Homeschooling Special Needs: Resources and Support
If you’re homeschooling a child with special needs or considering doing so, finding support is vital. Sometimes it can feel like you’re alone in your journey, especially if you live in an area with few homeschoolers or resources for special needs families. Fortunately, with the many resources available online, parents all over the country can connect with experts and other special needs families for advice and support. You don’t have to do this alone! The services below offer individualized learning plans, online tutoring, parent support sessions, mentoring, curriculum recommendations, recommendations for local service providers, and more. You’ll also find blogs and websites created by parents homeschooling special needs children and online support groups. Whatever struggles your family is experiencing, there is someone out there who has been through it too and is willing to help.
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Different by Design Learning
Shawna Wingert of Different by Design has experience as both a special education teacher and as a homeschooling mother of two boys with special needs. Different By Design’s aim is to help parents of children with learning differences, behavioral challenges, and other special needs. In Shawna’s blog, you’ll find a wealth of information on sensory processing disorder, ADHD, anxiety, autism, and more. For a fee, Shawna also offers individualized learning plans, online tutoring, and parent support sessions. For a video interview with Shawna, watch Homeschooling with Special Needs and Learning Differences.
SPED Homeschool is a nonprofit organization that connects special education homeschooling families with information, materials, services, and support. SPED Homeschool’s board and team members have a wealth of experience in homeschooling and special education. The website offers articles, videos, podcasts, guides, and more that address a large variety of special needs. They also provide SPED Strong Tribes, which are free regional online communities where you can connect with other parents for support.
Homeschooling with Dyslexia
Marianne, the creator of Homeschooling with Dyslexia, has over 20 years’ experience homeschooling her seven children with dyslexia. In this website’s blog, you’ll find valuable information about dyslexia, teaching tips, curriculum suggestions, encouragement, and much more. Homeschooling with Dyslexia also offers parent courses and a mentoring program for a fee.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
HSLDA offers families personalized support for homeschooling with special needs. This service is included, at no additional charge, in the cost of an HSLDA membership. HSLDA’s Special Needs Consultants can review test reports and make recommendations for curriculum, program planning, and provide encouragement. They also have a directory of private, homeschool friendly providers and can help parents find tutors, evaluators, or therapists in their area. You can find more information about HSLDA membership here. For more information about HSLDA’s consultants, or to make an appointment, stop by the HSLDA Educational Consultants Facebook page.
Kathy Kuhl of Learn Differently is a writer, teacher, and speaker who homeschooled her dyslexic son from 4th through 12th grade. Kathy offers homeschool coaching sessions to parents of children with dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and other challenges or learning disabilities. During the coaching sessions, Kathy advises about homeschool planning, choosing curriculum, setting goals, and methods to help your child learn. The first 15-minute consultation is free. Additionally, Kathy’s blog provides a wealth of information and tips about homeschooling children with special needs.
The National Academy for Child Development (NACD) Homeschool Programs
NACD is an international organization of parents and professionals dedicated to helping children reach their full potential. The organization designs specific plans for each child based on a neurodevelopmental assessment. The plan includes curriculum suggestions, customized teaching strategies, scheduling help, and continued support. Even if you are not interested in purchasing NACD services, you can still find valuable information in their website’s articles section.
Facebook groups can be a great way to connect with other parents who are homeschooling children with special needs. Below are some groups you may want to try. If none of them is a fit for your family, you can search Facebook for others. There are countless support groups on Facebook.
- Special Needs Homeschooling
- SPED Homeschool Support Group
- SPED Homeschool Resource Sharing Group
- Different By Design Learning – Special Needs Motherhood and Homeschooling
- Homeschooling Dyslexic Kids
- Autism & Homeschooling
- Homeschooling our Aspergers, ADHD, ODD, etc.
