By Peggy Ployhar

 

Are you looking for quick instructional videos that will show you some of the best tips and techniques homeschooling speakers, consultants, therapists, and curriculum providers share for helping struggling learners achieve various goals? Look no further than the SPED Homeschool YouTube Channel. Below is just a sampling of some of the videos you will find on our channel to help you prepare for helping your child reach various goals.

 

Social Skills

Scaffolding for Playdate Learning Success

 

Behavior Intervention

Teaching Behavior Modeling Through Audiobooks

 

Self-Esteem

Helping Your Highly Sensitive Teen Develop Self-Esteem

 

Large Family Group/Combined Learning Different Levels

A Large Homeschool Family That Plays Together, Learns Together

 

Reaching Enough High School Credits

Combining Credits for Homeschool High School Transcripts

 

Spelling

Making Spelling Tactile

 

Writing

Spotting Writing Blockages and Making Modifications for Your Student

Breaking Down Writing into Bite-Sized Tasks

 

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension Strategies

 

 

Need more help?  Search the SPED Homeschool video library, or check out one of  our playlists.

 

Also, make sure to  subscribe to our channel so you are the first to know when our newest video has published.  And, make sure to check out our broadcast schedule for a listing of all of our upcoming live interviews which allow you to interact with our special guest.

 

I leave you with one final video that provides a bit of encouragement when you start looking at your child’s pace and wonder if you are doing enough, you question your child’s ability, or you are falling into the comparison trap we all too easily fall prey to.  

Why Parents Should Forget About Developmental Timelines

 

Be encouraged. You got this…and we are here to help you stay strong through your homeschooling journey!

 

 

 


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SPED Homeschool Team  

Just as in life, special education homeschooling comes with its own set of highs and lows, peaks and valleys. These may look different for each of us, but the journey teaches us important lessons with each new challenge. In this post, our SPEDHomeschool Team Members share the peaks and valleys they have faced in their journey of homeschooling special needs and what they have learned from those hard moments.

 

Amy Vickrey

This year has been a big valley in our lives in general. However, life affects how our children learn. One year ago, I became a single mom. The details aren’t important. What is important is that my kids looked to me this year to see how I would react, to learn real-life lessons in love, faith, and trust. I have worked every day to show love, thankfulness, and strength. I want my boys to grow up to know that women should be strong, a part of a team, and you should stand up for what is right. These life lessons have been ever-present this past year. Many people encouraged me to put my boys back in school, but I saw the need they had to be close and seek comfort and shelter when things were tough. This year, homeschooling has been our peace, our solace when things were tough and we needed something “normal.” It has allowed us to escape into field trips and fun activities when needed, and discover a bond between my boys, my parents, and I that would not be there without the time and love we have shared. I built a team of family members, therapists and doctors to help us navigate this difficult year, work through regressions that occurred, and continue to moving forward.

 

During all of the turmoil of our daily life, my oldest son also struggled with vision issues. Diagnosed with amblyopia last year, he began with 20/250 vision in his left eye – the legal limit for “blindness” being 20/200. He made quick progress with glasses, but could not tolerate the patches due to sensory issues. So we dilated his good eye. Which means he could see even less. Through it all, he showed amazing strength and determination. He continued to progress in reading and math. While his handwriting has suffered some, we are now getting back on track with the help of an amazing team of Occupational Therapists.

 

The bottom line is, I know this is just one valley. It has been a tough year. And yet, I have seen so much blessing come out of it. My oldest still showed academic growth, my youngest (3-year-old) is now receiving needed services and has potty trained (no more diapers – yeah!). Despite all the hardship, we are a close-knit family and have found a deeper love for each other and for God. Through all the difficult times, I could look back and see the hand of God protecting us and guiding us through. Because of His guidance, I know we can get through anything together. Homeschooling has allowed us the ability to navigate this last year in a way that has blessed us tremendously.

 

“I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength.” Isaiah 12:2.

 

 

Dawn Spence

Homeschooling can be overwhelming especially when you add on atypical learners. My valley—and something that I have had to rise above—is thoughts of inadequacy. I am a very type-A person who expects a lot of myself, which can be good sometimes or self-defeating at other times. I taught public school for 10 years, and in that environment, you are judged on your students’ success. So my worth as a teacher was measured by scores. When I became a homeschool mom, I had to fight against this way of thinking and allow myself the freedom to teach my children without judging myself. It was hard, and I often beat myself up when my kids were not meeting goals. But then I had to realize that my kids’ learning is about mastery and growth; I had to allow myself grace.

 

My peak is watching my children grow at their pace in their way. I love getting to know my children’s strengths and watch them bloom. I love to see them have those moments when the lightbulb comes on because they get a concept or lesson. I love that my kids are not compared to anyone and are taught as individuals. That is what I wanted to do as a teacher, and I’m so blessed that I get to live that out with my best students, my children.

 

 

“It’s when I realized that [my son’s] best was all I could expect, and that was good enough. This is the highest peak! This is where freedom is!”

