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.
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.
For more resources, check outExpansion, 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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
The Good & the Beautiful is a breath of fresh air for your homeschool! The price is very affordable for families, there are morals included in every lesson, and it’s designed for the busy mom with its open-and-go format. While it is Christian-based, it offers up a neutral world-view, allowing parents to tailor it toward their family’s beliefs. The print quality is amazing, and the vintage reading material is a delightful change from what our children were gravitating toward before we switched to this curriculum. At the high school level, the curriculum is set up to reinforce time management skills and responsibility.
The courses combine subjects, using a cross-curricular approach to tie concepts together. It is faith-based, with a general Christian, non-denominational worldview with the goal of producing not only intelligent minds, but also high character and the ability to recognize and appreciate what is good and beautiful in life and in learning. The goal is not to teach specific doctrines, but to teach general principles of moral character such as honesty and kindness. Affordability is another aspect that separates this curriculum from others — namely, it is affordable! In fact, the company makes their math and language arts curriculum, from levels 1-8, completely FREE for anyone to download
The Good & the Beautiful’s language arts is one of my favorite program components, as it covers reading, spelling, writing, dictation, literature, grammar, vocabulary, geography, and art. By including geography and art, it takes a bit of a unit study approach. For example, in High School-1, unit five covers the Arctic areas. They read a book about the Arctic, and the geography, art, vocabulary, and writing assignments tie in with that region. You can cover quite a bit with just the one class! Each high school course is one credit of English, ½ credit of geography, and ½ credit of art. Pencil drawing is taught in each level. The other mediums taught are watercolor, charcoals, and acrylic paint.
The curriculum is set up to reinforce student responsibility and time management skills in addition to grammar, writing, and reading. Each year is divided into ten separate units. The student is able to take a unit and work on it for two to three weeks before turning it in for grading. However, some students need a little more guidance. In the online support group, there are course schedules free to download in the files section. Additionally, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for students using the Language Arts curriculum (level 7, and high school levels 1-3 are available). These classes meet with a flexible schedule on a weekly basis, as well as live meetings quarterly via video chat. Students have schoolwork assigned each week and work on group assignments throughout the year. These classes help not only the student, but the parent as well, as it puts the burden of teaching onto an outside source, provides a sense of accountability for the student, and allows for grading from a source other than the parent.
The current history includes read alouds, audio recordings, and accompanying worksheets. At the high school level, each quarter (each historical era), the student has a short list of research projects to complete before we move on to the next era. This goes back to student responsibility and time management. I use the term ‘current’ because TGTB is in the process of re-writing all of their history units, but we don’t know when they will re-release or what they will look like.
One of the things I like about history is that it takes the classical education approach – of four different eras of history – and teaches from all four of those each school year. Rather than doing an entire year of ancient history, we’re doing one quarter on ancient history each school year (with each year focusing on a different region, such as Egypt or Greece). It’s easy to get burnt out on a particular era when you’re knee-deep in it for an entire year, so we like that things get mixed up! The history curriculum has a minimum of four read-alouds each year, so if you don’t like reading together, it might not be a good fit for your family. However, for us, it’s given the kids the perfect excuse to still curl up with mom in their teen years.
For folks wanting something a bit different, or teacher-led, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for middle and high school students using The Good & the Beautiful’s Constitution course for Government and Economics and Notgrass for World and American History.
These subjects are topics that come up regularly in the TGTB with Middle and High School Students group. The short answer is that TGTB doesn’t currently offer these subjects specifically for high school and there is no one recommended program, but dozens of choices. You’ll need to choose the one that fits your family’s teaching style, and your student’s learning style, the best.
While you won’t need to keep everything from the courses for a portfolio, you’ll want to keep copies of any essays or research projects, as well as some of that beautiful artwork! Some states require more record-keeping than others, so always check into your state requirements. For our own family, we keep one complete language arts unit, in case there is a question of what type of work was completed, in addition to the above list. Also, you may want to add complete course descriptions (many of which can be found in the files of the high school support group). These, along with the aforementioned portfolio pieces, will usually satisfy any inquiries from colleges or other outside sources…include well-meaning family members.
