MBFLP – Homeschooling With Special Needs | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschooling with Special Needs

This week we talk about homeschooling when your student has special needs–and why home education is a blessing to them. Our guests are the special needs consultants from the Home School Legal Defense Association, Betty Statnick, Krisa Winn, and Faith Berens.

This podcast is sponsored by Reading Eggs.

Mom Homeschooling her Daughter

Learning From Your Special Needs Child

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child | I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications | #HomeForLearning.com #blog #homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #LearningFromYourSpecialNeedsChild #LearningSpecialNeedsChild

In the realm of homeschooling, the most unexpected journeys often lead to the most profound lessons. Join me as I share a personal odyssey of discovery and growth while homeschooling my special needs son. From an initial reluctance toward science to a deep immersion in the natural world, our educational path took a captivating twist. Amidst the floodwaters of our Florida home’s backyard, a unique classroom emerged, fostering hands-on learning and life-changing insights. In this blog post, I unveil the transformative lessons I learned from my son, Neal, as we embarked on a science-filled adventure together, unearthing a newfound appreciation for learning and an unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child

I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications. However, even that could not make me like science. Part of my coursework was on teaching elementary science. I received an “A” in the course but proceeded to sell that book at the end of the semester as if it were tainted with gang-green. Nope! I was not going to teach science in any way, shape, or form. I preferred literature and writing to anything that required analytical thinking, was not straightforward, and made a mess.

Along Came a Transition

Then along came Neal, followed by our decision to homeschool. Our new home was nestled in 2.5 acres in the Florida six-mile cypress slough. (Translation: During the rainy season, this land tends to flood.) And during the rainy season, it was challenging to keep my kids indoors. Neal was six at the time, and his little sister, Christina four. They loved to head outdoors after a rainfall, which often lasted a scant hour but dumped so much water on our yard that it didn’t take many days for the lands to become soaked.

So, what does it mean to live in a flood zone? It means your yard is teaming with wildlife and is a virtual natural sciences lab. The day’s supplies consisted of knee-high boots, a red wagon, a bucket, and nets for scooping up critters. This was soon followed by not one, but two microscopes, one for inside and one that was in the garage. In that way, the children could get up close and personal with their living treasures. It was definitely caught and released. However, the lessons learned were invaluable.

The lessons were two-fold and identified in two separate compartments. One set of lessons was for me, and the other for the children.

Here is a list as follows:

Mom’s Lessons Learned

  1. The well-planned elementary curriculum consisting of textbooks was shelved
  2. Hands-on learning teaches skills that are foundational and memorable
  3. Character qualities were formed through experience, such as patience, fortitude, charity, and understanding
  4. Messes are okay if they instill a love of learning
  5. Safety is important, and learning that “red-on-yellow can kill a fellow” is mandatory in understanding which snakes to avoid
  6. An arsenal of pond life, bird life, and nature books is a must
  7. Many subjects could easily be tied into science
  8. Scientific discovery caused the children to delve deeper into complex thought processes.
  9. What if questions and the word “hypothesis” became part of their basic vocabulary
  10. Reading and comprehension skills soared because of the research required to identify much-needed information.

Kids Lessons Learned

  1. We can keep any animal for the day if we can prove that we won’t kill it
  2. If we keep our messes contained to the deck and garage, anything goes
  3. Mom will buy us anything that has to do with science
  4. Mom doesn’t know everything, so looking it up in a book was easier than asking her
  5. We love looking at the eyes of frogs, lizards, and insects if they hold still enough under a microscope
  6. If we do our seat work quickly, Mom lets us do science
  7. Leaving mom’s suitable measuring cups outside will result in punishment
  8. “Red on black” is not a friend of Jack! However, red-on-yellow won’t kill a fellow but should still be avoided.
  9. Baking soda and vinegar can be used as short-burst rocket fuel, but ask Mom first.
  10. Science is fun!