 

 

Cammie Arn

As a veteran homeschool mom with 20+ years experience and still in the trenches with my youngest who is 4, the one thing that I have learned is to not sweat the small stuff. There is freedom is not comparing our children to others; however, we also need to have the confidence to trust that we ARE doing what is best for our children.

 

My difficult valleys in my homeschool came when I lacked the confidence in my ability to teach. It had nothing to do with curriculum or my child’s performance. It had much more to do with the ugly monster of fear. Could I do more? Is this enough? Should I do this better? It’s a slippery slope of despair. The darkest valley.

 

However, once I realized that my best was all that was needed, that is when freedom came. That’s when I discovered that is was OK that my son only wanted to read the Bible and that he didn’t want to read Shakespeare or do Latin. It’s when I realized that his best was all I could expect, and that was good enough. This is the highest peak! This is where freedom is!

 

 

Peggy Ployhar

Since our homeschooling journey started in such a large valley there was no way except up for us to go from there.

 

Our introduction into homeschooling was anything but easy since it started with an autism diagnosis, my son’s private school not having any options available that were workable for him, our public school wanting to only focus on his behavioral and reading issues instead of his depression, social anxiety and academic giftedness in math and science, and my own personal depression and anger issues. We were nowhere close to being a family chosen as most-likely to homeschool, especially successfully. But it was the only choice we had, and so we followed the peace God gave us above the nay-sayers of the world and dove headfirst into the adventure.

 

Now 17 years later, I know without a doubt that the valley God took our family into, to twist our arm to start homeschooling, was the turning point that has led us to the many peaks of success we have seen over the years with our children. I could go on and on about the peaks in my children’s homeschool careers as well as the peaks I too have experienced as I have allowed God to change me as their mother and teacher, but there is one peak that rises above the rest. Just last month I wrote an article called The Greater Benefit of Homeschooling, where I highlight this greatest peak we reach in our homeschooling. And, it is a peak we all can reach no matter what academic potential our children have. It is scaled not by the places we take our children, the lessons they learn from us, or even the skills they develop. Instead, the pinnacle success of homeschooling is the strong bond we have the opportunity to develop with our children.

 

I am truly blessed to have such amazing relationships with my children and each day as we converse and continue to walk the road of life together, we just keep scaling higher and higher on this great mountain that allows me to keep speaking truth, wisdom, and love into the places in my children’s lives that need to be spoken into. Meanwhile, the lies of the world have less impact as they shout out from the distant valleys down below.

 

 

Rewards of the Journey

Creating a place of support, giving ourselves room to grow, strengthening bonds with our children—the lessons we learn in our valleys are what propel us to our peaks. The special education homeschooling journey is not without its challenges, but the rewards are well worth it!

 

 


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By Dawn Spence

 

A common abbreviation that is used in special education is an IEP. It stands for your child’s individualized education plan, and it defines your child’s academic and behavioral goals. Your child’s IEP will be unique and is based on their abilities. This can help guide you in reaching their learning goals.

 

Before you get started writing your child’s IEP, you will need to gather the necessary information to form appropriate goals and objectives.

 

1. List Your Child’s Strengths and Weaknesses
You should start with a list of what your child is doing well and the areas that need growth. When you are listing the strengths and weaknesses, you are defining their present levels of performance (PLOPS). I found a form for $1.00 that is a great checklist to start with.  You can find that form here. I found others when I searched “present levels” in the search engine on Teachers Pay Teachers: some were even subject based (i.e. math, English, etc.). You may also search the acronym “PLOPS” and different forms will appear and many are free. 

 

This is one of the most important documents for writing your IEP. This information builds the foundation of what you want your child to learn and what you want your child to achieve. Their strengths and weaknesses should be written for both academic and behavioral areas.

 

2. Gather Former Testing or Observations
This can comprise of any testing that has been performed by a school district, home testing, or tutoring. Most testing always has a section that lists areas to work on and may even list some goals.

 

3. Collaborate with Therapists
If your child receives therapy, their therapists are a great resource. Therapists have checklists that they use to make their therapy goals. My daughter’s therapists and I work together so that we cover as many goals as possible. Therapists can also see different strengths and weaknesses that you can not always see.

 

4. Compile Work Samples from Current Curriculum
For example, if you are working on math and your child can add but not subtract that would help you develop a goal. Also, many curriculums have placement tests that you can use to find where your child is currently working and where their progression should lead. These placements are available on many websites and most times are free.

 

Now that you have gathered all your resources and information you will be ready to start writing your IEP. Later this month,  Amy Vickrey will be writing a post that will address the next step of writing an IEP.

In the meantime make sure to check out the IEP resources we have on our IEP Pinterest board.

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar
 
Often when we write or talk about homeschooling in the United States, we see it through the lens of our surrounding established homeschooling landscape. Earlier this month (May 2018), I had the privilege of speaking at the Global Home Education Conference in Russia where my lens was greatly adjusted.

While in Russia, I heard many countries present on the current state of homeschooling in their homelands. Additionally, I had the chance to speak with researchers and hear about some of the latest data being gathered from all over the world regarding various homeschooling practices, laws, and trends.

