Free Curriculum for Special Needs Homeschooling
Yes, it is possible to homeschool a child with special needs for free! On the main page of FreedomHomeschooling.com, you’ll find free curriculum for every subject and grade. While most of these aren’t designed specifically for children with special needs, with so many options available, you can likely find something that works for your child. One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that you can adapt any curriculum to better fit your child’s unique needs. Consider choosing curriculum at a lower grade level or working at a slower pace if needed. If reading is challenging for your child, you can read the assignments aloud to them. If writing is difficult, have your child complete some of their work orally. If math is a trouble area, try adding more manipulatives and hands-on learning to the curriculum you choose.
You can likely make many of the curriculum options listed on our website work for your child, but I have found several created specifically for children with special needs or learning struggles. Explore these options below.
NWT Literacy Council
You’ll find many resources for teaching teens and adults on NWT Literacy Council’s Youth and Adult Literacy page. These downloadable materials were created for use in Canada. However, most of them will work well for families in other countries as well. Here’s some of what NWT Literacy Council offers.
- English 110, 120, and 130 – These courses cover reading, writing, and other communication skills. Further down on the page, you’ll also find poetry units, novel study guides, and a list of recommended books that are high-interest low vocabulary.
- Career Life Work Series – A series of workbooks covering Career Development, Communication Skills, Dealing with Conflict, Dealing with Stress, Getting the Job, Goal Setting, Job Success Strategies, Personal Management Skills, Planning Your Career, and Soft Skills for Work.
- Everyday Math Skills – This series teaches basic math skills, and includes Home Math, Kitchen, Money Math, and Simply Math.
- Skill Builders for Youth – These kitchen skills activity guides include Food Safety, Nutrition Games, and Smart Shopper.
Parallel Alternative Strategies for Students (PASS)
PASS offers downloadable student workbooks and teacher’s guides in PDF format for most core high school subjects. These materials were written to help students with various special needs and are presented in an easy-to-understand format. You can find the PDFs by searching for “Parallel Alternative Strategies for Students” in the ERIC educational database. Or, to avoid scrolling through all of their offerings, use the links below:
- Language Arts: English I, English II, English III, and English IV
- Math: Consumer Math
- Science: Biology, Physical Science, and Earth/Space Science
- Social Studies: American Government, American History Part 1, American History Part 2, World Geography, World History Part 1, and World History Part 2
- Other/Electives: Personal Fitness, Life Management Skills, and Economics
Society for Quality Education (SQE)
SQE offers remedial programs for students who are struggling with grammar, reading, and math. SQE is a Canadian organization, but the materials can be used by families in other countries as well.
SQE’s Stairway to Grammar program is designed to help children in 7th grade and up who are struggling with grammar. The downloadable lessons do not constitute a complete grammar curriculum. However, they can be used along with a full program to improve your child’s grammar.
Stairway to Reading is a remedial reading program for students who have already received some reading instruction but are struggling with reading. However, with some adaptions, it can also be used with beginning readers. The program includes downloadable lessons, flashcards, games, reading material, and more.
Stairway to Math provides extra practice to help students improve necessary math skills like place value, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, percents, and more. The downloadable lessons include instructions and worksheets. It is not a complete math curriculum.
Able2Learn offers an extensive collection of downloadable lessons, books, worksheets, and other educational resources. These materials are designed to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities master the skills necessary to succeed in their education and build a foundation for independence. Choose “curriculum” from the website’s menu, and you’ll find free materials for every major school subject, life skills, social skills, mental health, and more. Select “visual recipes” from the menu for recipes with clear instructions and pictures of every step. The recipes were created to help children learn independent living skills. Each recipe also includes a literacy component to assist those working on language and literacy skills.
STEPP Program offers modules that teach students with special needs about the transition from high school to college, technology use, healthy routines, finances, communication, and other life skills. Some modules are more relevant to students in a classroom setting, but many are also helpful to homeschoolers.
Community Reading Project
The tools on Community Reading Project’s website were created to help older students with dyslexia and other reading challenges learn to read or improve their reading skills. There are online lessons in blending, phonics, spelling, grammar, fluency, and comprehension.
Free Reading’s phonics curriculum can be used with kindergarten or first graders who are just beginning to read or with older students who need to improve their literacy skills. There are 40 weeks of detailed online lesson plans. The program also includes several downloadable components, including letter cards, word cards, and reading passages.
The Phonics Page
The Phonics Page offers 32 video-based phonics lessons. The program is designed to improve older students’ and adults’ reading and spelling skills. It teaches them to sound words out phonetically, rather than relying on sight word memorization. The Phonics Page is a Christian organization.
Homeschooling Special Needs: Resources and Support
If you’re homeschooling a child with special needs or considering doing so, finding support is vital. In this post, you’ll find resources to help you connect with experts and other special needs families for advice and support. You don’t have to do this alone! You’ll find services that offer individualized learning plans, online tutoring, parent support sessions, mentoring, curriculum recommendations, recommendations for local service providers, and more. The post also includes online support groups as well as blogs & websites created by parents homeschooling special needs children. Whatever struggles your family is experiencing, someone out there has been through it too and is willing to help.
Did I miss anything?
This post is a work in progress. I plan to add more free resources as I find them. So, if I’ve missed any free resources for special needs homeschooling, please tell me about them in the comments or send me a message. To receive updates when we add new free resources to this post and others on Freedom Homeschooling, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
Note: This post was originally published on January 3, 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.