by The SPED Homeschool Team


We surveyed the SPED Homeschool team and asked them to share how they used technology to teach in their homeschools over the years and here is what they shared regarding their favorite resource, tools, and how they worked best for their students.


Most Loved Tech Teaching Resources

Teaching with technology evolved over our 19 years of homeschooling, mostly because when we started our homeschooling journey the internet was new and much of the educational software back then was either very expensive or was a glorified game with some learning embedded into it. Needless to say, a lot has changed in 19 years. Here are some of the tech resources we loved the most during our homeschooling journey:

  • The 101 Series – A video-based high school curriculum program
  • Mark Kisler on YouTube – 3D drawing videos for kids
  • Zoom sessions with private tutors for French instruction
  • Khan Academy Math – As supplemental instruction videos for book curriculum
  • Audible – We have had the monthly subscription for years and used it most for listening to books that related to our unit studies or literature-based studies over the years
  • Homeschool History from Notgrass – Supplemental content to accompany just about any history you are studying in your homeschool
  • Homeschool with MindCraft – An inexpensive and fun learning option we tried a few times during our homeschooling journey

Peggy Ployhar 


Homeschool Tech Tools

In our homeschool, we use technology in a variety of ways. We have always used educational games and videos, but now include more curriculum online as well. Also, technology serves as a tool to support weaknesses and allow strengths to come through.

  • Scribeasy is a fun way to get my kids engaged in writing  
  • is free, and offers videos and games through early elementary school level
  • Voice to text and predictive text are available through Word, Google Docs, and Pages on iPad to allow my son to write short stories without frustration
  • Khan Academy Kids has fun educational games and videos for preschool and elementary age (also free) 
  • ABC Mouse for Preschool through First Grade
  • Adventure Academy is the next step from ABC Mouse (ages 8-12)  
  • IKnowIt is math practice or remediation 
  • Ascend Math has math fact flashcard practice (free) 
  • Journey Homeschool Academy has had great Science classes (Astronomy, Biology and new this year is Earth Science) 
  • Udemy has on demand classes on a variety of subjects for all ages 
  • Kindle Reader from Amazon to share books over zoom or just on the computer/tablet
  • Vooks is a great digital book resource for younger kids 
  • Audiobooks for the car for longer trips into town (CD, overdrive/Libby, or downloaded from other sources)
  • Digital versions of textbooks/workbooks to share over zoom with tutors, or share on the computer together
  • Touchscreen laptops to be able to “write” on the computer screen or tablet when working with online tutors, especially for math tutoring

Amy Vickery


Favorite Tech Learning Programs

We were pretty old school and didn’t use a lot of technology. We used a game on the computer to teach typing skills. But the one program that I used, and absolutely loved, to teach our younger two to read was Headsprout. It was an amazing program that took them from just knowing the letters of the alphabet to a second-grade reading level. The girls loved it and it took a lot of pressure off of me. 

Janice Peshek 


Making Tech Work for the Needs of Your Learner

Technology has been useful to “sneak” in learning with my daughter. I would add apps on my daughter’s pad that matched her learning goals. There were apps that matched her handwriting curriculum (Learning without Tears) , math (Touch Math), reading curriculum (All About Reading). Using the app made it more interactive for her and she requested the learning apps even on the weekends and when school was over. 

Another way we have used technology was using audiobooks to listen to chapter books. On the days where there needed to be more, I would add a YouTube video so that my visual learners could see the learning. Now there is more ability to meet with therapists over zoom since COVID. 

Still another great resource is Boom Cards-Boom Learning, which oftentimes can be free. I have found these cards most helpful when sickness hits because we can use them in place of therapy. 

My recent tech addition is having my daughter practice her spelling words and text them to family members. Picking what parts of technology work for your family is key.

Dawn Spence


Using Tech as Needed for Homeschooling

When I started homeschooling over 20 years ago, tech was not a big thing so we didn’t use it a lot except for classes I absolutely couldn’t teach, like art (thank you, Mark Kistler – see link above). We did, however, use it all the time to look up answers to questions that came up. It was more of a research tool than a teaching tool until late middle school and then high school. We did high school history online for two years using only

The iPad came out when my daughter was just starting school. We bought one immediately so she could use it for communication since she is nonverbal. I was amazed at how much knowledge she demonstrated using a device that she couldn’t otherwise communicate. In the early years, I added a lot of learning games and she loved those. Now it is primarily a communication device.

