By Heather Walton from A+ Education Solutions


The search for the right curriculum can be overwhelming, given the sheer amount of choices available. Not only are there various vendors, but there are also many philosophical and methodological differences. If you’re like me, you might feel pressured to find the perfect curriculum; you may even worry that your children’s entire education is contingent on your quest. I have some refreshing news for you. There is no perfect curriculum, nor ideal method, for homeschooling your children, apart from that which is laid out in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

According to this model, we are to diligently teach our children to love God, obey His commands, serve their fellow man, and pass this knowledge to the next generation. That is the content we are to teach. The curriculum, delivery method, is life itself. Parents are commanded to disciple the next generation “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV). With that in mind, here are some tips for crafting your family’s curriculum:

  1. Foster relationships: The Biblical model laid out in Deuteronomy 6 and practiced by Jesus during His ministry clearly demonstrated relational discipleship. Generations passed God’s Word through conversations and everyday life. Until recently, people were present with one another, engaging in conversation and going deep into relatively few relationships. Discipleship happens best through proximity, conversation, and example.
  2. Academics are only part of your children’s education: God created humans as His image bearers; as such, we are multifaceted beings with various talents and intelligences. Our culture emphasizes academic and athletic intelligence, to the point of excluding: pursuits in trades, arts, and the hospitality business. We tend to neglect life skills and self-sufficiency tasks, instead raising students equipped for college but not for life, and possibly not for eternity.
  3. Worldview matters: My top goal, aside from raising children who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is that they embrace a Biblical worldview. I spend more time and energy on this than any other facet of their education. We begin our day with my husband leading us in prayer and Scripture reading. Then I read from a text or two that emphasizes Biblical character. We also read aloud and discuss material written by Biblically-minded writers. When it comes to selecting curriculum, this is my number one prerequisite. I choose well-written real books over traditional textbooks whenever practical, because they are generally more interesting and provide higher quality learning. There are excellent homeschool texts, written from subject-matter experts that combine a textbook format with the narrative quality of a novel. Biblical worldview needs to be presented with the utmost respect and highest quality.
  4. Curriculum is your servant, not your master: Many people stress about finishing the curriculum. Others use the curriculum even if it clearly doesn’t suit the child. I know from experience that professional educators rarely finish books, and when they do, they often haven’t gone into enough depth to have thoroughly taught the material. If you give the curriculum a fair chance and you aren’t satisfied with the results, or it’s like pulling teeth daily to get your student to complete it, I urge you to prayerfully consider switching, or taking a break and coming back to it once your student gains more maturity or ability. 
  5. Not every method or curriculum suits every family: Just because an educational method or curriculum works great for a friend or has a compelling presentation at a conference, doesn’t mean it will be perfect for your family. Even if it worked for one child in the family, that doesn’t guarantee success with their siblings. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to tailor your children’s education to their needs and to your family’s needs. Don’t feel boxed in by other’s appraisals. Study your children, and do what works for your family situation without feeling pressured to conform to someone else’s standards.
  6. Aim your arrows toward the right target: Each child is uniquely created with his own talents, abilities, and challenges. If your child shines in an area, allow them the latitude to pursue that interest more intently than others, even if it’s not academic. If your child needs extra focus in an area, you may need to remediate that area and let others go for a season. It’s a mistake to try to focus on everything at once. Our gracious God doesn’t do that with us, and we need to allow our children the same grace.

Ultimately, I want to equip my children for life and eternity. I used to pour over curriculum catalogs and research my choices. After 8 years of professionally educating and 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve realized that I’m not going to cover everything I’d like to, and I’m not going to choose the “best” curriculum all the time. If I diligently disciple my children to love God, follow his commands, and love their fellow man, I will have reached the goals the Lord set for parents in educating their children.


Heather Walton lives in Taylorsville, Kentucky, where she and her husband homeschool four children and she operates A+ Education Solutions, LLC, through which she performs educational assessment, consulting, and tutoring services in person or online. You can follow her at






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 by Susan Leckband from Help Elevate Learning Processing


A great many homeschool parents come to our facility with these questions, “Why doesn’t my kid remember this? We went over this yesterday, and he had it and now it is like he never saw or heard it before. Am I not a good teacher?”  


