By Charlene Notgrass, from Notgrass History, SPED Homeschool Curriculum Partner

 

God usually gives us one child at a time, with each new baby coming into a family made up of varying ages. Sometimes God gives parents twins, and I even know a couple who had quadruplets. Still, in most families, each person is a different age. Even when children share the same birthday, they don’t share the same skill levels in every area at every stage.

 

One joy of homeschooling is that children in a family can learn together sometimes and receive individual instruction at other times. I cherish the memories of our family learning together. Sometimes that happened when we were reading aloud or while taking a daylong field trip or a weeklong vacation. Sometimes we learned together while putting on a play, making a craft, taking an art class, teaching a Bible class, or eating a meal from a certain region of America or the world. 

 

Homeschooling was once a burden for me, but it became a joy when I learned to relax and homeschool from the perspective of who we were, as a family. No longer were lessons a chore. Instead, these lessons became a way for us to share life together. We even decided as a family to create materials to combine subjects, teach multiple levels, and instruct the hearts, souls, and minds of our children.

 

The result of our planning eventually became a curriculum that is now loved by many homeschooling families, Notgrass History. The curriculum we ended up creating provides narrative lessons and activities. These activities include primary sources and literature, arts and crafts projects, review material, tests, family activities, and writing prompts. We never wanted these activities to be burdensome but instead to be a tool parents could use for instruction based on what they knew about how their family best learned together. 

 

For example, our book From Adam to Us is our world history course for children in grades 5-8. We have heard that some parents include children in these lessons who are younger than 5, while others have used it with their high school students. Some families complete the course in a year, while others spread the lessons out over a longer period. The reason I state these things is that when teaching multiple levels of students and those with learning differences, it is beneficial to have a curriculum that can flex with your family’s and student’s needs.

 

We chose stories that encouraged our family’s Christian faith, plus we included additional learning items like historical documents, maps, timelines, vocabulary, creative writing ideas, and hands-on activities that we could use together to interact around, and dig deeper into, specific content as a family.

 

You too can make homeschool less complicated and educationally richer by learning together as a family. This creates a less stressful, more engaging, and more memorable year. In fact, many parents find their children thrive when most of their school year centers around one central theme.

 

God created families. He entrusts precious children whom He loves deeply into the care of their parents and trusts those parents to do a good job. You can trust His judgment in making you your children’s parent and that learning together will enhance your homeschooling experience and family bonds..

 

Are you interested in finding out more about the From Adam to Us Notgrass Curriculum? Use this link to see how this curriculum works in a typical homeschool setting.

 

You can also see the SPED Homeschool Review Crew video review of From Adam to Us here .

 

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, SPED Homeschool earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have vetted this organization, and recommend them because they are a helpful and useful resources for special education homeschooling families, and not because of the small commissions we would make if you decide to buy something through an affiliate link. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve the educational goals you have for your homeschooled student.

 

 

 

 


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 By Jan Bedell, Ph.D., Master NeuroDevelopmentalist, SPED Homeschool Board Member, Curriculum PartnerConsultant Partner, and Therapy Partner 

 

Dyslexia is a malady that has perplexed parents, educators, and those diagnosed with it for years. Children think they are “not very smart” because they can’t read as well as their peers. Parents wonder if their child is even trying because they know they are smart. Educators have a classroom full of students and are unsure of how to help the child that is obviously bright but struggling to keep up with academic demands.

 

If you are looking for help for dyslexia in an internet search, you often find descriptions like these:

 

  1. One website gave this statistic:
  • Approximately 15% of people have dyslexia. 
  • This equates to over 30 million adults in the United States, about 6 million in the United Kingdom, and 3 million in Canada. Most don’t know they are dyslexic! 

 

  1. Mayo Clinic states: “Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding)…”

 

  1. Yale University suggests: “In fact, dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader…”

 

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says, “Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding.”

