By Peggy Ployhar

February is soon approaching and even though it is typically the month retailers have us all thinking about love and sending valentines, the cold weather and our cooped-up kids don’t always make us feel very loving about our homeschooling or our parenting pursuits.

Instead of giving into those winter blues, take some time during these next few weeks to put aside your regular lessons and try to refocus on the love of learning. And, what better way to do that than with these fun Valentine-themed learning activities?

Here are my top 20 free picks from the SPED Homeschool Valentine Pinterest board.

1Lego Valentine Learning Activities: Learning activities centered around Valentine’s and Legos

2Valentine Hearts Spelling Game: Spelling words with a fun Valentine’s Day twist

3Valentine Math Facts Game: A fun game for brushing up on old skills and practicing new ones

4Valentine Scavenger Hunt : Free printable clues for making a fun Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt

5Threaded Heart Paper Plate Craft: Cute paper plate heart craft that’s great for working on fine motor skills

6 Valentine’s Day Speech Therapy Activities: 100+ speech therapy related activities for Valentine’s Day

7 Candy Hearts Unit Study: Teach everything from math, critical thinking, science, history and language arts with candy hearts

8 Brain-Building Valentines Activities: Multiple activities that work on midline crossing, fine motor skills, vestibular activities, and visual planning

9 Valentine’s Day Unit Study : Through books, videos, and art, delve into the history around St. Valentine and Valentine’s Day

10 Science Experiments for Valentine’s Day: Simplified biology, chemistry, and physics lessons with heart or Valentine’s Day themes

1125 Valentine Process Art Projects: Art projects that explore a variety of different and allow your children to express their artistic flair

12Valentine Themed Light Table Activities: 15 different activities for a light table, all focused on Valentine’s Day

13Love Your Neighbor Unit Study: Activities to help your children think about loving
intentionally this Valentine’s Day

14 Valentine’s Day Montessori Work: 9 Valentine’s Day activities that use Montessori teaching principles

15Heart Visual Discrimination Printable: A fun way to work on identifying similarities and differences

16Valentine’s Day Games and Brain Breaks: 10 activities to get your child up and moving on Valentine’s Day

17 30 Valentine’s Day Speech and Language Activities: Lots of free speech activities to use on Valentine’s Day

18Mapping the History Behind Valentine’s Day : Learn history and geography in this mini unit study about Valentine’s Day

19Valentine’s Day CVC Board Game: Fun printable board game to use with your emergent readers

20Scripture Card Valentine Art Project: 4 printable scripture-based valentine cards your children can customize with their own art

Still not enough choices? Then make sure to check out the SPED Homeschool Valentine Pinterest board containing over 200 more ideas to choose from. And, while you are there, make sure to check out the rest of the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards.



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By Peggy Ployhar

Unit studies are a hands-on approach to learning.  Through multi-sensory activities and immersion learning, children relate to concepts, confront challenges, solve open-ended questions, and come face-to-face with the difference between knowledge and wisdom.


Our Family’s Decision to Use Unit Studies
When I made the choice to use unit studies for homeschooling, my decision was based solely on the fact my kids were willing to participate in the lessons, not because I loved doing teacher prep activities.  But, over our 14 years of using unit studies, I learned to embrace the intensive teacher prep side, because in the end, the prep made our lessons quicker and more effective. 


Teaching More in Less Time
The reasoning behind the effectiveness of unit studies is how they approach the process of delivering learning material to students.  The unit study approach allows parents to prepare specific educational encounters for their children based on how best their children will connect with the content.  These encounters contain a great amount of information, as well as practical knowledge, but moreover, they provide experiences which touch the hearts of children and help them synthesize difficult concepts into their own knowledge base.


In this video below, I explain how my children learned about communism through one of these planned encounters while we were doing a unit study on Russia.  This lesson is one we all still remember vividly, and which brings me to tears (I can’t tell you how many takes of this video I had to shoot before I captured one without bawling), because of how deeply the lesson impacted us all.


Knowledge vs Facts
Contrary to popular belief, real knowledge isn’t being able to memorize facts and regurgitate them on a test.  Instead, real learning of knowledge happens when a student is able to take the information presented to them and create ties with it to their heart and life. Facts are great to know, but if a child cannot synthesize those facts into useful tools for thinking and solving more complex issues in their everyday life, then they are of little use.  


