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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Nancy van Loggerenberg, SPED Homeschool Partner Online Elementary Tutor


It seems like just YESTERDAY your child was born and TODAY he/she is getting ready to begin pre-K or Kindergarten.  If your child has special needs, or has struggled to reach milestones typical for their age, you know your child will struggle in a traditional-school setting. School is starting soon, and you have decided to homeschool your Pre-K or Kindergarten child. But how does a family homeschool a struggling child?

So, take a deep breath, say to yourself “I got this”, and read on to find the best way to start your homeschool.


Your Homeschool Law

If your state requires it, your first step should be to fill out your letter of intent to homeschool. Not sure of your state law? Check out this page on the SPED Homeschool website.


For Now Plan

Next is to decide on what kind of homeschool you envision. Create what I like to call your “For Now Plan”.  This is simply an outline of what YOU see working for YOUR family homeschool and it’s easy to do.  

First, on a piece of paper, write, in 1 sentence, what your homeschool looks like. For example: “My homeschool Kindergarten will formally (or informally) take place 5 days a week and will include reading and math with lots of opportunity to do art, games, and outdoor learning”

Next, write WHY you want your homeschool Kindergarten to look that way. For example: “My WHY is because I know ‘Tim’ will respond and sit with me to learn for short bursts, he loves being outside, and reading and math are the core subjects I feel comfortable teaching for now”.


Top 3 Resources

Then, do a little research on the SPED Homeschool website, Facebook groups, and Pinterest boards to find inspiration for the TOP 3 RESOURCES you would like to use to implement your mini-plan. For example:  Public Library, subscription boxes, and ABC Mouse.


Support Networks

After deciding on your resources, list three SUPPORT NETWORKS you can turn to when you run out of ideas or need some guidance. These could be a homeschool mentor, your local school, church community, a Facebook group,  a private tutor, or even a homeschooling consultant. Your support networks will grow and change as your child does, so just remember this is your FOR NOW PLAN and it is a simple and clear plan to begin homeschooling.  


Action Steps

Now it’s time to put your resources and your support networks to work by creating your “3 ACTION STEPS”. For example, it could look like this:  

  1. Get books from the library 
  2. Choose theme for the first 2 weeks
  3. Research what other parents are doing for their Homeschool Kindergarten curriculum in my Facebook group


Repeat as Necessary

Whenever something seems too technical or overwhelming to work through, it’s time to repeat your process to discover your new FOR NOW PLAN. Some parents find that, after creating and implementing their FOR NOW PLAN, new challenges present themselves. Hey, most of us did not go to college to become a teacher, so go easy on yourself. Many parents find that outsourcing their reading lesson to a private tutor helps ease some stress in covering ‘all the bases’.

What do you think? Are you going to implement your FOR NOW PLAN? 

You would be wise to come check out what KINDERGARTEN HOMESCHOOL could be like with a real teacher/tutor and learn about the 1 tool that will revolutionize your child’s digital portfolio. And if you have  

questions, you can get answers!   

Imagine your homeschool. Handled. Stress-free and messy, because yes, it will get messy, and that’s part of the process 


Feel like you need more help? Don’t hesitate to contact me on my website:  Ms. Nancy! Online Elementary Tutor: or sign up for my kindergarten webinar here.

No matter where you are in your process of starting homeschooling, enjoy the journey and the gift you have been given to teach your child!




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Ashly Barta


I never thought I would homeschool. I was a public school teacher and believed wholeheartedly in everything the public school offered children.  As a teacher, I knew what I was capable of and what I knew in my heart to be right.  I saw teachers and administrators working day in and day out to help the children in our school district thrive.  Then I had my oldest son.

They diagnosed my son with epilepsy before he turned one-year-old. Our life in those early days after his diagnosis are a complete blur to me.  We tried medication after medication, seeking specialists out of state and more testing than I can remember.

My husband is active duty military and with his job it became clear I needed to step down from my full-time role as teacher and manage my son’s care.  We enrolled in Early Intervention and received occupational therapy and speech therapy.  I fell into a rhythm and we thrived.  I was in an area that I had many colleagues and I knew how to find the services we needed.  This helped so much! 

We were fortunate my family was available for extra support since this epilepsy diagnosis was not but a minor blip on our radar.  Then we received news from the military we were moving across the country! 

My mind was flooded with unanswered questions. How do I handle preschool enrollment in an unfamiliar state?  How would his IFSP transfer? So many questions we needed to find answers to.  Luckily I enrolled our son in a special education preschool in our district, and at first glance it seemed like a wonderful program. 

That preschool year started out great, but as the year progressed the classroom added more children until it became clear the teacher had become overwhelmed and needed help.  This situation frustrated me with the lack of services that were not being given to my son, even when his needs were clear on his IEP. 

