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. 


Peggy Ployhar

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.


Dawn Spence

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.





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He said, “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”


No, this is not a quote about a homeschool mom on a warm May afternoon.  But it could be because this is a foundational truth about love and being loved and being Real.  Most homeschool moms have experienced that sensation of being rubbed off from love.  There were many an afternoon that I called myself “The Velveteen Rabbit”.  This is one of the many foundational truths found in Margery Williams’ book, The Velveteen Rabbit.


These authors of old had a way of capturing the essence of a truth with tales of heroic and  endearing characters, beautiful imagery, use of symbolism.  Those stories end by teaching our children that although, life at times may be hard, there is always hope!


Here are some foundational truths found in a sampling of children’s stories. Remember to always discuss with your children the truths that are exhibited in the timeless tales.


Here are three foundational truths that children can glean from these parables.


1 – Empathy          
“The Ugly Duckling” is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. This story addresses our need to belong and the universal pain we feel when we are not accepted.  Also the story reveals that we should not let others define us.  Although it is not easy, when we are on the other side of the painful experience, we have learned a valuable lesson on how to treat others that are different.  There are many tales that could be used as a beginning point for discussions with your children.


2 – Right from Wrong
The simple Celtic tale of “The Three Little Pigs” written by Joseph Jacobs, demonstrates that there is a right and wrong way to invest your money and time.  The first two pigs were foolish and greedy and only thought of  the present.  The third pig’s good judgement and diligence built his house out of costly, strong bricks and saved his two brothers. His brothers saw the necessity of planning ahead and meeting needs instead of wants and together, the three brothers  vanquished the Big Bad Wolf for good!  These old tales are full of examples of right and wrong choices and the rewards for good decisions and consequences for bad ones. What rich material to use with your children about outcomes of their decisions!


3 – Hope
I believe hope is the most important ingredient in our fables and tales. Vision is the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Proverbs 29:18. The vision of these tales is hope of better times or of a dream come true. 
A Favorite Tale
My personal favorite fairy tale is, “Beauty and the Beast.” I even like the Disney version.  This adaptation is from an eighteenth century fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince.  Belle is full of hope, she is hoping for an abundant life full of love, literature and adventure. She is prepared to wait for what she wants.


The Beast has grown tired of waiting and hope is all but gone for him. However, hope is renewed with redemption, trust, acceptance and the willingness to help another without demanding anything in return.  All is restored and evil once again meets its befitting end.

A Brighter Future
Many of our children today have their hopes and dreams dashed because they feed on the disturbing realities of our modern world and see things too mature for their young minds.  
Some of today’s films, books and television shows for children tell a harsh, hopeless story that even blur the lines between heroes and villains.  Children’s stories should not only be enjoyable but offer character lessons, clear lines between right and wrong and most of all hope!


Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.  Otherwise, you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.   – C.S. Lewis



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