 

A Bit of Dyslexia History

The individual that first identified dyslexia, Samuel Orton, had a much broader list of symptoms for people with this condition. He said they have some or a combination of these characteristics: 

  • balance issues
  • eye tracking and convergence challenges
  • lack of typical coordination
  • cross dominance (using the opposite eye or ear from the dominant handedness)
  • poor phonemic awareness
  • struggles to spell correctly

 

The numbers of those struggling with this condition are staggering. The current educational system in the United States only offers programs to compensate for symptoms and a long reading remediation process focused on phonics for the challenges of children with dyslexia. For adults with dyslexia, there are few options besides living with it and doing the best you can. That sounds quite bleak to me. 

 

From a NeuroDevelopmental (ND) perspective, the question about all these dyslexic symptoms is 2-fold:

 

  • WHAT is allowing all of the atypical struggles to exist?
  • Why has the original group of symptoms found by Samuel Orton been reduced to a phonetic approach? 

 

In other words, why are all but one of the factors first discovered by Mr. Orton considered in the treatment of dyslexia? Neurodevelopmentalists know that human function is controlled by the brain. How that brain is organized and the developmental steps that have taken place for that individual make all the difference in the functional outcomes. Our experience with individuals labeled with or suspected of dyslexia has been very different than the traditional view of doing a 2-year intensive phonics program and then living with any residual struggle and merely coping and compensating for a lifetime. 

 

The ND approach looks at the whole child to see what might be causing the glitches in function. 

  • Are the eyes not working in tandem so that letters on a page are overlapping and barely distinguishable? 
  • Is the central detail vision not working optimally so small words, parts of words, or punctuation seem to disappear. 
  • Is the auditory short-term memory poorly developed to cause problems with using phonics? The child just can’t seem to hold all the pieces together to get the word out promptly. 
  • Is it that the lower levels of the brain are not organized to enable a fluid flow of information from one hemisphere of the brain to the other?  
  • Is information being stored in the wrong part of the brain causing the individual to have an inconsistent recall?  
  • Or is it a combination of several of the above? 

 

This is very frustrating for everyone! The mom thinks the child has the concept or information just to find the child is unable to retrieve it the next day. The child doesn’t understand why the information isn’t coming out as mom expects. 

 

If you would like to see some of the symptoms we have frequently encountered when working with individuals with dyslexia and the possible root causes from a NeuroDevelopmental point of view, click here 

 

Our experience shows that if the root cause is addressed through equipping the parents with knowledge of the right type of brain stimulation, the children come up an average of a year or more  in math and reading in just four months. This is a far cry from most experiences of getting further and further behind each year. Parents are the key to this change! You don’t have to load your family in the car and drive across town for some expensive therapy. The NeuroDevelopmental Approach can be added to your home school with incredibly positive results. 

For more information and the opportunity for a free consultation, visit  www.BrainSprints.com

 

 

 

 

 


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by the SPED Homeschool Team

 

Have you ever considered creating your own unit study to teach all your children at the same time? Below is a list of subjects you can teach multiple ages/learning levels with resources you can easily find at your local library and/or on the internet.

 

Once you pick your topic, use this article from our website on How to Create a Hands-On Unit Study to pull everything together for your unit.

 

Science

Magic school bus science

Nature 

Circuits

Weather 

Animals 

Geology

Biology- marine or regular

Systems of the body

Bugs

Gardening

Chemistry of baking

Fermentation

Habitats 

Ecosystems

 

History/Social Studies 

Geography 

Early America 

Famous people in history 

Native Americans 

States and local governments

Landmarks 

Seven wonders of the world

Famous scientists

Foreign studies (history, culture, food, traditions, holidays)

U.S. presidents

National parks

Film study

Christmas around the world

 

Art 

Step-by-step drawing 

Color wheels

Famous artists 

Mixed media art 

Sculptures of clay 

Water color

Digital art

Chalk art

Tie dying

Woodworking

Interior design

Cake decorating

Jewelry making

Metal design

Needlework

Bible journaling 

 

Music

Composer study

Genre study

Cultural music study

Physics of instruments

Scales

Vocalization/singing

Making instruments

 

Math

Fractions 

Cooking with measurements 

Measuring water

Dice games

Yard games, darts, archery, nerf targets (cumulative points)

Skip counting hopscotch

Minecraft 

Helping with family budget/grocery shopping

 

Language arts 

Readalouds

Book studies for particular topics

Mad Libs 

Analogies 

Vocabulary in cartoons, comic books, public signs, etc.