If you’re thinking on college prep and being ready to submit all that information, we have created a low-cost program for parents homeschooling high schoolers that covers college-prep topics. Check out Through the Door: Homeschool to College Success!
Sparks Academy provides live / blended classes for high school students, using The Good & the Beautiful for language arts, Apologia / Berean Builders for science, and Notgrass for history. These classes meet weekly, allowing students the opportunity to discuss the literature, get additional instruction on concepts covered, and show off their art projects and recitations. Students receive a grade for these courses from a source outside of the home.
Sparks Academy is not affiliated with The Good & the Beautiful, but is run by parents who use and love their curriculum. They are providing support, accountability, and community for upper grades families who use this curriculum by creating an online homeschool co-op for high school students. Currently, students can register for High School Levels 1-3 in language arts. For families who just need a bit of extra help, there are writing consultation packages forLevels 6, 7, and High School(for those who only want essay feedback).
Are you homeschooling a middle or high schooler this year? Some people shy away from the upper grades, but they can be so much fun if you let them! So many options and different avenues of study to pursue. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a little lost, or just plain confused on where to start and how to make the most of these years, then this giveaway is for you!
Check out this AMAZING Prize package from our sponsors!
Seasonal Themed Poetry Copywork packs from In All You Do – These are perfect for Middle & High Schoolers needing a simple introduction into the world of poetry. Each pack includes 18 different seasonal poems with plain lines for print and cursive copywork, for a total of 484 pages.
All About Plants: Botany for Teens and Adults from Julie Naturally – Botany is arguably the most important science to learn and yet it is the least taught. Spend a semester doing an immersive, project-based, rigorous study of plants with this robust course. Match it with your favorite Anatomy and Physiology course for a Biology alternative credit. Taught by a trained master herbalist and NAHA Level 1 Aromatherapist.
Music Appreciation of the Romantic Era for High School from Music in Our Homeschool – The “Music Appreciation of the Romantic Era” online course consists of 36 lessons about the music, genres, styles, and composers of Western Music from about 1800-1900. You’ll learn about Schubert, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rossini, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Stephen Foster, Gilbert & Sullivan, Edward MacDowell, Amy Beach and many more!
Grammar Workbook Set from Brookdale House – This Grammar Workbook set includes a middle school grammar and composition workbook for students that are ready for an introduction to more advanced grammar. Also included is an Answer Key. Suitable for students in grades 6 through 9.
Nature Poetry Unit Study Packet from Geez, Gwen! – This Poetry Unit Study walks students through a discovery of poetry all about nature. Learners will read moving poetry by famous poets and write beautiful poetry of their own. They will be introduced to multiple forms of poetry, vocabulary, figures of speech, and other useful tools to help them deliver work they can feel good about. Multiple worksheets and activities are included as well as quote cards perfect for displaying throughout their space.
Gospel of John Inductive Bible Study Class from Homeschool with Moxie – Are your teens ready to move deeper into studying the Bible? Your students in grades 7-12 can move past just simply memorizing Bible stories and facts to learning how to study Scripture in context. In this online Bible class through chapters 1-12 in the Gospel of John, your teens will learn how to use the inductive method to systematically observe, interpret, and apply the text.
Morning Time Teens™: A Year With Lewis & Tolkien from I Choose Joy – These are the morning time plans you’ve been looking for to guide and connect with your middle and high schoolers! Read all the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. It includes the schedule, discussion questions, and other activities to do alongside your read-aloud time.
Creative Writing Journal from Create Your Homeschool – This creative writing journal is the perfect way to get your middle schoolers writing everyday in a fun and engaging way! With over 36 weeks worth of prompts, this journal is perfect for middle school morning time as well!
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While WW1 did not directly cause WW2, many of its after-effects led to weakened European states who were weak, needed strong leadership, and opened the door for dictatorships. The consequences of the first world war indirectly led to the second.