We had two IEP meetings before Thanksgiving and each time I left defeated and in tears.  The teacher and staff were only concerned with what my son could not do, and not one time did they mentioned a positive achievement.  Why?  He was a brilliant little 4-year-old and deserved to be celebrated despite the difficulties he faced.  The school was not offering anything to make me feel like public school was a better fit.  My husband and I agreed that he would come home and we would try preschool at home. 


The teacher and staff were only concerned with what my son could not do, and not one time did they mentioned a positive achievement.  Why?  He was a brilliant little 4-year-old and deserved to be celebrated despite the difficulties he faced.


Then, before we knew it, we were moving again. Another unfamiliar state and new schools.  I again started the enrollment process only to find our district in this new state could not find the right school for my son.  The school close to our new home did not have a school nurse, the school in the opposite direction was at capacity.  The solution was to enroll him across town.  I just could not believe we were fighting to enroll our son in kindergarten. 

Then it hit me. It does not have to be this hard.  I went home and started researching.  I was a kindergarten teacher before I was his mom. How hard could teaching our son at home really be?  No one I knew homeschooled their children and no one I talked to really understood how I could even consider this crazy idea. But I was a determined mom. 

What I found was that our current state did not require an affidavit until age 6, so my rationale was that if I messed up this year, we could try kindergarten the next year in the public school.  My son could work at his own pace.  We could customize his education and set goals meaningful to his unique needs. 

Fast forward to the current school year. We are finishing up our 5th year of homeschooling.  We actually homeschool our daughter too.  She has always been a homeschooler and when you ask if she would be interested in attending public school she replies with a “no, thank you.”

The joy and peace homeschooling has brought our family could never stand up against the fear I felt that first year.  Epilepsy has taken so much from our family, but it gave us the gift of homeschooling. Our children are closer than ever, we have freedom to explore and travel, and when the military shakes up our lives we have consistent education in our home.

I believe my children have been able to blossom because we do not place them in a fish bowl of only children their same age, which is unnatural if you think about actual life.  They get to interact with children and adults of all ages.  They are not compared, rather they are celebrated for the individuals they are.  They are 100% comfortable with who they are.  They are free to express themselves without the fear.

Thinking about homeschooling?  Research your rights, services available to you in your area within your budget, school district or insurance based.  I also suggest sitting down and making a list of strengths and weaknesses that your child has. This will help you find curriculum and activities to fill your day. 

The best part of homeschooling is the flexibility you have at your fingertips.  Home environments offer flexibility that a classroom never can.  You can take breaks as needed and create your schedule to work around things like doctor or therapy appointments.  Find friends in the homeschooling community that you can lean on and learn from.  Therapists are also a significant source for activities and help.  Isolation and exhaustion in special needs parenting is a real threat, so finding that community whatever it looks like is key. Lastly, celebrate!  Create moments to celebrate every day.  Dance, make pancakes with sprinkles, and clean up that mess later!  We get to stop, slow down and enjoy the adventure with our children. 






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SPED Homeschool Community Member Nick H.


Last year I became a homeschooling father to a 7-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy.  My son’s mom had already started the home school process with him, but as circumstances dictated I took over from there.

At first, I assumed homeschooling would hold a kid back from the sped up progress that traditional school settings achieve.  I could not see how a few hours of school work at home compared to 8-hour traditional school days could equate to greater learning outcomes.  This year has taught me that equating time to learning was wrong.

Being a father who homeschools has given me an alternative view on homeschooling and the advantages it provides my son like one-on-one teaching, reduced distractions, and individualized accommodations. 


…I have learned how much easier I can accommodate for the needs of my son at home versus the process an equivalent accommodation would require in a traditional school.


Homeschooling has given me a new appreciation for education.  As a parent of a child that has Cerebral Palsy, I have learned how much easier I can accommodate for the needs of my son at home versus the process an equivalent accommodation would require in a traditional school.

Teaching as a homeschooling parent isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. The way my son interacts with his mom and I during his schooling is amazing. He seems so much more focused and confident in doing his schoolwork. Watching him grow and learn has been the biggest highlight on my new homeschooling dad journey.






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By Dawn Spence

Am I the Best Teacher for My Child? This is a question that I still ask myself all the time. I know it is driven by two things guilt and fear. Guilt that I am not doing things perfectly and the fear that I never will.


Well I am right I am not doing it perfectly and I never will, but that is okay. I am learning that my kids don’t need a perfect mom or teacher. Instead, what they need is for me to keep going and never give up on them or myself.


Homeschooling is a journey of trial and error and finding out what works. Sometimes it is trying 5 different math curriculums before you find the one that is the right fit. Just because you make the effort to try each of those options and don’t give up is is what makes you the right person to homeschool your child. You kept looking and searching. No one loves your child like you and wants him or her to succeed like you do. You make it your mission to wake up every morning and help your child to do better to learn something new.