It would be impossible to share with you all I learned, especially since I will probably be processing much of it for a long time into the future, but I have decided to specifically share some trends that surfaced during the GHEC 2018 conference in relation to special education homeschooling.

5 Worldwide Special Education Homeschooling Trends

1 – 35% Special Education Homeschool Rate in North America
In speaking with leaders and policy makers, many leaders shared with me they were seeing a special needs rate between 33% to 37% in their homeschooling population. And although these figures didn’t surprise me, the fact these leaders were throwing these numbers out without me asking communicated how pressing this issue was with the homeschoolers they were seeking to support.

2 – #1 Reason to Homeschool in the U.K.is Special Educational Needs

As the representative from the United Kingdom presented the state of homeschooling in his country, one of his slides gave percentages his organization had gathered relative as to why parents in his country choose to homeschool. The number one reason given was “Lack of provision for child’s SEN (Special Educational Need).”

3 – Special Educational Needs are the 2nd Most Influential Catalyst in the Russian Homeschooling Movement
Homeschooling in Russia is on an explosive growth pattern for many reasons, but one presenter at the GHEC 2018 stated that “Just behind the lack of proper education for remote village children, the second most influential factor had to do with inadequate means for the Russian schools for teaching children with special learning/behavioral needs.

4 – Canadian Homeschooling Trend: Special Needs Rates One of the Top Three Reasons to Homeschool
In the report given on North America’s homeschool status, the Canadian representative pointed out that the top 3 reasons parents in Canada are choosing to homeschool were because of bullying, special needs, and the public schooling agenda being taught.

5 – Research on Homeschooling’s Differentiated Education Continues to Be an Optimal Choice for Children with Learning Challenges

The largest segment of data presented at GHEC 2018 in relation to special needs came from the researchers who presented new and past studies on the how love, differentiated instruction, child­-paced lessons, interest-focused learning, and teaching with immediate feedback create an optimal learning environment for any child, but especially a child who struggles.
 

The Increase is Evident
There is no doubt that the shortcomings of institutionalized special education are causing the increase in parental choice for homeschooling. Add to this increase the current rise in learning and behavioral issues among children, coupled with the inability for schools worldwide to provide the specialized instructions needed by these students, and we better understand why homeschooling is increasing in the special educational realm.

As this population grows, so does the need for reliable and consistent support, resources, and training. This community covers a vast spectrum, from gifted and 2E learners to children with extreme challenges who progress so slowly in learning new concepts that from the outside it may not seem like they are progressing at all.

Coming Together to Support More Families
The need is huge…no it is colossal. But, thankfully those burdened to help these special needs homeschooling families are also increasing in number. It is the goal of our organization, SPED Homeschool to unite those burdened to help these families so we can save their time, energy, and money while teaching to the specific needs of their child, no matter where in the world they live or what means they possess to teach their children.

How about you?

Are you homeschooling a child with special learning needs and in need of support, encouragement, and resources? Then we would love to have you join our support group, check out our website, our podcasts, our videos, and our Facebook page on a regular basis for new content, use our Pinterest recommendations, and sign up for our newsletter.

Or maybe you are looking to further support the special education homeschooling community through your experience as a veteran sped homeschooling parent. If that is the case, I would ask you to prayerfully consider joining our team and then filling out this application if you feel led to do so.

Other ways you can help our outreach is by becoming a donor partner with a one-time or on-going gift; partnering with us in prayer for our needs and outreach through our new prayer calendar; or become a partner organization so we can tell our community about a service or product you provide that is beneficial to special education homeschooling families (It is free, just fill out this short-questionnaire and upload a logo or image we can use on our website.)

 
Looking Ahead
The growing number of special education homeschooling families around the world does not need to be a concerning trend. Instead, this movement is creating learning environments for children that really work…one child at a time. My prayer, as I look into the future and what kind of report will be brought to the Global Home Education Conference in two years (GHEC 2020) in the Philippines regarding special education homeschooling is that the concern currently felt for these families will be replaced with the excitement of a growing movement that is unified and empowered to teach each struggling learner in the manner they were designed to flourish and reflect the image of God into this world.

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar

Recently I received a call from an exasperated mother who was desperately trying to find a way to teach her son. After homeschooling for 14 years and graduating her oldest, who was also a struggling learner due to a brain injury, she felt she had exhausted her teaching arsenal and was still coming up short in being able to teach her younger autistic son.

Questions to Revelation
Our conversation started with this mother asking if I knew of any different curriculum options she could try. But, instead of offering my best advice on curriculum, I led her through a series of questions to find out what teaching techniques had worked with her son and what his main interests and hobbies were. At first, her responses to my questions centered around all the curriculums she had bought in the past that were now filling her shelves, no longer being used for one reason or another. But, as I continued my questioning, she started deviating from talking about curriculum to talking about her son and the success he had experienced through their homeschooling endeavors. Eventually, our discussion moved into ways she could use the curriculum she already had, employ the services of her local librarian to find books focused around her son’s interests, and start building learning around those interests.

