by Peggy Ployhar and Dawn Spence
There are many ways that an IEP can be used in a homeschool environment. Here are two different perspectives from our team on how to use this tool.
I never used a formal IEP for any of my children. It wasn’t until after my oldest, who would have been the one I would have created one for, had graduated, that I did the research and realized the potential of documenting all the accommodations and modifications I gave him during his homeschooling career. I see this as God’s grace over my lack of wisdom, but also His providence in leading me towards this truth so I could inform other families of the advantages having this type of documentation provides in advocating for services, testing accommodations and more especially as a student transitions out of your homeschool and into higher education and the workforce.
Over the years I have talked with parents who had to go back multiple years to create a homeschool IEP in order to get the services and funding their student’s needed, parents who had advocated for service and accommodations for their student because they had done the work and documented progress and accommodations, and all of those in-between.
Yes, looking back I wish I had known then what I know now about how powerful this data is to collect and record, but I am thankful that SPED Homeschool now provides parents the ability to create this document, using our free template and guide, so they can be the best teacher and advocate for their student’s learning needs.
As a former special education teacher, IEPs were a part of my everyday classroom life. This legal document drove how and what I taught. Sometimes I got wrapped up in teaching those specific skills and did not focus on there was so much more my students needed to learn.
In my homeschool life I use IEPs for my daughter, but my approach is different. For instance, I choose a less goals and so I can focus on them, but the learning doesn’t stop there. I also have goals and baselines outside of my IEP. These goals might lead to another life skill goal or be a building block to another bigger goal I have for the future.
One thing that I loved about my time in the classroom is that I rotated goals and worked on certain goals or learning activities each day. Rotating the goals and the activities means I get to cover more skills while keeping things new for my daughter. This I find extremely helpful as certain goals I think she has mastered and then I revisit them because of some memory issues the skill needs to be revisited. After I set up her goals, I look at how many days a week or days in a month I want to cover those skills.
We hope these real-life stories helped you see the homeschool IEP from a few different perspectives and will help you in utilizing an IEP while homeschooling.