Foreign language 

Sign language

 

Health

First aid

Nutrition

Fitness

CPR 

 

Home Economics

Garment care

Auto repair

Home maintenance

Landscaping

Kitchen basics

Prepping meals 

 

Do you have any additional subjects to add to this list? Contact us with your suggestions and we will add them to the list.

 

 

 


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by Bev Parrish, SPED Homeschool partner Learn Your Way

 

Understanding and celebrating diversity are more popular than ever in our culture. We often do not talk about the need for diversifying education both in public school and homeschool. A one-size-fits-all approach can even find its way into our homeschool. Not every student is well-suited to the usual course of study. 

 

That opens the door to the benefits of volunteering, internships, and apprenticeships. They can all accomplish similar goals. So can a job! They just achieve them in slightly different ways.

 

Volunteering can be as simple as actively looking for opportunities to help others – at church, in your neighborhood, or among family and friends – all without pay. It can be more formal with a set time and place where someone relies on your student to get something done.  

 

Internships typically take place in a field of interest where someone may already have a bit of knowledge. This usually relates to college students during the summer, and often there are already arrangements in place between businesses and the university to hire these students upon graduation. It allows both parties to get to know one another before taking the plunge of a formal offer of employment.  

 

Apprenticeships are typically a time of training and working alongside a skilled craftsperson to gain hands-on knowledge and real-world experience with a particular field. We often think of this for plumbers or electricians, but medical students act in an apprenticeship capacity under a qualified physician while completing their formal training. It is simply a case of a mature professional passing along their expertise with intention in an orderly and structured manner. Internships and apprenticeships also usually involve a paycheck!

 

All three options can be great choices instead of or alongside typical educational pursuits. The bottom line is that they provide real-life experiences in a somewhat protected environment while the student fully masters their tasks. This equips our children to succeed with confidence and competence. The benefits of these types of arrangements are many.

  • All the above options bring real-world experiences that use what you have been teaching your kids! It is incredible how some students respond to seeing the practical value of what you have taught them. Their personal motivation to master the subject matter can speed up the learning process in ways a lecture, a textbook, or endless practice with a worksheet could never accomplish. I remember one son who couldn’t master percentages, that was until he faced several angry customers at his job where he had not properly computed their discount for a sale item. When faced with the thought of the consequences of his ignorance, that child learned percentages practically overnight!
  • Exposure to other adults who may bring valuable skills, attitudes, and knowledge that you are otherwise unable to provide is another benefit. It could be the same skills you have been teaching, but sometimes our students need a fresh face and a fresh voice (not to mention their own reputation at stake). 
  • Future job opportunities can be another benefit. News travels quickly about young men and women with an excellent work ethic and good character, much faster than knowledge of their GPA!
  • These experiences provide substantive, unique content for their transcript. Do investigate the laws in your state. Many allow homeschool parents to determine the required course of study for high school. This gives you great freedom to tailor an individualized education for your child and give your student academic credit for time spent volunteering or working in some capacity. Think about the things they are actually learning and how to turn that into academic credits. For example, our son, who volunteered at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston for over 300 hours during his high school years, received multiple credits on his transcript. We gave him credit for public speaking (conducting tours), aviation history, aviation science (engine repair, electronics, how planes fly), and PE (there were lots of planes to move from one hangar to another). We indicated that he had logged all those volunteer hours. If your state law is not so generous, you can find ways to legitimately fit the things they learned into traditional course names. Document what they learn, even if it didn’t come from a textbook or lecture.
  • These options provide an excellent opportunity for a small step to independence within the safety net of your family. Navigating the adult world of work with ready guidance available from parents is invaluable. Other adults will be either affirming or correcting your teen’s work habits, attitudes, personality quirks, and appearance. If their feelings get hurt, you can evaluate, make any needed corrections, bandage them up and send them out again, better equipped for adulthood!

 

In our homeschool, we required volunteer work from all our kids. Most of them also held jobs during the summers. When our oldest applied to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a federal academy requiring a rigorous application process, including a Congressional nomination, our local Congressman nominated Ben precisely because of his volunteer hours and work history. 

