What is an SEP anyway?

IEP, SEP, IHIP, ISP, what?? Just when you thought you understood the alphabet soup of special needs, you decided to homeschool. Now you’re trying to get to the bottom of another pot of mixed up letters and how they impact your child’s learning success. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down together!

Where do we begin? Let’s jump in with this: if your child was enrolled in private or public school, they may already have an IEP (Individualized Education Program or Plan) or an ISP (Individualized Service Plan)—two common terms for a document that is best explained as a contract between the school and the parent that provides detailed information about how the child’s needs will best be met by the school. An IEP/ISP contains specifics so there’s a cohesive, organized educational plan in place to include:

  • what special education related services/specialized instruction/intervention the school will provide for the student
  • the frequency of those services
  • who will deliver the intervention/therapy/services
  • where the services will be provided
  • annual goals (developed for specific areas to include behavior, academics, social skills, language, etc.) 

Sometimes, home educated students may have an IEP/ISP if they have or are currently receiving any related services from a school district. But most of the time, homeschooling parents don’t have these formalized plans in place in their home schools because they’ve already customized their homeschool to the individual styles, abilities and capabilities of their child and—and that’s okay!

However, as the administrator of your homeschool, you may choose to draft a Student Education Plan (SEP) for your child, which is best described as the homeschool version of the IEP/ISP. It’s a really good idea to check your state homeschool laws regarding special needs requirements or, if you’re an HSLDA member, to contact our legal team with any questions. If you’re just beginning to homeschool your child with special needs, you may want to read 3 Essential Steps to Protect Your Special Needs Homeschool.

As an HSLDA member, you can also reach out to our special needs consultants for assistance with creating your SEP, finding therapy and other resources, or reviewing and giving you feedback on an SEP that you’ve put together.

Bet you’re wondering: would my child benefit from this kind of personalized plan—and if so, how? Just click here to read more!