As our conversation came to an end, this mother confessed to me, “Maybe I just need to change how I teach my son instead of trying to find another curriculum.” Of course, this conclusion had been the main goal of my questioning.  But, if I had just told her to change her way of teaching at the beginning of our conversation, she wouldn’t have understood what I was talking about. It was only after leading and letting her discover the importance of individualizing her son’s education, that she truly understood how teaching her son was more about what she did instead of what she used.

The Homeschooling Advantage of Differentiated Education
Did you know in a survey done in 2002 of special education homeschooling parents “the majority of survey parents (58%) designed a curriculum for their children.” As a matter of fact, this same study reported that “All the parents in the case studies designed the curricula for their children based upon their ability and interest levels.” And, “most of the mothers criticized packaged curricula.” Now, you must understand that back in 2002 when this survey was conducted, there weren’t many homeschool curriculum options specifically targeted to teaching children with learning challenges.

It is interesting to note though, that in 2012 when special needs homeschooling curriculum was starting to abound across the country at homeschool conventions and book fairs, Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI  summarized in an exploratory study of homeschooling outcomes  the main advantage of homeschooling both learning disabled and gifted children was “The informal environment that homeschooling provides allows ‘differentiated instruction,’ not a one-size-fits-all version that is typical in public schools where teachers must meet the varied needs of twenty or more students in the classroom. The personal approach of schooling at home provides a natural environment to customize the curriculum for learning disabled and academically gifted children alike.”

In looking over many studies and surveys, including those cited above, as well as drawing from my decade and a half of experience in consulting with special needs homeschooling families, it is easy to conclude that differentiated instruction, utilizing student specific accommodations and modifications, is not only the best way to homeschool a struggling learner but a homeschooling freedom that’s particularly advantageous to utilize with children who do not adapt well to traditional teaching methods.

A Widening Gap
I apologize ahead of time to anyone I may offend with my following remarks, but the reason I feel many special education homeschooling parents have moved away from implementing specific differentiated instruction has to do with special needs homeschooling curriculum developers who market products towards a specific diagnosis or learning disability. Now, I love curriculum and do feel parents can benefit from using both regular and special needs homeschooling curriculum, but when a parent believes a specific curriculum will teach to their child’s specific need to the point the curriculum itself provides the necessary differentiated instruction, that is a problem.

Too many homeschooling parents have reasoned themselves out of providing specific and individualized instruction for their child because they believe their special needs curriculum is providing enough learning variation on its own. Unfortunately, with the vast spectrum of learning disabilities and challenges confronting special needs homeschooling families, it’s impossible for curriculum providers to create materials able to meet the specific needs of all these unique children.

The Missing Link From a New Approach
Ultimately, parents who homeschool children with special educational needs will find the most effective way to teach their child doesn’t come in a package. Rather, it comes from being a student of their child, learning how to implement specific teaching strategies and methods and figuring out which ones work best in teaching to their child’s needs, locating resources that work with their child, and coaching their child one-on-one through the learning process.

We at SPED Homeschool have started the process of creating resources that connect parents to the training and support needed to properly modify, accommodate, and adapt curriculum and teaching methods to better fit the unique needs of their students. Our articles, live training broadcasts,  podcasts, and support tribes are already helping hundreds of families every day in their special education homeschooling endeavors.
 

This article was originally written for Schoolhouse Rocked. The author approved editing and reprinting of the original content.

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar

 
As I cited in my previous article, The Then and Now of Special Education Homeschooling, more parents who have children with special educational needs are choosing to homeschool as a reaction to the lesser quality educational options offered by public or private schools. But, with this transition, many parents unknowingly bring the same teaching mindset they were looking to leave at school into their new homeschooling experience.

Below are the 4 most important distinctions of how specialized home education differs from an institutionalized special education program and opens the freedom potential parents have in homeschooling a child outside the box of special education.

1 – Schooling is focused on the positive aspects of your child, not the negative
Special education within a school setting was created to detect and correct a child’s learning issues. By focusing on what doesn’t work well for a child, the negative aspects of a child’s learning disability becomes pronounced in their lesson plans and overall educational goals.

The beauty of homeschooling is that although a child may still struggle with an ability to learn, a parent has the freedom to design lessons around the positive ways a child can learn. Over time homeschooled children learn what methods and tools work best to help them learn, which they then can adapt and eventually carry into their adulthood.


2 – A child is taught according to their gifts, not their deficits
All children have specific gifts, as well as deficits. Unfortunately, non-academic gifts are outside the reach of a traditional special education classroom. Homeschooling allows a parent to supplement a child’s studies with opportunities to work on specific skill sets and gifting alongside the subjects the child struggles in. This ability to blend academic and non-academic pursuits allows a child to find success in their studies where before they may have only met defeat.

Turning interests like cooking, woodworking, computer programming, acting, or even martial arts into school subjects is not out of the question when you homeschool. The options are endless on what you can turn into an area of study and the benefit of adding these classes for children who struggle in core curriculum subjects, is they start to realize learning can be fun instead of an always defeating experience.

3- Progression happens at the rate your child learns, not against a “norm”
Classroom learning and grading, in general, are based on norms. If a child is not keeping up with a specific norm, then they are considered “behind.” Schools focus on working with a child to get them “caught up”. Unfortunately, each child is unique and those who are more pronounced in their uniqueness will never quite match a level of “normal.”