Ultimately, I learned using nature science was the key to unlocking my child’s critical thinking skills, and I took his learning to new heights. My well-planned curriculum went into the “circular file,” I joined my children as we headed out the door and into the world of nature studies and more! In fact, it was because of this wonderful experience that I wrote the first book I self-published: Teaching Science and Having Fun. I could relate my fears and dislike of anything scientific to those who mirrored my concerns and show that it is never too late for any mom to learn new things.


Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

You can continue reading her story in her very personal story, One More Child, from Media Angels, Inc.

Back to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Back to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling | Every year, when we began school, it was with joy and a bit of trepidation. At this point, I did not have a checklist for my Special Needs Homeschooling. I didn't have a. I wondered what surprises the new school year would hold | #HomeForLearning.com #blog ##homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklist #BacktoSchoolBack to School Checklist for Special Needs Homeschooling

Every year, when we began school, it was with joy and a bit of trepidation. At this point, I did not have a checklist for my Special Needs Homeschooling. I didn’t have a. I wondered what surprises the new school year would hold. We began by reviewing information already learned from the previous year. Many times, there were tears, my tears, not his. And I wondered if he’d ever write his whole name on less than a half sheet of paper, although I did applaud that accomplishment. After a period of prayer, I knew something had to change.

A Realization About My Own Needs and the Idea for a Checklist

I quickly realized a routine needed to take place more for my sanity than my son’s.  In addition, I could chart his progress more readily and not feel we were stagnant when we were actually doing quite well. And so I began what I called the back-to-school checklist. I also created a middle and end-of-the-year list to keep our schooling on track. It was a chance to analyze my goals and make plans without the stress of trying to go to school simultaneously.

Know Your Self, Know Your Special Needs Student

At first, my list was very simple; I started with the big picture and then narrowed it down until I devised a daily schedule and chores. To begin with, I looked at things like my goals for homeschooling and training, such as a particular character quality I wanted to see improved. Then I moved to my philosophy, what homeschool methodology worked for me. I found that my methodology changed at different times in my homeschool journey. At the beginning, everything was very “hands-on” and science-oriented. As my son grew older and his analytical skills improved, we could turn a corner into the area that would be best described as creative, such as writing and beginning a simple newsletter among the cousins in the family.

The Checklist Direction

The checklist kept me going in the right direction, and it was even a blueprint if my child was frustrated; believe me, there were twists and turns along the way. It allowed me the latitude to make decisions and changes very quickly. As my planning became more second nature, I implemented a middle-of-the-year check to be sure our goals were the same or pencil in time to analyze our curriculum and whether it was working for us. One year, I completely scrapped our math program and changed mid-year. It was the right decision for my son, and he flourished. I was happy I had the courage to do this, or I would have had a miserable school year!

Here is a sample of the items on my checklist, and I encourage you to add to this list and create your own.

Ultimate Special Needs Back to School Checklist:

  • Plan – Start big picture and continue to narrow down
  • Family mission statement
  • Family goals
  • Character quality (per child) and even one for family
  • Spiritual goals
  • Curriculum checklist –by subject
  • Weekly Schedule
  • Daily Schedule
  • Everyday Chores
  • Daily Chores
  • Catch-Up Day
  • Field Trips Planned
  • Mini-Vacations
  • Holiday Vacation or Break Time

Make the list work for you; don’t be a slave to this list. The great thing about making a plan is that you have a focus and a direction; your family will thank you!

If you are interested in sample audios that I recorded from a 3-audio set with handouts on the Ultimate Back to School Checklist, please visit my website Media Angels, Inc. and look for eBooks and Audio Downloads.


Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

Felice’s passion for cultivating an enriched homeschooling experience goes beyond the written word. As the host of the acclaimed podcast Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice extends her insights to a global audience. Tune in every week to glean from her vast knowledge and unique perspective on homeschooling. The podcast, a cornerstone of the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, serves as a beacon of inspiration and guidance for parents navigating the intricate landscape of homeschooling. You can access her podcast and explore a treasure trove of valuable resources atUtimateHomeschoolRadioNetwork.com

In Felice Gerwitz, we find more than a homeschooling advocate – we discover a devoted mother, a devout believer, an accomplished author, and a compassionate mentor. Her life story is an ode to the possibilities that open up when you blend unwavering faith with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Join Felice as she continues to inspire, educate, and uplift families worldwide through her podcast and her remarkable journey.


Thank you to our Network Sponsor, Route 60: A Biblical Highway for sponsoring this podcast. Please check out the link here. Route60.movie

Special Replay | Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Tools for Struggling Learners pt. 1Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1

Today we are talking with Cindy LaJoy. You might remember Cindy from a previous episode where we talked about the Soft Skills of Work Ethic. Cindy spent the pandemic busy as ever, learning many new videography skills, working on a graduate degree and co-authoring a book. Along with Natalie Vecchio, Blazing New Homeschool Trails: Educating and launching Teens with Developmental Disabilities

Cindy and her husband have adopted 5 kids, now young adults from Eastern Europe and has a fantastic story of hope for other Moms homeschooling non-traditional learners. Her five kids, some of whom were adopted as older children who did not speak English and were illiterate have over 25 diagnosis between them and yet, as young adults, they have gone on to college, entrepreneurship, owning an award winning business and hiring other developmentally challenged adults. Cindy is also the amazing homeschooling Momma behind Blue Collar Homeschooling and the Facebook page and group Blue Collar Homeschooling.

Cindy has spent the last decade and a half searching out appropriate curriculum, therapies and realistic opportunities for her non-traditional students, as well as helping them develop realistic life skills that have allowed them not only to manage and cope but thrive and become leaders in their own right.

She and her family make their home in Colorado. If you are in the Montrose, Colorado area, stop by their “Best in the Valley” shop, Buckaroos Slices and Scoops, for great pizza, ice-cream, and customer service!

In this episode and the next, we’ll take a look at what’s available for those who are homeschooling non-traditional learners.

FAFSD Hope Podcast Natalie Vecchio

Cindy LaJoy offers these services and classes through True North Homeschool Academy:

Special Needs and Transcripts

Meet Cindy LaJoy!

Join Cindy and me for Part II of Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1 next time on Life Skills 101!

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Resources for Special Needs Homeschoolers, Interview with Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Resources for Special Needs Homeschoolers, Interview with Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville.

Resources for Special Needs Homeschoolers, Interview with Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville

If you are looking for information and resources for homeschoolers with special needs, you are in the right place today. Because today we are with Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville, an expert in special education and provides helpful tips on how to create a successful homeschooling environment for special needs children. 

About Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville

Rochelle is a wife and mama of six boisterous kids, all very, very different from one another. She has been homeschooling for almost fifteen years now, and her biggest accomplishment was graduating her oldest son in 2021. 

They did not know if they would be able to make it happen but they did, and he was homeschooled all the way through. And now, her son is about to graduate at the University of Maryland as a mechanical engineer.

But before this great accomplishment, Rochelle did not necessarily know if she wanted to homeschool, having not been a homeschooler herself, although she knew she loved learning. 

She had very intimate, passionate and positive images and memories of her schooling. Her mother was a teacher, and what she remembers in her childhood is a deep love of learning. She enjoyed learning about everything around her all the time even when she was not in school, such as during days trips with her family and at church. 

What she grew up with was a positive understanding and idea of learning. And this was exactly what she wanted for her own children, to have that same positive image of their childhood. 

When She Decided To Homeschool

Fast forward to the birth of her first-born son who was actually born two weeks after she received her doctorate degree. And as he grew up, they had tons of rich learning experiences out in the community, and she ensured she was very present with him, soaking up education all around him during his first few years. 

At that time, she was also working at the university, and it was time for him to go to school. Rochelle did not want him to stop loving learning. And she did not want it to be shoved “in the box.” 