 

Don’t be afraid to get outside the box. Give yourself permission to honestly assess your student, their needs, and the most effective, efficient way to meet them. Consider something different from what everyone else’s student is doing. I will warn you in advance that this road can be lonely for parents. It can also be the very best choice for your child.

 

 

 

 

 


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by Dawn Spence, SPED Homeschool Teaching Manager

 

Disclaimer: Many of the links shared in this article are to Amazon products, and while they are not affiliate links, we would love your support of the nonprofit work we do by simply logging into Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) before your purchase and choosing SPED Homeschool as your nonprofit choice. Thank you in advance for your support!

 

Organizing is one thing that I love to do when planning my homeschool year. This preparation time helps me structure my space, lessons, and items for my kids with learning differences who thrive in an organized learning environment.

 

In the past 9 years of homeschooling, my favorite homeschooling organizational tools have changed because of the needs of my learners and as well as what they need within their learning environment. Below is a list of my favorite supplies and organizers. I have also included items for those of you who homeschool on the go or need to be mobile with your homeschooling supplies.

 

Let the organizing begin and happy shopping!

 

Organizing supplies 

Organizer Caddy  by Learning Resources 

Label Maker by Brother P-touch 

Metal Rolling Cart by Alvorog 

Desk Organizer by DARFOO

24 Pocket Poly Project Organizer by Smead

6 Drawer Rolling Storage Chart by Linon 

Plastic 5 Drawer Medium Storage Tower by Homz 

15-Drawer Multipurpose Mobile Rolling Utility Storage Organizer Cart by Seville 

 

Planners and Calendars 

Homeschooling Organizing for Multiple Kids (up to 6 Students) by GR8 Creations

Chaos Coordinator   by Emmaline Bloom  

Multi-Student Christian Homeschool Planner by Christian Homeschoolers 

Homeschool Planner & Record Book: For Multiple Kids by Mellanie Kay Journals 

Daily Schedule Pocket Chart by SpriteGru 

Learning Resources Calendar & Weather Pocket Chart by Learning Resource 

Magnetic Calendar for Kids by FBve

Dry Erase Magnetic White Board Calendar Kit by Feela Store 

The Work-Smart Academic Planner  by Peg Dawson & Richard Guare

 

 

For the homeschooler on the go 

Desktop Caddy by Godery Store 

Expanding File Folder by TriMagic Store 

Storage Tote Bag by Cupohus Store

2 Pack LCD Writing Tablet for Kids by KIDWILL

Dry Erase Pockets by Pocket Pro 

Magnetic Learning Calendar by Learning resource 

Desktop Pocket Chart by SpriteGru 

 

Visual Aids 

Wall Maps by PalaceLearning

Telling Time Teaching Clock by OWLConic store 

Magnetic Chalkboard Contact Paper by Chalknetic

Dry erase Board  by Quartet Store

Visual Timer by Time Timer 

Chore Chart  by Tracy Supply 

 

Hopefully, this list will enhance your homeschool planning and we at SPED Homeschool pray you have an amazing year of learning at home with your children.

 

 

 

 

 


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 by Cindy LaJoy, SPED Homeschool Partner True North Homeschool Academy

 

How does your learner gain job experience and valuable references for future positions? It isn’t as easy today as it used to be for teens to find employment during their high school years.  When most of us were our kids’ ages, jobs were plentiful at fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, and many other retailers.  Many of us worked after school at places where now middle-aged adults are found behind the counter.  In 1993, 30.5% of students enrolled in high school were employed versus today when 18.2% of students have after-school or summer jobs. That is a staggering drop and means that not quite 1/5th of our high school students have any work experience before graduation.

 

So how do we fill that experience gap?  ​​Volunteering is a wonderful way!!

 

Kids can volunteer in a wide variety of roles! In our family, we have done volunteering at the local food bank, animal shelter, library, homeless shelter, and nursing home.  Let me share with you some of the benefits our kids have gained from volunteer work:

1)  They have to take direction from an adult supervisor other than mom. They learn they cannot negotiate to get out of something they would prefer not to do. They must do a job to the satisfaction of the supervisor, and they may receive constructive criticism. Many homeschoolers have a great amount of flexibility at home, which is one of the beauties of homeschooling, but that flexibility is not always found on a job.  Learning this can be helpful! Also, when we are young, it can be HARD to take criticism from someone in authority. This can help strengthen our kids to accept and learn to hear a helpful critique from an outsider.

