday season.

Here is a video my daughter Maggie and I made to take you step-by-step through the recipe.  In the video, we not only show you how simple this recipe is to make, but also how you can easily change the ingredients to work around any of your family member’s food allergies.





Allergy Friendly Sugar Plum Recipe


Equipment, Ingredients and Instructions


Food processor
2 plates


  • 2 cups base ingredient:  any variety of nut, oatmeal (gluten-free if needed), or coconut
  • 2 cups dried fruit: raisins, dates, cranberries, figs, apricots, or prunes
  • 2 teaspoons spices: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, ground anise, etc.
  • Approximately ¼ cup of a wet ingredient: honey, maple syrup, maple cream, nut butter, molasses, brown rice syrup, etc.
  • Extra chopped base ingredient, or cocoa/peanut butter powder, for coating


  • Measure 2 cups of your base ingredient (or mix of base ingredients) into the food processor and chop to a fine meal.
  • Measure 2 cups of your dried fruit choice (or mix of dried fruit choices) into the food processor, with the base, and chop again until the fruit is minced.
  • Measure in 2 teaspoons of spices into the mixture in the food processor, and chop to distribute.
  • Slowly add the wet ingredient into the mixture in the food processor until it forms a ball.
  • Dump the mixture out on one plate and place your desired coating on another plate
  • Roll the mixture into gumball-sized balls
  • Finish by rolling the ball in the coating


Extra Recipe Tips

  • Keep a wet towel nearby to clean off sticky hands
  • Store finished sugar plums in the refrigerator




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Would you consider a small donation to support the ongoing work of SPED Homeschool?

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