For a time, I taught Computer Science online for other students. This was a great format because each week, the students would run their programs so we could see and evaluate them. This was not as easy to do in a regular classroom.

Technology has been great for us on an as-needed basis.

Stephanie Buckwalter


To learn more about the SPED Homeschool team and what they do to ensure you have access to quality resources and training through our website, YouTube channel, newsletter and more, visit our team page.



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by Zafer Elcik, from SPED Homeschool partner Otsimo


For a very long time, we’ve known that the best course of action when it comes to special education for children with special needs is early and intensive education that fits their needs. The past two years of the pandemic have shown us that in a world where there is already inequality in terms of access to quality education, a hiccup in the system can cause even more trouble.


Unfortunately, many people weren’t able to access education in general during this time period. This gap in access was even larger for those who were receiving special education and speech therapy support. This is the reason mobile solutions to special education, speech therapy, and homeschooling were suddenly on the rise.


Additional mobile solutions and educational support are nothing new for special education spheres. With the pandemic on the rise and everyone at home for their safety, they became of greater importance and attention was paid to effective homeschooling solutions for neurodivergent children.


Traditional education solutions sometimes fall short in providing the necessary, tailor-made interventions for kids with learning difficulties. With the pandemic, the systems in place such as IEP, which are there to help cover these gaps, were not being implemented at their most effective level. Naturally, parents and caregivers looked for materials they can leverage at home.  


Education doesn’t have to be in a single form. Currently, we have solutions that help integrate neurodivergent kids and children with other learning difficulties into a system developed with neurotypical children in mind. However, there are many things to say about how each and every single child learns differently and at different rates. Being able to school children at home proved this point.


It is possible to teach young children even with mundane items at home. When you are cooking dinner they can learn about the ingredients, or you can sit down and color by numbers. Each and every process teaches kids some essential skills. When we switched to distance learning, some kids with learning disabilities and difficulties struggled even harder as it may have been difficult for them to focus outside a school setting.


With a pen and paper a parent or guardian can study with their kids, but they don’t have to. There are low-tech and high-tech solutions that are specifically designed to teach children with special needs skills and curriculum based on their developmental level and struggle areas that sometimes come without much financial burden. In addition, these solutions also provided relief for families already burdened with the anxiety of being asked to access special education solutions by professionals.


For children with autism, applied behavior analysis (ABA) activities, a scientific technique where the goal is to understand behavior and how the environment affects this behavior, could boost a child’s education at home. ABA could also target a child’s learning disabilities to motivate them to achieve a specific learning goal.


A simple example of such an activity could be devising a color sorting game to target many developmental aspects. Get your hands on some colorful pom-poms and containers, and instruct your child to sort them into groups of the same colors. This will help them improve their understanding of colors, while also working on their fine motor skills when they pinch and drop the pom-poms. This is just a simple example of activities at home that could prove immensely useful.


Besides solutions that have been in use for many years, there are also mobile solutions that are high-tech. The mobile, high-tech, solutions out there address various topics, from learning letters and maths to social skills such as taking turns. Companies focusing on developing such solutions like Otsimo also offer information and suggestions so as to keep parents and caregivers informed.


Mobile solutions are now viewed as essential aides at home when it comes to homeschooling. It is possible to find an abundance of solutions that target different needs and can fit different budgets. The competition is especially high with high-tech solutions as smartphones and tablets are comparatively easier to access in the last couple of decades.


Now that we know mobile solutions, low- and high-tech alike, can be powerful tools in homeschooling, it is time for a perspective change in the big picture. There needs to be more investment, research and development efforts channeled to creating mobile solutions, more collaborations that help increase access to solutions by making them free of charge or at low prices where parents and caregivers can apply and implement these at home with ease. 


In school, at home, in the car while traveling: every opportunity is a learning opportunity and we can make this happen, because we have the tools and the know-how already at hand.


Zafer Elcik, is the Co-founder of Otsimo, a mobile education platform for children with disabilities that he originally designed with a friend to meet the learning needs of his younger brother on the Autism spectrum.




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