Homeschooling, on the other hand, not only allows children to be unique it can celebrate their unique qualities. Schooling at home allows a child time to discover how they learn best, not how to learn like everyone else. Each lesson learned by a child in a homeschool setting sets the bar for what lesson comes next, no matter how long it takes the child to move from one step to the next.

4 – A lifestyle of learning replaces a compartmentalized learning process
Many children with learning challenges also struggle with translating a learned concept to another part of their life. This inability for a child to learn one lesson at school and then translate that same lesson to a scenario at home or in a “real world” setting prolongs the learning process for these children.

When a family starts homeschooling, they also start a shift in how learning is perceived. Learning is no longer just found in books, in classrooms, or on a computer, but everywhere in life. Every experience, every encounter, and every relationship brings lessons to be taught as well as lessons to be learned that flow over the boundaries of subjects and grade levels. This decompartmentalization of learning removes many learning translation issues which in turn speeds up the child’s overall learning process.

For a child who experiences learning challenges, educational delays, or struggles with a disability or medical condition, a specialized home education approach provides opportunities to succeed in learning instead of hurdles they must get beyond. If you embrace those freedoms as a homeschooling parent, you will be rewarded in watching your child soar above their struggles and embrace the learning process…for life!

If you would like more information about getting started in homeschooling your student with special educational needs, make sure to visit our Getting Started Page .

We would also love to have you as part of our community! Come connect with almost 2k families on our  SPED Homeschool Facebook Support group as we daily discuss the ups and downs and ins and outs of homeschooling a child with learning differences. If you are not on Facebook, make sure you sign up for our newsletter because we have some new regional groups launching soon that will allow you to connect with other local special education homeschooling families in your area.

This article was originally written for School House Rocked but was re-edited and reprinted with the author’s permission.

 

 

 


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Peggy Ployhar – Written November 2017

Thanksgiving celebrations all over the United States gives families time to pause and thank God for all He has done for us over this past year.  At the top of my list was my family, especially the many answered prayers God has worked out in the lives of my children.  But, next on my list was this new ministry, SPED Homeschool.

 

If you are not familiar with SPED Homeschool, other than the articles we post on our website or the free resources we offer for special education homeschooling families, I am excited to have this chance to share with you why we have so much to thankful about.

 

Where it All Started

SPED Homeschool incorporated as a nonprofit in late August (2017) to fill a resource and support void in the national special education homeschooling community.  But, that is not where SPED Homeschool got its start.  A little over two years ago, I accepted a volunteer position with the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) to work on their customer service team and help with their efforts in supporting the Texas special needs homeschooling community, just like I had done in starting up a special needs outreach in Minnesota for MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators).

“But, there was a stirring inside me I couldn’t shake…one that kept me looking at the greater need for special education homeschooling families beyond our state borders.”

Over these past two years, my work for THSC grew from a volunteer position to a staff position, and my team also grew to include an assistant consultant and eight volunteer team members.   We were working well as a team, and it showed.  A speaker at the THSC convention this past May told me she felt “THSC had the premier state organization special needs department” and I had to step back and smile at all God had brought together. But, there was a stirring inside me I couldn’t shake…one that kept me looking at the greater need for special education homeschooling families beyond our state borders.

 

When Curriculum and Online Support Is Not Enough

For those on the outside of the special needs homeschooling community, it looks like these families have everything they need to successfully homeschool. With an ever increasing number of special needs homeschooling curriculums and Facebook support groups to cover most diagnoses, an outsider would say these families have a strong support base. 

 

With all that is available, navigating the many options requires more precious time than these families can afford.  Offering a trust-worthy, one-stop place with a national reach to provide recommendations to the best resources, support and advice became my goal.  In addition to curriculum suggestions, parents are looking for local support groups, local co-ops, local therapy providers, and state and county resource providers who are special needs AND homeschool friendly.  

 

These resources are extremely difficult to track down unless someone in their area, like a local or state special needs homeschooling consultant, has taken the time to scout them out. Instead, these parents struggle to do this leg work and advocate for their child in a completely new schooling realm, while juggling the already taxing load they have raising and homeschooling at least one child with special needs.

 

Who We Are

In early June of 2017 I approached THSC about stepping out of my position and taking my team, minus a dedicated assistant special needs consultant, to start a new national special education nonprofit ministry.  THSC not only blessed my request, but have worked to help promote our efforts from the start.

 

Five of the volunteers who had been working with me at THSC had also been feeling the need to grow our ministry, so they transitioned as part of our team and board:  Dyana Robbins,Dawn SpenceShanel Tarrant-SimoneCammie ArnMyeshi Briley, and Elaine Carmichael. And, soon after our launch, we added three more members our team Sherry Martin, Kimberly Vogel, and Jennifer Cullimore and two more board members Dianne Craft and Dr. Jan Bedell.

 

Each of these team and board members are parents who took the leap to homeschool their own student with special educational needs.  Some are still in-the-trenches teaching every day, and some have graduated their students and are now fully devoted to helping other parents on this journey.  But the great calling we all share is to minister to families who are homeschooling children with learning challenges.  As our team and ministry continues to grow, our main goal is to help SPED homeschooling families in every facet we have been helped by God and others along our own homeschooling paths.

