by Kellie Turner, SPED Homeschool Community Member


On May 20th of this year, my baby girl graduated! To say that this is a miracle is a definite understatement. My girl, who I lovingly call Bean, was diagnosed with level 2 autism at age 11. She also has multiple learning differences, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, executive function disorder, and severe sensory processing challenges. A traditional school setting was not an option for her. She attended our church’s day school for a short time, but it did not go well.


We took some time off after her diagnosis to unschool for a bit. She was in 2nd grade. We focused on her therapies to settle her ramped up nervous system. We had an amazing occupational therapist who we grew to love, and she gave us amazing tools to help our girl settle into a good sensory diet. Our journey started with us mostly going to the library, the park, and our local math and science centers. We also did nature studies and watched a lot of PBS.


Over our homeschooling years, we used much trial and error to figure out what worked for her as far as curriculum. Some worked great, and some did not. Our style was eclectic. We learned we could not use an all-in-one or box type of curriculum, because our girl was on various levels in various subjects. We also felt it was important to keep her therapies up and homeschooling made that easier, as I incorporated it as part of her school day.


We really tried to focus on providing a well-rounded education for both of our girls. Bean took part in the agriculture program called 4-H for many years. She raised and showed rabbits, which was an activity she loved very much. She also took piano lessons, was on the special olympics swim team, and was blessed to be a part of Challenger baseball, a division of Little League baseball that is geared for children with disabilities and provides buddies from the local high schools and universities to encourage the kids during the game. It is truly an amazing organization. 


We are now transitioning our young lady to adult services. This chapter is very hard to navigate. Bean will be on different waivers through our local service providers. We are also trying to navigate the social security system, which is difficult. Fortunately, there are several amazing local agencies helping us with the process. Lord willing, I will ‌use things I have learned to help others assist their kiddos as they stretch their wings and slowly fly from the nest. 


What does a momma do when her work as home educator is complete? Well, I am still trying to figure that out. I was so blessed to have amazing resources available to me over my years of homeschooling. Because of this, I felt led to open a special needs homeschool library at my church. It will be a resource to other parents and guardians that need a little extra help with their unique kiddos. I hope to have workshops and bring in speakers that can help guide these folks on their homeschool journey. We plan to have monthly meet ups to talk about different topics and have fellowship.


I feel privileged and blessed to have homeschooled both of my children. We did so many amazing and fun things over the years that I don’t feel we would have been able to do if our kids were in a traditional school setting. This summer the plan is to rest our brains, and for the first time not plan our fall semester. Most likely I will feel nostalgic when all the cool school supplies show up on the store shelves. I would be lying if I told you ‌I probably will not be buying anything. We all need pens and sticky notes, am I right?


I look forward to the opportunities that the Lord has for me as I move into a new season in life. I pray that the knowledge I gleaned from helping my girl navigate a very challenging path in her life can be used to help others.




“The Bean’s” Momma



My name is Kellie Turner. I live in far Western Colorado with my pastor husband of 2 plus decades, my daughter Bailey lovingly known as the “Bean”, 10 chickens, 3 rabbits, a Guinea Pig and an old farm dog named Rusty. My oldest daughter just completed her freshman year at Pensacola Christian College. 

When I’m not homeschooling, I love to garden, read, and knit. I also enjoy doing Pilates. I have taught CPR and First Aid for 23 years and especially love teaching homeschoolers.

You can find me on Facebook at {Western Colorado Special Needs Homeschoolers} or my blog:

Adventures in life,love and autism

If you want to email me, my address is 




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By Ali Sanders, SPED Homeschool Community Member


Mistake #1 – Compared myself to other homeschoolers 

This never ends well. Sure, there might be the rare occasion that you find out your child is further ahead in math, but more likely, you will think about all the things your family isn’t doing that others are doing. The problem is there are ample opportunities for comparison, especially if you are on social media. This becomes even more problematic when you have teenagers and the stakes are higher – who got into what college or who had 60 hours of dual credit and a 4.0 when they graduated. For parents of special needs kids, this is even more insidious. The jealousy that creeps in from comparison can steal the joy of your child finally being about to button their clothes themselves or tie their shoes. Their big accomplishment might be getting a part-time job, but we should celebrate it just as much as another child’s volleyball scholarship. It is impossible to do all the things: karate, violin, soccer, track, theater, volunteering, etc, let alone do them well. In fact, some children may not be able to handle much beyond one extra activity and the part-time job may count as that. Which brings me to number two.