2)  Being around a variety of people helps broaden their worldview.  Volunteer work sites usually expose kids to young, old, and everything in-between!  Some seniors want the structure of having someplace to go, folks who have been court-mandated to be there, and the disabled for whom volunteering is part of their daily program.  Interacting regularly in a safe setting with such a wide range of personalities and life experiences does far more to help your child grasp “real life” than any book or film can do.

3)  There is something special that comes with working alongside adults and keeping up with them! Children gain a sense of accomplishment from doing the same tasks as adults do, and it goes a long way toward encouraging more mature behavior. Add in compliments from those outside the family for a job well done, and you have a recipe for developing a strong sense of self-worth.  

4)  Real business skills are learned “on the job” that can translate well to the world of work!  Volunteer organizations offer the chance to learn things such as inventory management, safe food handling, and product rotation, as well as secretarial tasks such as answering multi-line phones, accounting, and data entry.  Time management, project planning, and more are all practiced in volunteer jobs.  Our kids learned all of these skills by volunteering, as well as career-specific skills like library science and animal husbandry.

5)  Volunteering allows youth to “try on” a career to see if it “fits”!  There is nothing worse than spending money to learn a trade or gain a certification, only to realize you absolutely hate it after being hired.  Offering services free of charge often helps a learner gain entry to a setting to test the waters, and learn more before making an educational and financial commitment to a particular career.

6)  In many settings, volunteering can be a very humbling experience.  Handing food to those who don’t have enough to make it through the week or sitting down to a meal at a table full of homeless men and women or holding hands bedside with an elderly person who is desperately lonely can all bring about new awareness and a sense of gratitude to a teen who can often be caught up in their little world. Humility is not something that many of us think about developing in our children, yet it is a quality most of us wish more people in the world had today. Volunteering can bring us a new understanding of those less fortunate, and help keep us from demonizing them or putting them all in one category in our minds.  

7)  The website HelpGuide.org offers this as food for thought:  Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can help you reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. In other words, we feel better when we help others.  Teaching your kids how reaching out to those around them can also change THEIR lives for the better!

8)  Though I prefer better motives for volunteering than this last item, I recognize the truth to it and it is still a benefit. I would encourage you to consider adding volunteering for other, less self-centered reasons.  Steady volunteer work with one or two organizations can be a terrific addition to a college application or a job reference for those first forays into employment.  A volunteer supervisor can attest to a young person’s diligence, responsible behavior, and skill level in certain tasks.  In other words, they can offer the next best thing to a job reference when someone doesn’t yet have prior employment.  

 

There are many more benefits to be gained from volunteer work, and including volunteerism as part of your homeschool day can be life-changing in so many wonderful ways!

————————————————————————————————————————-

Cindy LaJoy is a Special Needs Academic Advisor and Educator at True North Homeschool Academy, runs Blue Collar Homeschool, and recently co-authored, Blazing New Homeschool Trails, with Natalie Vecchione.

 

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar, SPED Homeschool Founder & CEO

 

Are you starting your homeschooling journey this year? Then here are 20+ ready-made resources you can use to start homeschooling your struggling learner with confidence today.

 

9 Easy Steps to Start Homeschooling 

Ease into homeschooling by following these 9 easy steps.

 

How to Write a Homeschool IEP 

Free download and step-by-step instructions for writing a homeschool IEP.

 

Homeschool High School Checklist 

A checklist to ensure you know the essentials about homeschooling a struggling student through high school.

 

At-Home Therapy Resources 

Learn from professional therapists on how to provide at-home therapy for your student by using this curated list of free online resources.

 

Use Routines to Build Your Student’s Learning Independence

How to create routines so your homeschool student becomes a more independent learner.

 

Motivate Your Student by Making Learning Fun

4 examples for motivating students to learn by adding fun to their homeschooling lessons.