She did not want his learning to be tamed

Because what he had learned so far was not necessarily systematically appropriate for his age level, or what society or the public school system considered “ready” as a kindergartner. 

For example, if he learned a piece of calculus, he learned that’s what it was. If he learned a piece of social studies that was typical for sixth grade, that is what he learned. This reasoning prompted her with the final decision to homeschool her son.

When she decided to homeschool, she wasn’t running away from anything. She always tells people she was running to something, like the ability to be free with just learning. 

It was the most exciting time in the world for Rochelle. And their homeschool style was very eclectic. But her family was skeptical if any learning was happening. 

Because their homeschooling looked very different from what they were used to seeing for educating a child in a traditional sense. Rochelle still worked full-time and after she got off work, she would come home, eat dinner with her family, and then would do a little school for about one to two hours in the evening.

Her Professional Experience

Rochelle has had a myriad of experiences in her homeschooling years. She is a full-time consultant with Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). She is also the team leader of the Special Needs Educational Consultants.

In addition to that, Rochelle owns her own educational consultant company. Furthermore, she is a mentor teacher, and she pours into the community. She’s also a director for Classical Conversations, which is her local homeschool group.

She believes that she is a vessel in the mission field for God. And she absolutely loves every single minute of it! 

Her website is full of richness and wisdom for you, especially if you have a child you are curious about whether there’s some learning disabilities or differences, and you want advice.

A Mecca of Resources

Rochelle was looking for support for students with a special needs because there weren’t many from what she could find. She decided she was going to be a change maker and step out on faith. She created her own company called EFM Education.

What she did was create small groups and programs and just community support that included not only students with special needs, but also non-disabled students. 

And because she also has a personal investment in it with three of her kids being neurodivergent, she created a space for homeschool moms to get some encouragement and guidance from somebody who is trained, an experienced expert and also a real life mom who understands.

Rochelle is a mecca of resources, as she puts it. Sometimes families just don’t know where to go to find resources. Although she cannot necessarily list every resource, she can get moms or dads on the right path. 

What she says to moms feeling insecure about homeschooling or to moms who went to college to get a degree and became a homeschool mom:

How can you not give the best of you? They may be experts in the curriculum, but you are the expert in your children. Nobody knows your children like you. Nobody is invested in your children like you. Our children are our richest investment. You are not wasting anything investing in these kids.

Tips For Moms With Neurodivergent Kids

Let’s focus on the important things 

Reset and focus before you begin to plan. Think about the reasons why you are even homeschooling or considering homeschool. Think about what is unique and special about your child. Do not think about the obvious answers, think more about the deep-seated ones. 

Then think about your goals. What are your personal goals for this particular child? 

Once you do that, you realize you do know your child, and you start believing you can do this. Because if you only focus on remediating, you forget that you are bringing lots of strengths to the table. 

Hone in on what your child is good at and what their strengths are

Anything that your child is good at, start working from that strength, not from what he is not good at. Whatever the strength is that your child, he or she is bringing that to the table. 

If your child is funny, work from that strength. If your child is a good artist, start there. It doesn’t matter if your child is not reading by the third grade because you can work on those strengths.

For example, you can take that funny personality and work through all these others. There is a place for everybody. There is a skillset that you can shape. 

Know that there is something for everybody

When discouraged parents say they do not think their child is ever going to get a job, that is not true. There is something for everybody. Every job is gracious and valuable in God’s eyes. 

If the Trashman did not go up and down the street, if the mailman did not go up and down the street, if the person did not stock the shelves or did not stack the books correctly, this world would be total chaos. Every little bit counts. 

Some require you to interact with people. Some require you to never talk to a person.You really just have to process what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are and figure out where they belong.

If your child is not a communicator, you can find a job where they never have to talk to anybody.

Not everybody has to be a rocket scientist to have a place in society. You just have to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are and what you need to do in order to get them to that space. 