 

What We Are Doing

It has been a busy fall for us at SPED Homeschool, but we don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

 

Since starting SPED Homeschool in late July (2017), our first steps in setting up outreach to special education homeschooling parents has been:  
  • Recruiting influential and knowledgeable board members in the field of special education homeschooling
  • Branding SPED Homeschool to be an approachable, yet professional, organization for special education homeschooling parents
  • Developing a website with useful and pertinent static content pages
  • Scheduling content calendars for blogs,images, and videos
  • Building an Internet presence through social media streams (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube)
  • Incorporating as a Texas nonprofit on August 24, 2017
  • Receiving IRS approval on September 28, 2017 with a Federal 501.c.3. tax exempt status

 

Why Special Education Homeschooling is Growing

Current statistics are now showing a 25% special education student demographic already within the homeschooling population, which spans a wide range of learning difficulties.  Plus, one of the fastest-growing groups seeking parent-led homeschooling education are families already in the public school special education system or those whose children are enrolled in early childhood intervention programs which experts feel is much greater than the current national learning disability diagnosis rate of 13%.

 

Families who choose to homeschool, do not do so lightly. Many, just like myself 14 years ago, realize homeschooling is the only educational option able to provide the necessary customized instruction their children need.  These families sacrifice careers, time, and money because they believe their children have a better future than most educational institutions are willing to help them achieve.  These are parents are determined not to let their children become one of the increasing statistics of our failing public school special education programs.

 

These statistics show that only 65.5% of students in the US, who have a known learning disability, graduate high school as cited by the Grad Nation Report .  But, even the majority of these graduates are not ready to transition into a meaningful job or into higher education.

 

A recent survey on this subject stated 90% of current students labeled with learning disabilities had the ability to make a successful job or higher education transition if they were helped to establish a support system before graduation per The Hechinger Report . Unfortunately, most of the programs in our current high school education system are not focused on this effort and most students who graduate are not prepared for life beyond their high school career.

 

We can’t do this without you!  

Since SPED Homeschool is a nonprofit and our bylaws are set up in a way to not require membership because of the financial hardship many of our families face, we completely rely donors and partners to keep our outreach going.

  • Please pray for God to move mightily in providing for our needs  
  • Help us get the word out about our nonprofit and how we are working to fill the gaps that currently exist for families who homeschool children with special educational needs

 

Fall 2019 Update – 2 Years into this Journey

We now have partnered with over 110 organizations, host a weekly live broadcast that reaches on average 900 viewers/listeners a week, have a solid leadership team, and are already working on some very exciting new developments for 2020 which will include upgraded technology and reach of our broadcast and regional support groups on a site that follows HIPAA compliance standards so our families can start sharing local resources with one another and connecting with each other in person.

 

Our board, team and I are excited about the hopeful future ahead for special education homeschooling families and we thank you for your consideration in supporting us in our calling to fill the gaps for special education homeschooling families. 

 

 

 


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Question: “I am a homeschooling mother of 4, (ages 7-12). I’m at a loss as to how to homeschool my son Nathan, who is 12 years old.  He’s behind in everything. It takes him all day to do his work. He freezes when he looks at his math papers. It takes him forever to write anything.  I know he’s smart, but he says he’s “dumb.”  I want him to be an independent learner, but don’t know how to get him there.”

 

Answer:  It sounds like Nathan has shut down on school work, and is giving up.  He is doing this because he doesn’t have any other strategies to move on past the “stuck” phase.  This is  the exact population I taught in my 6th, 7th and 8th grade Resource Room.  I called it my “Intensive Care Unit.”  All my students had given up on learning.  In spite of good parents, teachers, and effort on the student’s part, they met with more failure than success.  I knew that I needed to do something different than was going on in the regular classroom, using regular curriculum. They needed what I call, “Healing Teaching.”

 

What is Healing Teaching?

 

Healing Teaching is a teaching method in which the teacher comes along -side a child and gives him learning strategies.  It teaches the child how to use his brain, by modeling this with him. It sets up each lesson to ensure immediate success.  It takes many baby steps towards that success.  There is no “getting behind”, because the work is done together in a finite amount of time, with the goal to learn the material…not necessarily to do all the problems, or all the worksheets.  

 

The content of the grade level is never compromised, but the method of teaching is turned “upside down.”  As they are gently led to the right answers (and wrong answers ignored, versus pointed out), they begin to relax, and enjoy learning, and become confident in their ability to learn.  This is why I referred to it as my Intensive Care Unit.  I saw these wonderful students as having a severe case of the “learning flu”.  This process can easily be done at home, even with other siblings to teach.