End of World War I
On the morning of November 11, 1918, the French delegation witnessed the Germans signing the Armistice that would go into effect at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the event that had set the ‘world’ part of the war into motion. The perceived humiliation and harsh terms of the subsequent Treaty of Versailles created a motive for Hitler and the leadership of the Third Reich to seek revenge. One of the terms of the treat was that Germany had to pay the equivalent of $124 million (in 2021 terms). Another term took sections of Germany and gave them to Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Dictators from the Depression
After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the world plunged into a different kind of chaoes. Germany fell into economic troubles, but they weren’t the one country struggling. Russia and Italy also had difficulties recovering. History has shown us that, during times of chaos, people look to strong leaders who they hope will get the job of done so the country can recover. This was no exception. The political leaders who came to power during this period – Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini – were very powerful.
Though born in Austria, Hitler considered himself a German. He fought for Germany during WWI, being partially blinded and shot. After the war, he became a spy for the Social Democratic Party who spied on another German group, the German Workers Party. It was during this time that he became well known and began to get a following. Germans were struggling, financially, as they were required by the Treaty to pay back damages and reparations from WWI. Hitler began to speak out and lead protests. He was sentenced to jail at one point, where he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf. After release, he had even more followers and began his ascent to power.
Tsar Nikolas was overthrown in the Russian Revolution, at the end of WWI, by the Bolsheviks, a Communist party. In 1922, Russia and several other countries joined together to form the Soviet Union under Lenin’s leadership. In 1924, when Lenin passed, Stalin came to power. Stalin wanted to industrialize the Soviet Union to strengthen the economy. He introduced a plan called ‘collectivization,’ where the Soviets took land from individual owners, and gave it to the State (the government). The idea was to increase efficiency, store more food, use less labor (more machines), and send farmers to work in factories.
Mussolini is often seen as the founder of facsism, a fom of totalitarian government with a capitalist economy. Before he came to power, the Italian government was led by a king-appointed Prime Minister. Mussolini had a group of ‘blackshirts,’ people who went around stirring up trouble, beating up political opponents, and generally clearing the way for his rise to power. The king appointed Mussolini as PM in 1922 so that the blackshirts would stop the violence. (This is called ‘appeasement,’ and it’s not a good idea.) In 1925, Mussolini became a dictator, taking away freedoms and forcing loyalty.
Appeasement & the League of Nations
The precursor to the United Nations, the League of Nations was formed at the end of WWI to ensure world war never occurred again. Unfortunately, they were afraid to act against aggressive countries, for fear of starting another war. This was another form of appeasement (remember the king of Italy?). One of the earliest instances of appeasement was when Mussolini decided to invade and conquer Ethiopia in 1935…and the League of Nations did not act. Hitler then decided to try his hand at reconquering some lands.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not to have a large army, but that was ignored as the German army swelled and the country also formed an Air Force and Navy. By the late 1930s, Hitler had begun to annex places like Austria and Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia that had been taken from Germany after WWI). The League of Nations did try to act at this point, and on September 30th, 1938 they created the Munich Pact, which allowed Germany to have Sudetenland, but would not allow them to go any further. This was another act of appeasement.
Post World War II
After World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin created a new international security agency, the United Nations, with hope of preventing WWIII. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as new world super-powers at the end of WW2. They had been allies during the war, but mostly because they had a common enemy. These new super-powers had extremely different views about government and economics — one was capitalist and the other communist — and they had a lot of distrust of each other. This distrust led to nearly fifty years of a Cold War – a war without actual fighting, but with the continual threat of nuclear warfare. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were extensions of the Cold War.
Writing is an integral part of the language arts classes taught at Sparks Academy. We offer four levels of instruction, each building upon the last, until students are ready to write in any form requested of them – whether at a career or college! But maybe you don’t want a full class….how can you make writing fun at home?
Literature Studies & Living Books
What are living books, and how can you use them to make your homeschool shine? Get all the tips & tricks in Using Living Books to Homeschool. Scroll down to snag pre-made bundles of novel studies!
Another fun option for teaching writing is through the language arts classes Sparks Academy! There are four levels offered currently, including High School 1, High School 2, High School 3, and Level 7. (The last one is for 7th/8th/9th grade, depending on your student’s skills.) This is an online co-op, with weekly student interaction in the private classroom forum. Learn more here.