Mistake #2 – Over-scheduled our time 

Do you know what happens when you over-schedule one of my sons? Complete and utter meltdown. I didn’t do well with it either. He was already worrying about the afternoon soon after he woke up in the morning, and it affected our school days at home. Some kids thrive on being out of the house every day of the week, but in my experience, my special kids thrive when they have one specific activity they love. It might be more than one day a week, but it must be regular and predictable. They love regular and predictable. Often they would be happy to just stay in their rooms for hours on end. There, they can focus easier, or their anxiety is quieted. However, too much of that can lead to the next problem.


Mistake #3 – Let things become too stagnant 

It is lovely when things feel “comfortable”, but it is dangerous too. Sometimes that turns into laziness, and we might not be challenging ourselves or our kids anymore. As much as they need routine and predictability, they also need challenges and flexibility. That may be with academics that we are being too easy with or it may be with not pushing them out of their comfort zones. One of my kids loves theater and loves being the center of attention. She wanted to do a drama class once a week. It was an easygoing drama group, so I pushed my son to go with her. He complained often, but it turned out to be one of the best things for him. I watched a few times and got nervous every time they did improv exercises or warm-ups, but he got comfortable with it and actually enjoyed it. They ended up doing it for two years and he performed on the stage twice with lines and songs and everything! I never would have imagined that happening before. This goes along with number four.


Mistake #4 – Stick with something for too long 

Everybody will do this at some point. Years later, they will still mentally hit themselves for not quitting that sport or co-op sooner, for not noticing the emotional toll it had on their kids. It took me years, too many years, to learn how to be okay with ripping pages out of the curriculum and NOT checking every box. I had to learn that I was not a failure because we quit a very rigorous classical co-op that was not a good fit for some of my kids. Nothing is one size fits all. With kids on every end of the spectrum, it makes it particularly tricky finding things ‌we can do together, but not impossible. We have been at our current co-op for the last four years, and it has a pleasant mix of eclectic and academic. We also do cross-country together. The season is short. We can run together. It is not a hyper competitive team sport or an activity with judging, so it feels easy going. Most of all, it teaches them perseverance.


Mistake #5 – Had a panic attack about homeschooling 

Sometimes the responsibility of being the teacher, principal, guidance counselor and parent bears down on us with the weight of a thousand suns. For me, that day came when my oldest at 16 decided ongoing to a very competitive college. I am a lifelong homeschooler, but suddenly, I realized ‌it would be all my fault if he couldn’t get into college. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. Of course, that wasn’t totally true, but it was all I could feel in that moment. The good news is that after many weeks of prayer and heavy research on “how to get your homeschooler into college”, we figured out how to pick the right courses and path to get him what he needed on a transcript. And thankfully, he is now in college (though I think he should get all the credit for that). The thing to remember is that it is impossible to teach your kids everything. There will be gaps. There may be things they know ‌other kids don’t and vice versa. Work on their weaknesses, but remember what the big picture is. What are your primary goals with homeschooling? What is your focus as they grow into adults? I would guess it’s not just academics. Maybe it is character, relationships, building confidence, etc. Make a list and keep it nearby. When things get too heavy, look at your list of reasons, and take a deep breath.


About Ali:

We have five kids age 10 to 20 years old, two of which joined our family through adoption. Some of the differences in our kids include autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and vision impairment. I am so grateful to live in Texas and get to home school my kids, and some of my favorite things are books, animals, dark chocolate, and the color green. 




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by Lindsay Kronmiller, SPED Homeschool Community Member


As a mom of kids who learn differently, there have been moments I can look back on and pinpoint them as “Aha! moments”. Moments where I figured out what I was doing wrong and what my kids needed. Moments where all the struggle and wrestles finally made sense. Moments that now connect me with my kids on a deeper level. Moments where I look back and wish I trusted my instincts just a little sooner as the difficult days/weeks/months that led to these revelations were just plain hard.


Raising kids is a challenge. Raising kids who think and act outside the norm can be daunting. There are so many opinions, both professional and not. Many ways of doing things and most people are more than willing and ready to let you know what they would do and how you should do it. What I learned in all my Aha! moments were that they didn’t know my specific kids or my specific situation. While they had plenty of knowledge and even personal experience, only I knew my kids on the deepest level and that my instincts were right most of the time. Plenty of people have helped along the way, and I am so grateful for them, but trusting that I was made for and given these kids to care for was much harder for me.


