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 & ResourcesIndividuals 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
- Teaching the Special Needs Child – everything you need to get started
- Creating an IEP for your Special Needs Student – how to write it & what to include
- A Parent’s Alphabet – twenty-six reminders to keep your focus
- Focus on Special Needs – reference center for parents of SPED homeschoolers
- Freak of the Week – disabilities unit for all students to understand differences
- Surviving Homeschooling gear for mom – because some days you have to physically put on your armor!
Parent Books to Help Guide Special Needs Teens
Addressing Specific Needs
Life Skills for SPED Teens
Special Needs-Friendly Curriculum
- Friendly Biology (science)
- Simply Good & Beautiful Math (math)
- Hi-Lo Reading (reading)
- New American Cursive (handwriting)
- Sensory TheraPlay (sensory needs)
- Forbrain (speech)
- Northern Speech (speech)
- Techie Homeschool Mom (all subjects)
- Notebooking Pages (all subjects; completely student-led)
- Literary Adventures (ELA)