 

How to Use Rewards as Positive Learning Motivators

Apply positive learning motivators into your homeschool setting.

 

Building Resilience in Children with Autism 

Strategies for homeschooling a student who struggles with anxiety or sensory issues.

 

Using Workboxes to Support Independent Learning

Learn how to plan for independent learning times during your homeschool day by using workboxes for your students.

 

Online Assessment Tools to Evaluate Your Struggling Learner

30 free online assessment tools parents can use to evaluate various types of learning struggles.

 

Reinforcing Homeschool Learning Through Play

Gain an understanding of the skills, stages, and ways you can support your student’s learning growth through play.

 

Simple Homeschool Organization Ideas

3 simple examples of how to organize your homeschool assignments, schedule, and work spaces.

 

20 Fall Learning Activities for Your Homeschool

Use these activities to add some fun and seasonal flair to your homeschool.

 

How to Start Homeschooling Kindergarten with a Special Needs Child 

6 steps that break down the basics of homeschooling kindergarten when you don’t know where to start.

 

What Your Child Needs to Know by First Grade

Use these lists and resources to evaluate your student’s readiness for first grade homeschooling materials.

 

30+ Active Learning Ideas

Make learning active for your wiggly kids by using these suggested activities.

 

DIY Occupational Therapy Ideas

Learn how to DIY occupational therapy at home to help your students reach their therapy goals.

 

Tips for Homeschooling Active Kids 

7 strategies parents can use when homeschooling an active child.

 

10 Free Hands-On Unit Studies

Use one of these free unit studies to teach your hands-on learner.

 

Slow & Steady: The Key to Homeschool Success 

Homeschool success doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens when you follow these 5 simple steps.

 

Am I the Best Teacher for My Child?

We all ask ourselves this question, and here is the answer you need to be reminded of as you homeschool your struggling learner.

 

Popular Special Needs Homeschooling Acronyms

Understand the meanings and homeschool applications for the most commonly used special needs acronyms.

 

To find more free resources for homeschooling your struggling learner, check out our Homeschool Help page. Plus, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter and receive updates on events and special offers.

 

Twinkl and their home education team featured this blog among their Best Home Education Bloggers list.

 

 

 

 

 


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By Natalie Vecchione, SPED Homeschool Partner FASD Hope

 

(Excerpts from the new book “Blazing New Homeschool Trails: Educating and Launching Teens with Developmental Disabilities” by Natalie Vecchione and Cindy LaJoy and shared with permission from authors.)

 

As a mom of a now young adult with a developmental disability, I understand the journey of how difficult it can be to start planning the future for a teen who is not headed towards post-homeschooling academia. With a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), our son would have struggled in college or technical school. Homeschooling taught our family that our son learned best in a 1:1 setting. Once we realized  our son’s gifts and skills in woodworking and carpentry, we first considered the more conventional ways for him to learn this as a trade. He tried trade school, working in commercial workshops, and even having placements through Vocational Rehabilitation. On paper, these looked like optimal opportunities for learning. However, none of those options was a good fit for our son. 

 

Vocational programs and trade school environments generally are a hard fit for our teens and young adults with brain-based diagnoses (such as FASD). Overstimulating environments, being easily influenced by smoking, vaping, or any other substances on the site, and being unable to keep up at the class pace were all contributing factors to being a poor fit. We tried several different options before realizing that the best way that our son would learn his trade was through an old-fashioned apprenticeship. I’d like to share why we chose an apprenticeship and how we did it since neither my husband nor I are carpenters or woodworkers.

 

The Path to Apprenticeship

By definition, an apprenticeship is “an arrangement in which someone learns an art, trade or job under another”. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) The history of apprenticeship dates back to ancient times when young people would work with a master craftsman in exchange for room and board and formal training in their craft. The more formal system of apprenticeships developed in Europe during the Middle Ages and soon was under the supervision of craft guilds, trade unions, or town governments. In early America, apprenticeships were common during the colonial era and developed into a necessary part of craft and trade industries.** (Britannica.com

 

As the United States developed into a modernized and industrialized nation, the nature of apprenticeships changed from less of a learning experience to more of a work experience. Today, teens as young as 16 may begin formal apprenticeships as part of their education, and homeschooling made that a great option for our son. However, since many trades require a high school diploma, most teens and young adults start their apprenticeships after graduation and/or through trade schools.