Teaching special needs children can be tiring when your child is not catching onto a concept you have been teaching for weeks. But you have the gift of not moving on because you are homeschooling and can set the pace based on the needs of your child. I would think I was failing my child because she was not learning to read or learning a new math concept, but I realized in the midst of that struggle that I am the best teacher for my child because I push her on and we work through it together.


My daughter has a learning disability and remembering things for her can be a struggle. We keep trying and working through lessons until she gets them. My heart takes it personally when she is not learning and the fear comes when I start to think I am not teaching her what she needs.


Momma guilt is real. Anyone can teach your child, but it’s your heart’s pursuit to teach beyond the struggles which will make your child soar. Just the other day, my daughter reminded me of this exact thing. While she was playing, and she looked up at me and said, “Momma thank you for believing that I am smart.” I melted. Then, I prayed. “God let me see teaching my children is not about me being perfect, but having a willing and open heart to teach them the best I can each day.”


So yes, I am the right teacher for my child and so are you.


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By Dyana Robbins, M.Ed.

As the new year approaches, more families will be considering homeschooling. Each January, an influx of new homeschoolers hits online forums, support groups and homeschooling resources looking for encouragement and help. If you are one of those families, making the leap into homeschooling might seem terrifying. I hope to dispel that fear by sharing the reasons our family chose to homeschool and how that decision has played out the last eleven years.

1. American culture is tough on childhood
Some areas are blessedly immune from the frantic pace characterizing the majority American culture, but I don’t live in one of them. Pressure to have children involved in lots of activities and perform at a high level erodes the quality of life for even our youngest children. As we pushed back against this trend, we found that a more relaxed lifestyle allowed our children to thrive. This led us to reconsider schooling options as they approached kindergarten. We wanted our family to have a rich, well-rounded life and to be well-rested and happy.

2. We wanted a strong family for our children

The pressures on families today mean that they spend little time together that is not rushed. We desired to model and teach our children life lessons through daily life and shared experiences. I’m so thankful we have been able to do that the last eleven years. We have traveled many places, made special family relationships, shared ministry experiences, and collected a lifetime’s worth of joyful memories. While our family is far from perfect, we laugh, cry, live, and love well together. I credit much of that to the lifestyle homeschooling has afforded us.

3. Our children do not learn well in typical classrooms

Our preschool experiences demonstrated that typical classroom learning failed to impart true learning to our boys. We had committed, skilled teachers, a great environment, and still they could not learn well. When our children were diagnosed with developmental and learning disabilities, we hoped they could thrive in a classroom with appropriate supports. That did not happen for us. This does not mean that all families in our situation should homeschool, but I do believe it means homeschooling must be an option for all families who need it.

Homeschooling has allowed our children to surpass every expectation therapists and doctors originally held out to us. With all the time, love, help, and attention we have been able to offer them, we have seen tremendous improvement. I am so thankful that we have had the ability and freedom to make this choice for our family when we needed it most.

4. Our Spiritual Convictions
Spiritual reasons are often cited for homeschooling, but I think our family has a twist on this qualifier. Yes, our beliefs were important to us and we wanted our curriculum to reflect those beliefs. However, we also wanted our children to gain exposure to opposing value systems and grapple with them. Homeschooling has allowed both in a way that provides the time and space for deeper discussion, interaction and reflection.

Also, we wanted our lifestyle to reflect a greater focus on others and service that flows from our convictions. Traditional schooling schedules make that very challenging. Homeschooling offers freedom to live our convictions more fully.

5. It’s an Adventure!
So, if you are standing on the edge of this decision, you might be experiencing fear or apprehension. You don’t know how this will turn out. Will your children thrive? Can you teach them well? How will you stay sane while living all day with your children? These are common questions almost every parent considering homeschooling asks. We had them too.

Can I suggest to you that those very questions might just be a reason that you should homeschool? No adventure comes without risk. That risk is the heart of all grand journeys. Following expected paths may seem comforting, but it will never challenge, stimulate, or incite growth in your family like launching into the unknown will. Our family has enjoyed many wonderful experiences and changed in ways we never could have if we had followed a wider path.

The learning, and self-awareness that comes with homeschooling is worth the leap. Even if you decide after a while that homeschooling is not the right decision for your family, you will make that choice with the confidence and knowledge gained from experience.

Eleven Years In
My oldest son is a ninth grader and decided he wanted to attend our local high school this year to graduate with a trade certificate and explore a world he doesn’t know. We grappled deeply with this decision and allowed him to attend school this year. We are still homeschooling our younger son.

Having a foot in both worlds reveals several things to me that I share in the hopes it might help you with your decisions.

  • My son is only able to be successful in public school because of his years of homeschooling.
  • The concerns we had about public schooling are valid, but his age and maturity are allowing him to navigate them well. The strong base of responsibility and family support that homeschooling has helped us cultivate is partly responsible for his success.
  • Our family has a deeper appreciation for all that homeschooling has given us as a foundation for the children’s teenage years. I am immensely grateful that we have been able to pour so much love, instruction, and time into them.




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