How To Connect With Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville

Now you know why you need to work with Dr. Rochelle Matthews! As insightful as this is, there’s so much more you can learn from her through her website and resources. Her website is EFM Education and you can contact her via email at info@efmeducation.com or directly on the phone at (240) 528-0867.

You can also find her at HSLDA.org or via email at special needs@hslda.com. 

Also, check out these resources:

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!

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Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar.

Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar.

Transition Planning for Teens with Special Needs, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

Our high schoolers are going to graduate one of these days, so let’s help them (and ourselves!) with being prepared for what happens next. Let’s talk about transition planning for our high schoolers!

Peggy Ployhar, with Sped Homeschool, is going to fill us in on what transition planning is and how to get started.

About Peggy Phar

Peggy Ployhar is the founder and CEO of Sped Homeschool, which stands for Special Education Homeschool. Her oldest was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was five and that opened the door for other educational opportunities the Ployhars had never even considered.

Peggy has been homeschooling for almost twenty years. Before forming Sped Homeschool, she worked for two different state organizations as their special needs consultants. She didn’t come into this by accident, though. She started her own homeschooling journey in similar situations and she’s now helping other families. So you can say it’s helping families and homeschool children who struggle that is really where her heart is!

What Is Transition Planning?

Transition planning is the process of making sure your child with special needs will have the necessary support when they “age out” of the school system.

There are just so many kids that struggle on so many different levels. And, having the experience of homeschooling her own children who all have had struggles in certain areas, and then her parents who have adopted ten children who have homeschooled on and off, Peggy understands the importance of transition planning.

It’s important to ask questions, such as Where are they going? and How do we bridge that gap?

And that’s what transition skills really are. Whether you have a student who struggles or not, that’s something we should all have in the back of our mind, along with having the answers to questions like, “Do they know how to do the laundry?” and “Do they know how to cook?”

In other words, transition skills are life skills.

How To Begin Transition Planning With Your Kids

If we are going to really face the facts that our kids are going to have to live life and do it well, how can we plan for transitioning not only our special needs kids but also all of our kids?

1. Evaluate where the gaps are they need to fill

The first thing you have to do is take a step back and really evaluate what you can fit in the next four years, or the remainder of the high school years, by looking ahead.

If you know your child is lacking in communication skills, for example, you know to introduce more learning opportunities that help strengthen these transition skills. If your kids aren’t great housekeepers, then start a game plan to make them better ones. See where their personal gaps are and then make a plan to fill those gaps.

2. Set goals for those gaps

Once you’ve identified what those learning gaps are, set goals to strengthen these gaps. Consider where you want your child to be and talk to your kids about what their goals are for themselves. Many kids will not really know exactly what they want to do, but it is good to think about it and consider the options. Even trying their hand at a few different subject areas is good for them to discover their likes and dislikes in order to plan properly for the future.

3. Introduce transition skills in their experiences – not only academics

Be sure to do this also for life skills, not only academics. These other transition skills can be cognitive skills, emotional skills, communication skills, life skills, social skills, physical skills, and so on. Find an activity or something helpful that your child can do on a regular basis where they will continue to work on those skills.

They can take co-op classes, join a club, and explore different extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to just try something different that will fill these gaps. You never know where these different activities or classes will take your child!

For example, Peggy’s son originally wanted to go into the military. Because of this, they directed a lot of their studies around the beginning of his first year of high school.

But then the next year, he decided he wanted to be an underwater welder. And even though that took a whole different spin on their classes, they aimed to study more about that.

And then for the following year, he decided he just wanted to go to welding school first before he did underwater welding. And he did that, for three years, until one day he woke up and decided he didn’t want to do it anymore.

And now? At the end of the semester, he is graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering. How’s that for a change?

What If Plans Change?

If your child, like Peggy’s son, decides to go a different route, that’s totally okay. You tweak, and you change as the kids figure out what they want to do. When you’re looking at transition planning and looking at the high school years, learn how to embrace the bigger picture.