I had the same questions. Why did my bright boy not retain things? How did 5 + 4 not relate to 4 + 5? Why was spelling so difficult? If he just read the word dog, why didn’t he recognize it when it was surrounded by different words in a new sentence?  


After having my son’s information processing evaluated, I found out that my son had extremely low visual and auditory processing. That explained why I could tell him the same thing over and over, but he just did not retain it and why he had so much trouble retaining and recalling visual information. I finally understood why reading and writing were extremely difficult and frustrating and why those tricky, timed math facts tests were all but impossible to master. I discovered he was a very kinesthetic learner. If we got his hands involved, things stuck. We learned how to develop the immature areas of processing and I learned how to teach him things more kinesthetically. Shaving cream on the counter or wet sand became surfaces to practice writing and spelling. Jumping rope became a way to learn to skip count. 


Many students who struggle with auditory processing but do well visually benefit from a curriculum that is more written, picture and diagram based, rather than lecture based. A primarily auditory learner who has low visual processing might learn with audio books rather than getting frustrated by reading the same passage with dismal results. 


 A child who has trouble with temporal-spatial concepts may have trouble with place values, understanding time and calendars. Their handwriting and math may be messy, unorganized, and hard to read. Every parent who has tried to teach their child to keep nice, neat columns in multiplication or division knows how frustrating math can be for the child whose columns wander around like snakes.  


Most of the students we see tend to be very right-brained, creative, non-linear thinkers. Their creativity is astounding! However, this creative right-side often has trouble showing their work and may solve a math puzzle several different ways in their head. They have a challenging time showing their work because of the unique way they figured it out each time. Sometimes manipulatives and a more visual, hands-on approach can allow the student to understand the more left-brain concepts of place values in math, time, and space, as well as correct auditory and visual sequencing. 


Finding out whether taking notes benefits or impedes your child is also an important thing to determine. Some students with auditory challenges are focusing so hard on writing down what they have heard that they lose all of what is currently being said. Likewise, students with visual processing challenges may struggle with taking notes from visual presentations and reading because they cannot retain what they are trying to remember to write down. Looking back and forth from the visually presented material to their notes can be exhausting.


There are three very individual aspects of both auditory and visual processing that are important. The first is understanding. Is your child able to correctly understand presented auditory and visual information? Second is sequencing. Can they keep what they have seen or heard in order? Third, can they remember what has been said or seen? Often, someone may remember an incorrect version of what was presented much like a saved corrupt file in your computer. This, of course, can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings and discord. What may seem like inattention or lack of attention to detail can be due to an underlying, but correctable processing weakness.   


While having several types of curricula may not seem to not be a logical thing as a homeschool teacher, understanding that a one size does not fit all approach will aid you in providing the best way to communicate concepts and ideas to your diverse learning style children. Flexibility and patience are key in developing lesson plans for a child with a less conventional learning style. Do not be afraid to try something new. Be intuitive. You probably know by now what does not work for a particular child, so mix it up. Add music, manipulatives, and movement for the kinesthetic learner. Add colored pencils, pens, and pictures for the visual learner. Use interesting accents, rhymes, and poems to tickle the auditory learner’s interest. Make learning interesting and fun! Try not to project any disappointment or make the child feel he is not measuring up. Children really want to please their parents and their perception, accurate or not, of whether they are disappointing you can hinder their learning and growth. 


Determining and understanding how EACH of your children learns will make picking out curriculum for and teaching to that child’s strengths so much easier and less frustrating for everyone. A curriculum that focuses on auditory lessons could be disastrous for a non-auditory learner. A visual based curriculum could make a non-visual learner feel unsuccessful and harm their self-esteem. Your children may each have different learning strengths and learning what they are, getting a supportive curriculum for each child and teaching to their individual learning style will provide each child with a more positive, successful, and less stressful homeschool experience. That will make your job as their teacher more enjoyable and fulfilling. 


About the author: Susan Leckband is the Executive Director of Help Elevate Learning Processing and has been with HELP for nearly 20 years.  




