So here you are! You’re either seriously considering homeschooling your child with special needs, or you’ve already decided—and that is a huge step!
Now you’re ready to come up with a customized plan to help them learn throughout the year: a way to set goals, plan deadlines, have regular evaluations, and adjust course as needed throughout the year. (Bonus: it also serves as a record of your kiddo’s progress at the end of the school year!)
If you are an HSLDA member and you’ve been working with one of our special needs consultants, you may already have received personal guidance and know your next steps to drafting The Plan.
But perhaps you’re reading this at midnight and wanting information NOW! We get that! So, let’s get practical.
How do you create a student education plan?
A great way to begin is to take a moment and rest in the assurance that homeschooling by nature truly provides a highly personalized educational experience for each child, much like a public school IEP (Individual Education Plan). The homeschool version
is known as as a Student Education Plan or SEP. (You can learn more about what an SEP is in Part 1 of this series and check out 7 Reasons to Create an SEP, along with a helpful list of SEP resources in Part 2.)
It’s also a great idea to check out your state’s homeschool law regarding teaching children with special learning needs.
Next, we recommend following the five steps in the Clinical Teaching Cycle Model developed by Janet Lerner, Ph.D., to develop your child’s very own SEP. So, let’s get started:
Start with an evaluation by a professional, such as:
- an educational psychologist or educational diagnostician
- a learning and/or reading specialist
- a speech and language pathologist and/or audiologist
- an occupational and/or physical therapist
Expect a written report explaining your child’s strengths, special needs, and recommendations.
(By the way, if you’re an HSLDA member, your HSLDA Special Needs Consultants can help you determine which professional you should talk to first to best meet your student’s unique needs. Or, if your student has already had a diagnostic evaluation completed, then your HSLDA Special Needs Consultants can help you to interpret those assessment results and map out a teaching plan or an accommodation strategy.)
Your testing professional, therapist(s), private learning specialist, and/or your HSLDA Special Needs consultant may now work with you to develop a customized, written plan called a Student Education Plan (SEP).
Written educational plans should contain:
- Your student’s biographical information
- Summary of your child’s present levels of performance
- Specific goals
- Time frame for accomplishing goals
- Materials, resources/curriculum, therapies, accommodations, and modifications, and teaching strategies needed to achieve these goals
Want to learn more about finding special needs friendly curriculum, adapting curriculum to your child’s specific needs, and incorporating at-home or outsourced therapies in your SEP? Check out this series.
Here’s where you dig in and put the SEP into practice in your child’s daily and weekly homeschool program.
After utilizing the plan for a predetermined period of time, you and/or your support professionals may realize:
- Some goals are either too difficult or too basic.
- Other materials or interventions may be better or needed.
- So some changes to the IEP are necessary.
Based on your evaluation of how the plan is working out in real life, you may recognize that some goals and deadlines should be adjusted to be more appropriate for your child. So, go ahead and modify the SEP as needed to better equip and enable your child to experience learning success.
Great—now you’ve got it! Repeat these steps as necessary, and feel free to call an HSLDA Special Needs Educational Consultant if you’d like some more advice or support.
Consider This a “Friendly Momma Service Reminder”
We’ve all seen “Friendly Public Service Reminders” that cheerfully caution us to remember important things. So, here is a friendly reminder for you, as a homeschooling mom.
Every now and then, all of us need to be reminded that we don’t have to walk this journey alone—and we really shouldn’t.
So, please, don’t try.
Homeschool moms can be so dedicated to meeting the needs of their kiddos that, at times, they forget to take care of themselves. It can be easy to neglect ourselves, but keeping your tank full is essential for the daily pouring out that you do. We are
here to help you stay engaged and get the input and encouragement you need to stay energized in the journey.
To learn about HSLDA Special Needs or other homeschool speaking engagements, retreats, and seminars offered virtually or in your area, click here and
scroll down to “What’s Happening?” Or, you can contact us and we can guide you to homeschool friendly special education professionals in your area, resources, and even support groups.
Most homeschoolers feel alone sometimes—it’s normal when you’re undertaking such a big responsibility and commitment. But know that you are not actually alone at all. There are thousands of families like yours traversing this journey alongside you. You’ll feel supported and encouraged when you get connected with community. Feel free to reach out to us—we are here to help!