My top three Aha! moments:


Aha! Moment #1—Beginning our 4th reading curriculum

After going through several reading programs, my daughter who was speaking full sentences by 2, just wasn’t understanding reading. She was frustrated and not happy, and I was just as frustrated and unhappy. This is the point where I decided to look for answers that didn’t involve finding the “magic curriculum”. I knew nothing about dyslexia or dysgraphia, but I started my research and dug around the rabbit hole. I knew she was smart, and that what we were doing wasn’t working. I knew there was a better way for her and for us, so we began the evaluation process. I very much debated going through this process: It’s expensive. What will the “Label” do to her self-esteem? How will this help me teach her or will they just tell me an expert needs to be her teacher?


First, my daughter loved the testing. She had so much fun with the educational psychologist answering all the questions on the intelligence portion of the testing. Second, it gave me concrete answers to what her strengths were and the specific things she needed to learn in order to read. I had papers to go back to and remind myself of everything she excels at. I can also work specifically on things she struggles with. It has been so much easier to teach her and learn with her now that I know all the details. And she is much happier knowing that her brain is unique, and she has so many strengths because of this. I wish I had trusted the instinct to find out why before we got to curriculum number four. 


Aha Moment #2—Taking a break from our phonics program when everyone said not to

All the dyslexia experts and researchers tell you not to take a break, and to just keep going. Those kids who have dyslexia need systematic and repetitive learning in order to ‌read. So when we started our Orton Gillingham curriculum, we just kept going. 4 days a week. We just did our lessons. I was afraid to take a break because “they” said it was bad. However, we were tired and my daughter was definitely tired, so we took a break. And the next week was so much better. 


We now build breaks in for my daughter. We don’t just keep going; we stop and let her brain soak it all in. These breaks have worked wonders, in her reading ability, but also in how much she loves to learn and read and that it’s no longer something she dreads trying.


Aha! Moment #3—Getting a brain scan AND an official ASD diagnosis

My daughter’s neurodiversity was a given. We had already done the dyslexia and dysgraphia evaluations and were learning all we could about how her brain works. There were still many frustrations on both of our parts. I had suspected ASD for a while, but info on girls is so scarce and getting someone who was willing to evaluate felt like climbing a mountain. Then one week as I was contemplating how and why and if I should, several articles or posts by friends were sent to me. Every single one of them explained why they got diagnosed and the benefits of knowing why their brains worked the way they did. 


In my gut, I knew ‌she was on the spectrum and a diagnosis would help her understand herself more. I just needed to trust that and pursue the diagnosis. No one wanted to help. They all said she couldn’t possibly be as she didn’t fit the stereotypical profile. But I had to do something so she would understand there was nothing wrong with her and I would better be able to understand her and help her thrive. 


It was so helpful to get the diagnosis. The brain scan also confirmed everything I had felt was real, but either couldn’t articulate or communicate to her or everyone else. It took years for this to happen, but it has been life giving for my relationship with her and her own self-confidence. 


These moments and trials have brought us closer together, have made learning together more joyful, and given us a chance to relax into doing the things that work best for us. There is still plenty to learn and there are plenty of hard days, but each of these past moments reminds me ‌we are learning and growing. That God is showing me the way, one step at a time, and I can trust the instincts and revelations He is giving me. 


Lindsay Kronmiller is a homeschool mama of two elementary aged, neurodiverse kids from El Paso Texas. On top of homeschooling her kids, she works as a graphic designer, and volunteers with the local homeschool association to help others as they begin their home education journeys.




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by Ashley Lindsey, SPED Homeschool Community Member


A new homeschool year was about to begin and my youngest, Landon, was about to start his kindergarten year. I enthusiastically prepared for this upcoming milestone by gathering all necessary components for a successful year: file folder games, arts and crafts projects, literature selections, the cutest most colorful math workbook, and the cornerstone of it all- the reading program that helped my oldest son blossom into a brilliant reader. We were set for our family’s learning adventure.


The year started out as expected. We colored our ABCs, snuggled and read, did more art projects than our refrigerator doors could hold, made erupting volcanoes, and explored forests. After learning to count to 100, Landon wanted to move on to count higher. He even started fractions and beginning multiplication sequences, thanks Odd Squad! The year was taking off better than I had ever hoped, and Landon was excelling at school. It was time to take out that magical reading curriculum- the one everyone on social media raved about- the one that turned my oldest son into a super-reader.  


