What Comes Next? Life Skills with Special Needs Homeschoolers

For some parents, having a special needs child is the impetus to homeschool. Many families are choosing to homeschool because their special needs children’s needs are not being met in the traditional classroom. For others, it’s just one more challenge they aren’t sure how to face. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, homeschooling a special needs child is an adventure!

Homeschooling allows the flexibility for students to go at their own pace.  You get the set the schedule.  You can change the curriculum if it isn’t working.  You can have one long work period, or several shorter work periods spaced out with transitional times.  With family-style schooling, older special needs students can school alongside younger siblings, at the same level, without them feeling as though they’re “behind.”

It can daunting to think about what post-graduation brings for the special needs student, but s/he is in a great position as a homeschooler!  In the upper grades years, homeschooling allows students the time to explore passions and career interests.  Take some time to examine your special needs student’s strengths, combining those and their interests to find a career exploration starting point.

Background Information & Resources

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) covers thirteen specific disabilities, but its implementation varies widely from state to state when it comes to assisting homeschool families.  Learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, health disabilities, impairments (speech, visual, hearing, orthopedic, and emotional), intellectual disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries are all addressed by the act.  Check with your state department of education, and HSLDA, to see what your state will and won’t do for homeschooling students.  

A federal agency, the Rehabilitation Services Administration provides vocational rehabilitation and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment and independence after the high school years.  Each state has their own local agency to help work one-on-one with families.

SPED Homeschool and HSLDA are good general resources for any homeschooling family with special needs students.  These resources are primarily for the younger student, but are a good place to start.


Getting Started with SPED Homeschooling


Addressing Specific Needs


Life Skills for SPED Teens

Special Needs-Friendly Curriculum


An Age of Revolution! Exploring World Change in Your Homeschool

From the mid 18th century to the mid 19th century, the world underwent a series of revolutions across many areas of life, including culturally, politically, economically, technologically, and through war. Call it the age of Aquarius…call it a response to the world connectivity spawned by the age of exploration…whatever the reason, new ideas and actions swept the world, changing it forever.

The American Revolution, largely influenced by the Enlightenment period, is considered the beginning of the Age of Revolution.  Then came the French Revolution, Irish Rebellion, Haitian Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and civil unrest in Spain and Germany.  Shortly after the War of 1812, European powers came together to form the Holy Alliance in an attempt to restore the monarchies and prevent future unrest.  Less than a decade later, there were uprisings in Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal.  The working class would no longer sit back, and around the world they began to demand more rights.  

The Age of Revolution also includes the Industrial Revolution – this is when mass production in factories replaced hand-made goods, led to the growth of cities, birthed consumerism, and eventually led to the transportation revolution.

American Revolution Resources

Novel Studies

                  Take a Virtual Field Trip


                  Hands-On / Funschool Learning


                  World Event Unit Studies


                  Additional Reading


                  Government Resources


                  Complete Courses


                  • For more resources, check out Expansion, Independence, and War! It covers both American and world history. Students will learn about major conflicts in American history, spanning from the French and Indian War to the September 11 terror attacks.
                  • The American Revolution course introduces elementary and middle school students to the key battles and players of the Revolutionary War and incorporates history, geography, reading, critical thinking and analysis, and cursive writing throughout.
                  • From the discovery of the New World to the end of the American Revolution, let Dave Stotts take your family on a Drive Thru History. Join him as he takes you to the places where America was born, shares facts about history you have never heard, and has a great deal of fun along the way. Plus, enjoy a special set of worksheets only available here!  Find out more about Drive Thru History

                  Download the FREE World History Timeline with Study Connections!


                  Legal Documents Every 18 Year Old Needs


                  After eighteen years of caring for your child, it can be alarming to realize that on that magical birthday, they suddenly take on ALL the responsibilities of adulthood, whether they are equipped or not. Young adults who are eager for independence may push back against a request to sign a college power of attorney, believing they don’t really need it or you’re trying to control them.  However, at some point or another, most young adults find themselves in over their heads, may end up in credit card debt, wind up in a car accident, or get into trouble at school. All of these are scenarios you, the parent, could assist with at age 17, but cannot once they turn 18…unless you have some legal protections in place ahead of time.

                  Medical Emergencies

                  HIPPA / Healthcare

                  HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is a federal law that creation national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.  This act also contains standards for individuals’ rights to understand and control how their health information is used. 

                  The act was created to make protect individuals’ healthcare information, but comes into play with your adult children when, at age 18, you can no longer legally go with them to appointments, inquire about test results, or even find out why they are in the hospital unless the child has given express, written consent.  

                  A few of the things you need HIPAA consent for include:
                  • Appointments
                  • Test Results
                  • Insurance claims
                  • Billing
                  • Benefit eligibility inquiries
                  • Referral authorization requests
                  Protect your child by having him/her complete a HIPPA authorization form.  Send one to the college and keep one on file at home.

                  Medical Power of Attorney

                  A medical power of attorney form is strictly for health care choices should your son or daughter become incapacitated.  There is also the option of a general durable power of attorney, which covers financial decisions as well as medical.  Find your state’s medical power of attorney information here.


                  Financial / Durable Power of Attorney

                  Durable POA enables a designated agent (such as the parents) to make financial and medical decisions on the student’s behalf.  When signing it, your child can choose whether that power transfers immediately or only if s/he becomes incapacitated.  You can also write in start and end dates to reassure that this is a limited power of attorney for college.

                  Powers may include:
                  • Managing bank accounts
                  • Paying bills
                  • Filing taxes
                  • Applying for government benefits
                  • Breaking a lease

                  A durable power of attorney document applies only in the state in which it was formed—so if your child is attending school in another state, you should secure power of attorney for the other state as well. Some states also require the signature of a witness or a notary public.

                  College-Specific

                  FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

                  Generally, schools must have written permission from the student to release any information from a student’s education record.  This includes class schedules, transcripts, and grade point averages, but also extends to financial records within the school, such as scholarship information and money due, and living circumstances, such as dorm room assignment or any personal issues the student experiences.

                  Protect your child by having them provide written permission allowing the school to discuss all FERPA-related topics with you, as needed.


                  Protect Your Child in 10 Minutes

                  You can get all of these young adult power of attorney documents at Mama Bear Legal Forms.  It’s considerably cheaper than going through a standard lawyer because this is what she does, and she has templates for each state, rather than re-creating the wheel each time (it’s the time that costs you more money).  

                  You’ll want to have these in place before your child goes off to school, but don’t fret if you’re running behind — there’s no time like the present!  The package includes: HIPPA, FERPA, power of attorney for health and finances, plus a free App for scanning, storing and sharing.  If you visit through this link, you’ll also save 20% off your order.

                  Exploring Asia in Your Homeschool

                  As the largest and most-populated continent, Asia birthed some of the world’s oldest civilizations and continues to shape the world as a whole in the 21st century.  From the Bronze Age ‘Assuwa,’ to ‘Anatolia’ in the Golden Age of Greece, to the approximately forty-eight countries that comprise the region today, economically, politically, and culturally, studying Asia and its history helps students to learn more about the modern world.



                  Resources to Study Asian Geography


                  Resources to Study Asian History (& Food!)



                  Resources to Study China


                  Resources to Study Japan


                  Resources to Study Korea

                  Resources to Study Vietnam


                  Resources to Study India

                  Resources to Study Polynesia

                  Resources to Study the Middle East



                  Download the FREE Diversity Book List with Study Connections!