 

Examples of Healing Teaching Methods

 

Leading to Correct Answers
We are going to use gentle methods to lead them to the correct answers.  For example, in my Remedial Reading class, my students came into the room, and folded their arms; resistant to any reading aloud, or any phonics program.  What to do?  I took away the non-essential parts of decoding…such as writing, tiles or remembering rules.  I wrote long words on an overhead transparency with the “decoding unit” that we were working on in color in the long word. I also had a picture of the decoding unit, and the sound it gave, taped on the overhead transparency.  If a student sounded out the word incorrectly, but used the decoding unit (like “au”) correctly (remember we had the “au” over the picture of a saw), I would say, “I agree with the first part of the word, now let’s look at that tricky last part. Then I would re-write the last part on the transparency, and we would see if we could find a little word in a big word, or some other strategy.  When we did that, the student found he could always decipher the word correctly. We never went on until we had questioned (together) each part of the word to see how we could tackle it (not a fast method…but a healing method). Their confidence grew, and after a week or so, they were asking to have a chance at the longest word in the list for the day.  You can see how by the end of the year they all tested two years ahead in reading!

 

Jazzy Spelling
Spelling was always hard for them.  So I showed them how to use their wonderful photographic memory.  We took the longest word, like “psychology” and jazzed up the letters, giving funny meaning, color, and even blood on some of them.  In only one session they found that they could not only spell that word, and the other words we were working on forwards, but they could just as easily spell them backwards. Using Healing Teaching they learned to believe in themselves as learners as they had the secret strategy to easy spelling.

 

Paragraph Blobs
Writing paragraphs or papers was not easy for them.  We tackled this job together. No workbooks, worksheets or curriculum.  We did this together on the board. We came up with an easy topic, drew “blobs” to put our ideas in, added one word reminders of sentences, and then added the transitions to this Right Brain Webbing method.  The students found that the paper practically wrote itself.   

 

Careful Correcting
When we were done, we “corrected them together” using an overhead transparency.
At first, they were terrified of this process, and did not want their paper to be used.  But, then they saw what I meant by “correcting”.  I began by giving them points for every good thing they had on the paper.  For example, if they started with a capital letter, they got a point, had an adjective in the sentence, they got a point, ended with a period, they got a point.  I read it out loud, ignoring any spelling errors, and just pointing out the good thoughts, words, or grammar, and giving points for all of that. At the end we added up the points together for prizes (like gum)…they loved it.  

 

Harvesting Mistakes
They soon were adding many adjectives to their sentences, and more sentences, until we were doing multiple paragraphs.  What did I do with their misspellings (which were numerous)?  I “harvested” them.  That means I made mental notes of the spelling words that we were going to put in our spelling list the next week, and “jazz up” the troublesome letters. They were beginning to feel smart, as they wrote longer, more sophisticated papers each week.

 

Nathan’s Success
Nathan’s mom reports that just by doing the math on a white board (no video or workbook), modeling how to do them and then making a “template” to put on the wall, that she saw Nathan smile all day.  He was getting things right without having to cross out a checklist in a workbook. Mom said she wanted to cry and even put it in capital letters in her email, “SMILING.”

 

Grace’s Success
Grace’s mom wrote me about her 15 year- old daughter who was having such anxiety about schoolwork that they had to technically stop schooling her because of the tears and frustration. Upon switching to Healing Teaching with each subject, Grace’s mom says that she is now doing all subjects, and enjoying school!

 

Emma’s Success
Emma’s mother contacted us because her twelve-year-old was spending a lot of time crying during the school day.   She was frustrated having to re-do her workbooks or because she was experiencing trouble remembering how to do a math problem she had just learned the day before.  We sent Emma’s mom a plan to switch Emma’s school day to include the subjects she needed, but with an entirely “healing” way to teach her, leading her to the right answer each time.  

 

Her mother called, and Emma told me that she now likes to do school.  She likes to write paragraphs, and loves spelling with her photographic memory.  She is remembering how to do her math problems because her mom has made a zany “template” of each process and kept it on the wall.  Her mom found the secret to helping Emma feel smart.  

 

Mom made the statement that she had to do an entire “paradigm shift”.  It is difficult to adjust to teaching to success by ignoring mistakes. But, pointing them out tends to wound our already wounded kids. Of course, we eventually want to correct the mistakes, but we wait until the next day, and incorporate that in the lesson, without pointing out the error.  This keeps the healing going.

 

Long-Term Success
We don’t have to do this forever; in fact, not usually for more than a year. Then they can go back to regular learning.  No more “getting stuck” for these guys!  Experience a “Success-Driven” school year.  It’s easy!

 

To see more of Dianne’s resources, visit

www.diannecraft.org

 

 


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It’ that time of year again, when everything is pumpkin flavored, field trips consist of visits to apple orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches…and school starts to develop a routine.

 

I am all for routine, and so are most of our special education homeschooled kids, but sometimes it’s nice to add a touch of the season to our school lessons.  So, if you’re feeling the need to add some seasonal flair to your special education homeschooling, here are 20 ways to add some fall spice to your schedule.