“Mommy, the words are moving,” Landon informed me.

“Ashley, this is completely normal, especially for boys. Just put the reading program down for a few months and let him play,” a well-respected veteran homeschool mom of eight children told me. 


We continued our joy-filled school year. The boys had a solid four months of learning and playing before I broke out the trusty reading program again. Surely, Landon will have had enough time to just “be a boy,” so reading will come to him now. Our break was not as successful as I had hoped. He could not even string CVC words together. It was like watching gymnasts do somersaults. I consulted the curriculum company, who advised me to put the material down until next year.


Once second grade hit, words were still flipping upside down for my son. My husband and I had him evaluated at the local school district. Finally, I will get a name for this mysterious condition and they can help him, or teach me how to help him. Landon went through the long hours of testing, exhausted and sad when he got home. A few weeks later the school district called me and explained that Landon has classic symptoms of dyslexia, however, since we have not worked on spelling yet, they could not give him a diagnosis and treat him. I explained to the diagnostician that our Orton-Gillingham reading curriculum specifically tells parents not to start the first level of spelling without completing the first level of reading first. She looked at me like I had two heads. 


I was a mom on a mission to find help for my son. Since the school district wasn’t an option, I reached out to several people who claimed to help dyslexics. 


“Oh yes, we are the best, and yes, Mrs. Lindsey, your son sounds like he has dyslexia. However, we are full and have no room for him. Please try back next year.”

When Landon started seeing black holes in the road while riding in the car, I got his vision checked. For sure, the optometrist will be able to tell me something. This is our pediatrician’s wife- she must be the best. 

“Mrs. Lindsey, your son has 20/20 vision. I checked his retinas and they look perfectly healthy. I am sorry I can’t help you. “


Completely deflated, I consulted social media groups. After all, I couldn’t have been the only desperate homeschool parent out there. My inquiry received many suggestions from empathetic parents. I took some of their advice: switched reading curriculum, tried colored overlays, used all the gadgets and books suggested, and most ridiculously, turned subtitles on his TV shows. Most of these efforts were unsuccessful, however Landon told me how much the TV subtitles were helping his reading. I noticed an improvement in his reading accuracy and fluency, but there was still more work to do. 


It was time to reevaluate my approach in homeschooling Landon.  My husband and I contemplated public school, but my husband quickly reminded me of the IEP meetings I sat through begging for services for my autistic students only to be refused. Landon would just fall through the cracks like most of my students did. That summer I took inventory of Landon’s strengths and created an individualized educational program where he could blossom and thrive. I had to unlearn most of my formal teacher training, I had to break down the walls of my educational platform built on checklists, essays, straight A’s, completing every workbook page, and every other facet of my perfectionistic self. I had to let go and let Landon lead the way. Not only did he soar in life and his education, but I also was able to relax and shed some of that tight skin held by false expectations. 


Over the years, other specialists who were happy to slap as many labels on him as we could afford has seen Landon.


We are a single income family so that well dried up quickly. When I was studying the Book of Proverbs and came upon Proverbs 16, the Lord gave me the gift of confidence and steadfast. Verse 16:9 says,


“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”.

I was trying to do God’s work all along but He already did the work, and perfectly so. I still have concerns about my son, but as time passes, my fears are replaced with awe. This child has flourished into an empathetic, fun child adorned with the love of God and a glowing confidence. His smile is contagious, and his humble confidence is admirable. He is a pro at basketball, has built his own gaming PC, is a walking encyclopedia of fun facts, and enjoys good books. I encourage weary parents to peel off those labels and take a holistic inventory of your child, including personality, talents, and gifts. We cannot ignore learning weaknesses, but we can learn how to teach our children to adapt with the plethora of resources available today. Home education can still be fun, exciting, and adventurous, no matter what the needs of your students are. Form an alliance with your child and, with patience, creativity, and insight, you will both be amazed.


Ashley Lindsey lives in Missouri with her husband and two teenage boys. When they lived in Texas, Ashley was a Special Education teacher. Once her oldest son started kindergarten, the family pulled him out and began their homeschool journey. Ashley has developed an educational approach for both of her children, meeting their individual needs and interests. The extra-abilities she specializes in are autism, Type 1 diabetes, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, processing disorders, visual impairment, gifted, and twice-exceptional. She believes everyone possesses unique abilities, and her goal is to build an educational platform based on those gifts while still challenging any weaknesses. 

If you would like to correspond with Ashley, her email is




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