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 by Jen Dodrill from History at Home


For some people, homeschooling is synonymous with being unsocial or even antisocial. We as a collective of homeschoolers don’t know why. We know our kids are socialized. At least we try to make that happen, but what if your child has social or sensory needs and you feel like socialization isn’t happening?

In this post, I want to look at what socialization is and offer some tips for socialization for kids with social and sensory needs.

My personal experience – I’ve learned so much from my granddaughter about sensory needs. She is in therapy to learn how to adapt, and my daughter passes on what they’ve learned so that we all can work with her. Anything we can do to help my granddaughter is what we will do!

Let’s start with defining socialization.


What exactly is socialization?

In a paper on Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization, the author says – “What makes this question so puzzling is that different people mean different things by the word socialization. Some people mean social activity…. Others mean social influence…. And some mean social exposure…. but socialization can be more accurately defined as “the process whereby people acquire the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes that equip a person to function effectively as a member of a particular society” (Durkin, 1995b, p. 614).”

I will not put down people that have their own ideas of what socialization is and how to achieve it, but I want to point out that the above definition is not restricted by place, time, or age. 

Socialization is truly less about activity or influence and more about equipping our children to function in their world.

Keep that in mind!


Direct and indirect socialization 

When our kids are small, they play alongside each other or in the same room. This is a form of indirect socialization. All children do this, but as they get older, they typically start interacting directly with their playmates.

For kids with social or sensory needs and disorders, indirect socialization is all they want, and it can be very helpful. However, if your child has social or sensory issues, you know that direct socialization can be difficult. For some it is doable with lots of cues and repetition, but for some kids it is almost crippling.

In the article 5 Tips for Homeschooling Your Child with ASD, the author says we still need to provide ways for our struggling kids to socialize – or interact – with others. Some ways they have listed include:

  • Homeschool co-op
  • Homeschool class at the zoo, museum library, etc.
  • Playing a sport, gymnastics, ballet
  • Music/choir lessons
  • VBS or other church activities

You know your child, and you either know how much to push or you’re learning! It may be a constant, on-going process. That’s okay, we are all learning.


Tips for socialization for kids with social and sensory needs 

Too many people can be overwhelming for many kids, and adults. Loud noises, too many lights, it adds up to overstimulation and it can happen fast! Once they’re over stimulated it’s hard to get them regulated and they might shut down or meltdown.

Some socialization tips for our kids:

  • Safe spot and person – Identify a safe spot or person for your child to go to if they’re becoming overwhelmed – my daughter always does this. Even early on, before we knew there was an issue, we did this.
  • Knowing someone there – It’s hard being the “new” kid, so knowing someone at the place or event can help lower anxiety.
  • Just being around others but not necessarily interacting – A baby step towards more direct interaction.
  • Library story times or other small groups are usually easier.
  • One person talking – This can cut down on overstimulation.
  • Give choices – Help your child to identify when they can make a choice and then offer it. You will learn if you need to push a little or a little more. For example, my granddaughter sometimes wants to order at a restaurant, but not always. She knows she has a choice.
  • Split birthday parties – Have one for friends and one for family. Holding it outside is a great idea, and even here you can assign a safe place and person.
  • Consider a lower-key holiday celebration. I have 5 kids (all grown), plus their spouses/significant others and children.  Our celebrations are always loud and busy. This can be super hard on my granddaughter, and even a couple of my kids. Be mindful of this and accommodate as you can.


Wrapping it up

What other people think about socialization is their business. We must equip our children to function in the world in the best way we can, while meeting their needs.

It can seem like a lot of work to teach our kids with social and sensory needs to socialize. And it is. But keep doing it! You’re learning right alongside your child.

Ask for help, look up other tips and ideas to do the best for your child. And keep in mind what your goals are for your child. No one else can define that for you. It might be helpful to seek help from someone who specializes in the sensory area, ABA or OT,  to help you define those goals and figure out exactly how to reach them.

You have a choice in how you make socialization happen!