 

The Perfect Partnership

Our son was blessed to have two apprenticeship teachers while homeschooling. How did we find these wonderful apprenticeship teachers? I researched, cold-called, and emailed about 50 local woodworkers and carpenters in our area. I put together an introductory email explaining a little bit about our family, homeschooling, and our son’s journey. Out of those fifty contacted woodworkers and carpenters, four replied, and through God’s orchestration, we were blessed with our son’s current apprenticeship teacher.

 

Our son graduated from homeschool last year, but he continues to apprentice with his current apprenticeship teacher, whom he has been with for over two years. That’s the beauty of apprenticeship and homeschooling – learning doesn’t stop even when the homeschooling journey is complete.  Our son’s apprenticeship teachers understood about teaching with fewer steps, concrete examples, and learning at our son’s own pace. In fact, his apprenticeship teacher taught our son in a way that he thrived and which still surprises us! Through a 1:1 apprenticeship, our son developed a bond with his teacher, which built his confidence and nurtured his strengths. 

 

The Perks of Apprenticeship Training

There are SO many benefits in having your older teen / young adult, who learns differently, in experiencing an apprenticeship during their homeschool years including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Experiential learning in an environment that can accommodate your teen’s needs
  • Learning “old school” tips and strategies in a trade or skill
  • Having the opportunity to ask questions and learn at the student’s pace
  • Having the opportunity to build social skills and connection with the apprenticeship teacher
  • Creating a flexible schedule that works with your family’s homeschool routines
  • Providing the apprenticeship teacher with the opportunity to learn about your child’s needs or diagnosis
  • Working on long-term projects
  • Out-of-the-box opportunities for experiential learning

 

Finally, a good apprenticeship teacher can be a blessing for your teen because they can be not only a mentor but an example of someone who will embrace your student for the amazing person that God created him or her to be!

 

(Excerpts from the book “Blazing New Homeschool Trails” © 2021 by Natalie Vecchione and Cindy LaJoy)

 

 

 

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar, SPED Homeschool Founder & CEO

 

Have you ever looked at an acronym only to have to put it into your favorite search engine to come up with its correct meaning? When I first started homeschooling my son on the spectrum 19 years ago, I was completely oblivious to what most special needs/education acronyms meant.

 

I have learned a lot since that first year of homeschooling kindergarten and I I hope the list below will be helpful in your special needs homeschooling journey and when reading the articles on the SPED Homeschool website, listening or watching one of our many podcasts or videos, or viewing my weekly live broadcast, Empowering Homeschool Conversations.

 

To provide you with some additional help, the acronyms and definitions below have links that will take you to SPED Homeschool resources that further explain the acronym or a homeschooling situation where the topic applies.

 

AAC – Assistive Augmented Communication

ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis

ACT – American College Testing

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADL – Activities for Daily Living

ADP – Auditory Processing Disorder

ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASL – American Sign Language

AT – Assistive Technology

AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress

BIP – Behavior Intervention Plan

CBA – Curriculum-Based Assessment

CD – Cognitive Delay

CP – Cerebral Palsy

DD – Developmental Disability

DS – Down Syndrome

ESY – Extended School Year

FAS – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

IEE – Individual Education Evaluation

IEP – Individual Education Plan

IFSP – Individualized Family Service Plan

LD – Learning Disability

ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OT – Occupational Therapy

PBSP – Positive Behavior Support Plan

PDD – Pervasive Development Disorder

PLEP – Present Level of Educational Performance

PLOP – Present Level of Performance

PT – Physical Therapy

SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test

SDI – Specially Designed Instruction

SEP – Student Education Plan 

SLP – Speech Language Pathology

SPD – Sensory Processing Disorder

 

I hope this list has not only helped you with understanding these terms, but has helped you in applying this knowledge in homeschooling your unique learner.