 

20 Fall Special Education Homeschooling Activity Links

  1. Fall Candy Science – Ideas on how to use candy corn for a variety of STEM activities
  2. 10 Fall Movement & Sensory Activities – Both inside and outside fall activities
  3. Pumpkin Craft for Speech Activities – Craft and activity that can be used to work on any speech goals
  4. Fall Themed OT Activities – 30 fall activities to choose from to add a seasonal theme to your home-based OT
  5. Fall & Thanksgiving Themed Unit Study – Ideas for fall and Thanksgiving books, crafts, activities, studies, writing projects, and games
  6. Why Do Leaves Change Color Science Project – Using just simple things you already have in your yard and house, you can teach this easy seasonal science lesson
  7. Autumn Sensory Story – Lots of links and ideas on how to create a sensory storytelling experience for a child with multiple learning delays and/or who is blind/visually impaired
  8. Halloween Social Stories – 16 different stories to help teach children learn how to deal with Halloween social situations, as well as 2 videos parents will find helpful
  9. Fall Lego Building Challenges – 20 Lego building challenges all based around the fall seasonal theme
  10. Fall Tree Luminaries Craft – Easy craft project that turns basic jars into glowing works of art
  11. Leaf Preservation Ideas – Learn 3 different ways to preserve beautiful fall leaves
  12. Fall Sight Word Scavenger Hunt – Make reading more active, while working on sight-words with this great outdoor scavenger hunt
  13. Scarecrow Alphabet Activity – Help your child work on letter recognition with this fun scarecrow activity you can create with felt, a die and some stickers
  14. 20 Fall Speech and Language Activities – Lots of great fall resources on this post to help you work with your child on speech and language goals
  15. Fall Leaf I Spy Game – Free printable game of Leaf I Spy
  16. 30+ Pumpkin Learning Activities – Great list of many ways to use pumpkins to teaching learning concepts
  17. 40 Fall Fine Motor Activities – Extensive list of ideas on how to incorporate the fall theme into fine motor skills practice
  18. Fall Books for Speech Therapy – Learn how to use 4 popular fall books to work on speech goals
  19. Pumpkin Writing  – This cute craft and writing project will get your child writing with simple prompts what require short answers on how to step by step carve a pumpkin
  20. Fall Unit Study – This study contains ideas on ways to incorporate the fall theme when teaching literature, language, art, math, science, and even history to your child


For more fall SPED homeschooling ideas, make sure to check out our SPED Homeschool Fall Pinterest Board.  There are new pins being added to the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards every day, so subscribe to all of them so you don’t miss a thing.

 

 


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By Peggy Ployhar

 

Years ago, I pre-programmed a customized workout on my treadmill.  The program I set was extreme.  But, because of the way I modulated the settings and learned to keep my mind off the fluctuating program and instead on a book or movie, I can endure the workout, and burn more calories, than if I had just used one of the pre-set programs.

 

Years ago, I pre-programmed a customized workout on my treadmill.  The program I set was extreme.  But, because of the way I modulated the settings and learned to keep my mind off the fluctuating program and instead on a book or movie, I can endure the workout, and burn more calories, than if I had just used one of the pre-set programs.

 

By varying the speeds and incline, to almost my breaking point, but then quickly having the program alternate the speed and incline to the opposite extreme, the program tricks my body into thinking it’s getting rest at each change.  Additionally, with my mind focused elsewhere than the switch’s timing, the workout can be rather enjoyable as well as rewarding.

 

Circumstances, the Treadmill of Life

God tends to work the same way through my life circumstances.  He pushes me hard enough to reach a peak, and then changes my circumstances to press on me at a different speed and towards a different obstacle. At the same time, He gives me a completely different focus to set my mind on, a promised eternal life with Him (the best story out there if you ask me).

 

Instead of starting and stopping the work-out when the fatigue is too great, God makes calculated changes to continue building my strength and endurance.  This is how we as humans learn best and increase our endurance.  The work-out of life is just that, a work-out.  Our job is to stay on the treadmill no matter what the next change in the program brings and to focus on the reality of a beautiful life yet to come.

 

…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

 

Endurance is the Goal

As followers of Christ, we are called to endure, to be steadfast, to keep on walking and to not get discouraged.  In doing what we are called, just putting one foot in front of the other and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, we grow stronger and learn how to be more like Him while showing people around us God is greater than our circumstances.

 

In looking back, the things I felt were such tough obstacles now look like mole hills in comparison to what I am facing today.  But, I am prepared, because God supplied the training I needed to tackle these mountains, through the workouts of my yesterdays.

 

The Special Education Homeschooling Workout

Some days the task of special education homeschooling seems like an unbearable workout.  The program set for your treadmill of life is daunting to even think about.  And, many days it takes all the energy you have to stay on your feet and keep walking.

 

We at SPED Homeschool understand your struggle.  We have lived through those experiences and still are increasing our stamina and endurance with new struggles we experience on our own homeschooling journeys. This is why we are here for you, not because we have all the answers, but because we have learned some lessons we can share which hopefully will give you encouragement and resources to make your workout just a little bit easier.

 

Together We’ll Endure

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or podcast channel, join in our live events or get connected with our SPED Strong Tribes

 

We have new content coming out all the time to help you endure. 

 

Together we can do this. God has set the program, now let us be obedient and show the world how His plan can work as we lean into Him for the strength we need and endure the workout ahead of our children and helping them achieve their own version of success!

 

 


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