Special Education Homeschooling Bonus
Kids who often struggle with how information is presented in traditional education models, usually thrive and learn concepts much quicker in this more interactive learning environment.  Part of the reason for this shift has to do with the fact that you, the parent, can choose specific learning activities/encounters you know your child will connect with.


In our homeschool I choose activities that focused on reenactments, building structures, making costumes, and taking field trips.  But, activities involving singing, dancing, and coloring were quickly crossed off the list of possible activities.  The beauty is you can pick and choose whatever you want from a unit study, and leave all the rest, which I give you permission to do if you happen to be one of those people who feels every activity must be done so your kids are getting the best education.


10 Unit Studies to Consider
If you are looking for some ways to incorporate unit studies into your homeschool, here are 10 free unit studies to get you started:


Little House on the Prairie “Farmer Boy” Study

Medieval Unit Studies – Castles, Knights, Church, Art & Music

Samuel Morse and Morse Code Unit Study

Owl Unit Study

Simple Machines Unit Study

South America Unit Study

The Boxcar Children Unit Study

Dinosaur Unit Study

Pizza Unit Study


Unit Studies in High School
And, for those of you who think unit studies are just for the elementary grades, you will want to check out this video on how unit studies can be used through high school.


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By Dawn Spence


We start every school morning with our Bible Lesson. We have chosen to use My Father’s World because I found it easy for me to modify for my daughter. My children are learning to memorize Bible scriptures and place them in their hearts. I found that my daughter loves to hear scriptures as well as my other two children but needs something tactile to remember them.


Making Scripture Visual
All three of my children are visual, and I found the perfect website that helps me teach scripture in both ways. I want to give credit to Hubbard’s Cupboard 
for making my life and planning much easier.

Hubbard’s Cupboard Link


4 Easy Methods for Using Hands-On Teaching

Here are ways I use this website to help my daughter learn, with demonstrations on how you can modify these ideas to meet your child’s needs.


Method 1 – Visuals for Words
Introduce the Bible verse with a coloring sheet that depicts a visual that matches what the verse’s content. I chose Matthew 4:19 and added dots under the words to provide one-to-one correspondence of the words she reads.



Method 2 –  Act It Out
Act it out as you read by using hand motions, such as pretending to catch fish.

Method 3 –  Matching
Take the verse, type it up and cut it so they can match words to words or phrases. You can have your child match and glue the words on top of the given word. You can also have them match it right underneath. This can also address occupational therapy skills if your child is working on cutting and gluing. 


Method 4 –  Abbreviated Writing
Have your child write the verse.  If they cannot write, you can have them type it or match up the words like my daughter does. You can shorten as needed or pick the most important phrase you have been working on. My other two children copy this verse down on the lines or in their Bible notebook. I write on one copy and make a copy to reduce work for me.



Something simple and fun can make memorizing Bible verses both engaging and functional at the same time.  It is amazing how much these steps have helped my daughter memorize scripture.


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Whether your child may have Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder or any other issues that may create a learning delay, a light table can be a useful tool to inspire your learner.
When I started teaching my special needs daughter, I noticed how her sensory needs overshadowed her drive to learn.  Thus, I started researching how to meet her sensory needs alongside learning instruction.
Once I started looking at light tables, I knew I had found the perfect learning tool. Light tables are a natural draw for kids, and learning on them makes basic tasks much more engaging and fun.
Here are 4 ways a light table can help in teaching a child with sensory needs:
1.  Light tables can engage and bring new dimensions to a repetitive task

This is a picture of the same activity, one without the light table and one with.
2.  Light tables can bring tracing and writing to life on a reusable platform

You can take any workbook page, overlay it with a transparency sheet, 
and thus transform it for use with a light table.
3.  Light tables can transform tasks to exploratory hand-on activities

Whether your child is sorting, adding, or even spelling the light table can 
help your learner interact with and explore the concept on the board.
4.  Light tables make learning fun and entertaining

Who does not like to learn when things are entertaining?  We all prefer that.
Dawn’s Recommendations for Light Table Materials


    • Workbooks – Dollar Tree Store (Many to choose from, and they are only $1)



    • Shape & Theme Manipulatives – Dollar Tree Store (Look at specific seasons.  Sometimes called table scatters. They light up so beautifully.)



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