Get the bigger picture in your head and review it on a constant basis. Finish half of the school year or a semester, and then take an evaluation. Is my child still wanting to do this? The great thing about high school students are the opportunities to have wonderful life conversations with them.

When the plans do change, be flexible enough with your homeschooling to let them know the direction they’re homeschooling is going. Help them understand if something isn’t moving them toward their new goals. You can still count the work you’ve done as half a credit, but it’s better to head in the right direction now versus getting to the end of the year knowing it wasn’t helping serve the overall goals.

And if you do change plans mid-year, you will still have notable work to put down on your child’s transcript. So, it’s never a waste of time.

Final Tips For Transition Planning

One thing we often do not think about is communication skills because they kind of go off our radar. But yet employers say that communication skills are the biggest thing they are looking for in employees.

We do not have to have a formal education plan to develop communication skills. We need to put our children in various situations that require them to communicate. And communication is verbal, nonverbal, body language, and written. (Check out these HSHSP episodes on job hunting and interview skills. Also, this post on first-day-on-the-job skills.)

Communication is probably one of the most important things we should be focusing on and just having normal, everyday conversations. There are several things we can absorb and do in our homeschool life to help build those communication skills, and it doesn’t have to look like a classroom or a course to do.

Other ways to help build communication skills:

  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Learning correct grammar through hearing
  • Making videos and podcasts
  • Making videos or podcasts

The more you do these things, the more you learn to control what you say and to think about it before you say it.

Peggy also shares tips for homeschooling high school in this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.

About Sped Homeschool

Sped Homeschool was formed in 2017 after taking a look around and deciding that there are a lot of organizations that have little help available for special needs kids. Their website is full of resources, partner organizations, and interviews, with an interview showing every Tuesday night live. Also, they are now broadcasting on Facebook and YouTube all at the same time with the primary goal of the interviews to empower parents to be able to make this journey successful.

BTW- Thanks to Richie Soares for transcription work. She is awesome and so is her website: Homeschool and Humor. Check it out!

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Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Tools for Struggling Learners pt. 1Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1

Today we are talking with Cindy LaJoy. You might remember Cindy from a previous episode where we talked about the Soft Skills of Work Ethic. Cindy spent the pandemic busy as ever, learning many new videography skills, working on a graduate degree and co-authoring a book. Along with Natalie Vecchio, Blazing New Homeschool Trails: Educating and launching Teens with Developmental Disabilities

Cindy and her husband have adopted 5 kids, now young adults from Eastern Europe and has a fantastic story of hope for other Moms homeschooling non-traditional learners. Her five kids, some of whom were adopted as older children who did not speak English and were illiterate have over 25 diagnosis between them and yet, as young adults, they have gone on to college, entrepreneurship, owning an award winning business and hiring other developmentally challenged adults. Cindy is also the amazing homeschooling Momma behind Blue Collar Homeschooling and the Facebook page and group, Blue Collar Homeschooling.

Cindy has spent the last decade and a half searching out appropriate curriculum, therapies and realistic opportunities for her non-traditional students, as well as helping them develop realistic life skills that have allowed them to not only manage and cope but thrive and become leaders in their own right.

Cindy and her family make their home in Colorado. If you are in the Montrose, Colorado area, stop by their “Best in the Valley” shop, Buckaroos Slices and Scoops, for great pizza, ice-cream and customer service!

In this episode, and the next, we’ll take a look at the what’s available for those who are homeschooling non-traditional learners.

FAFSD Hope Podcast Natalie Vecchio

Cindy LaJoy offers these services and classes through True North Homeschool Academy:

Special Needs and Transcripts

Meet Cindy LaJoy!

Join Cindy and I for Part II of Tools for Struggling Learners – Part 1 next time on Life Skills 101!