Jen Dodrill has been married for 35 years, is a proud mom to 5 kids, and she homeschooled the three youngest. The “baby” graduated in May 2020, but Jen refuses to bow to empty-nest syndrome! She teaches Oral Communication as an adjunct instructor and writes curriculum under  History at Home at TeachersPayTeachers and  Boom Learning. When she’s not working, she is spending time with her kids and, adorable, granddaughters. Connect with her on her blog – Jen Dodrill History at Home , Instagram, Facebook, and her favorite place – Pinterest!






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By Dawn Spence and Amy Vickrey


It is that time of the year when the whole world starts reflecting on resolutions and making new goals for their year. As the world is evaluating what is working and what needs to change, homeschooling parents are no different. Most of us take a break during the Christmas holidays, so January is a great time for a reset. The following areas are places to start when setting new goals for the year. 



If your curriculum is not working or needs a tweak, now is a good time to make that happen. Sometimes the curriculum that we choose does not work for our child as expected. This is where you give yourself permission to make the change. Take some time to research or adapt what you have. Change can be helpful and can open the door to further success.


Some questions to ask:

  • What works just as it is?
  • What would work better if I made a slight change?
  • What is not working at all?
  • What used to work, but maybe isn’t fitting our needs at this time?
  • Is there a better way to approach this subject to meet my child’s needs?




Sometimes it is not what we are doing, but more of a timing issue that needs a change. Figuring out what works best for your child can help. Some students do better at night or at a later start. Find out what works best for your schooling. As the years have passed by, I know my schooling has changed as my children have gotten older. 


Some questions to ask:

  • What time does my child learn most efficiently?
  • Does my child need time before or after schoolwork to relax, focus, or prepare for schoolwork?
  • Does my child need breaks during the day?
  • What type of reminders or schedule work best for my child (visual schedule, checklist with words, picture checklist, timer, first-then, work-work-work-break style chart)?
  • What kind of activities do I need to schedule first, next, last (more active vs. more quiet activities first or last)?
  • Do I need time to gather materials or plan for the day before beginning activities with my child?
  • What “set” activities do we have in our schedule, such as therapy, co-ops, or other outside activities?




I know that the method in which I homeschool has changed over the years and sometimes I have to adapt my lessons midstream to help make my children successful. If your current method is not working, there are so many ways to homeschool. Road schooling, gameschooling, on the go schooling, student-led and unit studies are just some of the diverse ways to homeschool. If your kids are struggling or maybe you are the teacher, it is a great time to change things up and try something new.


Some questions to ask:

  • What kind of activities help my child to learn best, and remember the information later on?
  • What kind of activities do you enjoy engaging in with your child?
  • Do you have time to prepare materials yourself or need an open-and-go curriculum to help you be successful?
  • What do I like about different activities or styles of learning that I have heard about?
  • What do I not like about different activities or styles of learning that I have heard about?
  • Are there activities or subjects that you would prefer to outsource through online learning, classes, co-op classes, private tutors, or other resources?




Having a reliable and informative and trustworthy community is an essential part of homeschooling. Maybe this is the area that you need more support in. If you need a co-op, search it out. If you need a support group, find one in your area or online that can provide like-minded support. Homeschooling can be isolating, especially in these present times, but add on homeschooling a child with special needs makes having a supportive community a necessity.  


Some questions to ask:

  • What kind of support are you looking for?
  • Are you looking for in person or online support?
  • What kind of environment do you and/or your child do best in?
  • If looking for an in-person or live online community, what kind of environment do you and/or your child do best with?
  • Are you looking for play opportunities and extracurricular activities or academic communities?
  • How long can my child be engaged in activities successfully in these outside environments?



As you reflect on what to change, I also encourage you to reflect on all the things that are going well and celebrate those victories. Changes can be good for everyone involved and can lead to better outcomes.


Dawn Spence is the SPED Homeschool Teaching Manager and a stay at home mom who homeschools her three children, including her twin daughters with learning disabilities. She is a teacher by heart and loves to inspire others to find their inner teacher.

Amy Vickrey is the SPED Homeschool Training Manager who knows special education inside and out from her extensive work as a classroom teacher before homeschooling and through her master’s degree work in both special education and learning diagnostics. She now homeschools her two sons as well as runs a homeschool business that offers special needs testing, homeschool classes and consulting at Exceptional Heights Education Services






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