- Homeschooling the ADHD Child Support Group
- Dysgraphia and Homeschool
- Homeschooling with Chronic Illness
- Homeschooling and Down Syndrome
- Unschooling Special Needs
- Homeschooling Special (Needs) Kids
- Special Needs Homeschool
- Homeschooling on the Spectrum: Autism, Aspergers, PDD
Blogs About Homeschooling With Special Needs
The following blogs provide information, advice, and encouragement to parents of children with special needs. The authors are all parents who are experienced in special needs homeschooling.
- Inside Our Normal – The author of this blog has experience homeschooling children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, giftedness, dyslexia, and dysgraphia.
- Our Crazy Adventures in Autism Land – A mom who homeschooled her son with autism shares her experiences, information, and encouragement.
- Ben and Me – A mom homeschooling a child with ADHD shares her experiences and advice.
- Every Star is Different – This blog is written by a mom of children with various special needs. Also, her husband was diagnosed as an adult with autism, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder.
- Special Needs Homeschooling – A mom of four children with autism writes this informative blog.
- Raising Life Long Learners – Here, you’ll find posts about parenting and homeschooling gifted and twice-exceptional children, from a mom experienced in both.
- ADHD Home – A mom with ADHD shares her experiences in homeschooling and homemaking.
Podcasts About Special Needs Homeschooling & Parenting
These podcasts provide advice, information, and encouragement to parents of children with special needs. Some of them are specifically geared towards homeschooling families, while others discuss parenting and education but don’t focus on homeschooling specifically.
- Bringing Up Betty – Parents share their experiences raising, and in some cases homeschooling, their children with special needs.
- Empowering Homeschool Conversations – Each week, this podcast hosts a guest and discusses issues relevant to families who are homeschooling students with special educational needs.
- Milestones Podcast – Pediatric Occupational Therapist Allison Carter discusses child development, sensory processing, and other special needs topics.
- Speech and Language Kids Podcast – Carrie Clark, a speech and language pathologist, shares information about teaching children with speech and language challenges.
- The Coffee Klatch Special Needs Radio – Learn how to better understand your special needs child through interviews with authors, psychologists, advocates, and children’s foundations.
- Special Parents Confidential – This podcast is for parents who cannot attend seminars or support group meetings. It presents interviews with experts you’d typically find in these settings.
- ADHD Experts Podcast – This podcast brings in many different experts who answer questions relating to family life, education, work, and more.
- Unexceptional Moms – Ellen Stumbo and Erin Loraine offer hope and encouragement to special needs families.
Blue Collar Homeschool
In Blue Collar Homeschool’s Facebook group, you’ll find encouragement, support, and ideas for homeschooling students headed for trades, the military, technical careers, or entrepreneurship. This group is for all homeschoolers who are interested in pursuing educational goals outside of the college prep path. While the group isn’t specifically designed for special needs learners, many parents there (including the admin, Cindy LaJoy) are homeschooling children with various special needs. Cindy and others in the group are full of advice and encouragement for homeschooling children who learn differently.
Blue Collar Homeschool also has a website where Cindy offers encouragement to parents whose children are working towards “A Different Kind of Homeschooling Excellence.” The site has curriculum recommendations, post-high school information, and a blog. In the blog, you’ll find posts about Cindy’s family’s personal experience, blue collar career profiles, and more.
You can homeschool your child with special needs! There are lots of amazing teachers, but they will never be able to love or care for your child like you do. The best schools won’t be able to provide the one on one, personalized instruction of homeschooling. The most highly-trained experts don’t know or understand your child and their unique needs as well as you do. You are the expert in what’s best for your child.
As you consider homeschooling, I hope these articles will be encouraging to you:
- You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Student
- Homeschooling 101: Homeschooling Special Needs
- Teaching the Special Needs Child
- Homeschooling a Child with Unique Needs
- Why I Broke Up With My School District to Homeschool My Child With Special Needs
- Biblical Encouragement for the Special Needs Mom
Note: This post was originally published on May 25, 2020, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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