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How to modify online curriculum for special needs students Part 2

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Modify Online Curriculum for Special Needs Students Part 2

126: How to modify online curriculum for special needs students: Part 2

Guest Lindsay Leiviska explains how to modify online curriculum for special needs students. You can find Lindsay online at A Heart For All Students. Her podcast is also called “A Heart for All Students”.

Be sure to listen to part 1 first if you haven’t already. In that episode she discusses variables to consider when choosing online curriculum.

Tips for what you as a parent can do

  • Rather than leave kids to their own devices, use online curriculum as a teaching tool.
  • Sit with your student and watch videos together.
  • Pause videos at appropriate intervals in order to check for understanding.
  • Use one sheet of paper or small whiteboard for each problem, pause the video and work through each problem together.
  • Depending upon the learning and emotional needs of the child as well as the concepts at hand, I modify my level of involvement.
  • Always remove learning barriers
  • Scribe for your child (write math problems, have them spell orally, etc)
  • Support your child with verbal cues as she works through math problems,
  • Gradually have child tell me the steps involved and “tell me” what to do. This requires A LOT of effort as speaking orally requires greater processing and retention (teaching is highest form of learning)
  • Slowly hand over reigns step by step.
  • Depending upon needs, work through questions one by one together on one sheet of paper for each problem in large text.
  • When needed, support concepts with extra video-based tutorials (Removes mom’s need to choose the correct verbiage)
  • Always have hard copy texts and support tools (maps, reference charts, etc)
  • Resist the urge to stay on schedule
  • Don’t be afraid to pause and repeat lessons or concepts when needed.
  • Circle back to concepts as needed


Recommended Resources:

————————————————————————————————–
Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Aademy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode.

How to Modify Online Curriculum for Special Needs Students Part 2

How to modify online curriculum for special needs students Part 1

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to modify online curriculum for special needs students

125: How to modify online curriculum for special needs students: Part 1

Guest Lindsay Leiviska explains how to modify online curriculum for special needs students. You can find Lindsay online at A Heart For All Students. Her podcast is also called “A Heart for All Students”.

Variables to Consider:

  • Time: Short lessons (less is more)
  • Ability to remove all timers
  • Ability to correct and modify “grades”
  • Printable hard copy of any texts
  • Print PDFs of any textbooks and other resources
  • Clear and to the point
  • Slower Rate of Speech
  • Language and auditory processing
  • Clutter-Free Design
  • Excellent for those who struggle with visual discrimination
  • Reduced visual input for the brain to tease and process through
  • Ability To Add Visuals/Imagery for any language-based concepts (ie vocabulary needs to be supported with visuals)
  • Use Quizlet for Spelling and vocabulary practice for all subjects (including history, science, math, etc)

  • Recommended Resources mentioned in this episode:

    ————————————————————————————————–
    Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Aademy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

    Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

    If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode.

    How to modify online curriculum for special needs students

    The role of tech with special needs students

    A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

    Using Tech with Special Needs Students

    92: The role of tech with special needs students

    Our guest in this episode is Peggy Ployhar, founder/CEO of SPED Homeschool, and she is going to share with us about using tech with special needs students. Peggy has a wealth of wisdom to share, and you will need to listen to this episode to get the maximum benefit.

    This sums up what Peggy covers in this episode:

    Teaching struggling students is difficult, thus many parents look to technology to ease that difficulty, but if not considered properly it can complicate the teaching and the learning process.

    She explores 4 myths:

    Myth 1 – A child who loves tech will best learn on/with tech
    Myth 2 – Parent involvement is unnecessary if teaching with an app/program/online curriculum
    Myth 3 – Assistive tech is a crutch students must work to eliminate
    Myth 4 – Video and/or audio-based curriculum is less superior to book-based curriculum

    Learn more from Peggy on her weekly live show where she talks with guests about topics relevant to homeschooling special needs students. This live show is from 8 – 9pm CT each Tuesday on Facebook or Youtube. You can catch the replay as a podcast.

    Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

    If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode.

    Using Tech with Special Needs Students