 

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By Renee Sullins, SPED Homeschool Partner Renee Sullins Consulting

 

Many years ago, apprenticeships were the norm to learn a trade from a dad, mom, neighbor, family friend, or local business person. For some reason, Little House on the Prairie comes to mind. Today, society leans more towards internships for young people – paid or non-paid – designed to help a young person see firsthand IF this is the path one might want to take professionally. Notice that I stressed the “IF”. Just ask a parent who has invested thousands of dollars in their child’s college education, only to have them change their major, tacking on more years of tuition to complete the new degree path. Or, ask a man or woman who graduated with a degree and then shortly afterward realizes they are miserable in their chosen career path. Internships and volunteering can be helpful tools to aid in thwarting off ‘the regrets.’ 

 

Let’s take Pedro, for example. He was a young man I started mentoring while he was in high school. He majored in Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) at a prestigious university. He knew this degree path would prepare him to fulfill his childhood dream to become a doctor. He worked diligently to make the necessary exemplary grades to later get into graduate school. During this last semester, he had multiple internships with doctors and in various medical practices. However, his last internship was with a Physician’s Assistant. I distinctly remember his phone call to me, “I know this is what I want to do now!” Of course, he was surprised he wasn’t going to medical school as planned – I had even paid for him to take an MCAT prep course and the MCAT exam. But, he was so confident about this decision that I didn’t question it. Had it not been for that internship, he may have spent many years and tens of thousands of dollars on something he was not ‘called’ to do. 

 

Honestly, I think it is never too early to start your child volunteering. Parents have the opportunity to model this for their children as well. I was fortunate to have such parents – a mom who drove carpool, baked cookies for bake sales, mom and dad who gave tours at an historic park, grandparents who were always up at the church helping out, etc. Volunteering is a great expression of selfless service. Teens tend to be self-absorbed – not a criticism. It is just that time of their lives they are concerned with what others think, personal appearance, competing against peers, and having the most friends/followers/likes on social media. Do I hear you sighing? 

 

Encouraging your teen to volunteer gets them outside of themselves, which could set a lifetime habit of doing so as an adult. If they are talking about future college/career paths, then you have a double bonus if you can find a volunteer opportunity in a field that your teen seems to be curious about. The best way to do this is to let others know – lots of people – think outside the box. Better yet, have your teen do an internet search of businesses/organizations and reach out to them personally to ask to volunteer. Too many teens want to hide behind an email or text message. Note…”personal” is a phone call or in-person; harder for people to say no in person, I’ve learned. 

 

If you have a mature, responsible teenager, I would focus on having them ask for an “internship”. In probability, it will be non-paid, but as I mentioned earlier, this could potentially save you and your child a great deal of money, grief, stress, and/or regret in the not-so-distant future. 

 

I have young people ask me what should they say when they reach out to someone for help. In this case, helping is researching career paths and helping to build a well-rounded resume. My answer is to tell them exactly what you want, why you want it, and ask for it, then thank them. Works like a charm – confident expectation that you will get a “yes” from someone. They need to do this, not you. That’s a topic for another blog!

 

But, what if your son/daughter has a learning difference(s)? It is even MORE important to have them volunteer and/or seek an internship. The earlier, the better. I know that my daughter, who has ADHD, would suffer and be miserable if stuck indoors, in a cubicle, able to hear others’ conversations (she has sensory issues as well), and on a computer screen all day. There are certain jobs we know to cross off the list of career options. Perhaps they have social anxiety? Do they take a bit longer to process information? Do they need to work with their hands to learn effectively? You need to know what the obstacles and struggles are and work to match the best options. 

 

By all means, I never discourage young people from pursuing their dreams – but, I do make sure they are keenly aware of their skill sets, areas of giftedness, likes/dislikes, needs, and limitations. Perspective is not judgment. Proper perspective yields clarity. And clarity yields confidence. And confidence yields, well, happier/resourceful people. Every parent I’ve ever spoken with, no matter the concern or source of frustration, tells me that they simply want their child to be happy – and this is what I want for them as well.

 

BIO:

Renee Sullins, founder of Renee Sullins Coaching, is a Life and Health Coach, specializing in working with teens and college students. She can be reached for a complimentary consultation and for more information through her website: www.reneesullinscoaching.com 

 

 

 

 

 


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