6 Ways for Your Homeschool Co-op to Be Special Needs Friendly

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #116, 6 Ways for Your Homeschool Co-op to Be Special Needs-Friendly, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

6 Ways for Your Homeschool Co-op to Be Special Needs Friendly

In “6 Ways for Your Homeschool Co-op to Be Special Needs Friendly” episode #116, Meredith Curtis gives practical ways to cultivate a culture that welcomes families with special needs. Parents, children, and teachers can all work together to be welcoming and supportive. Since our homeschool co-ops are filled with special needs children, often that we are unaware of, this is an important topic as homeschooling continues to grow exponentially.




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Show Notes

As we are coming out of the Covid-19 Lockdown, we have become more health conscious. How can we stay healthy? Boost our immune system? Avoid getting sick? Well, the answers are very simple and old-fashioned. You might think your listening to your Grandma when I share these things. However, they work and I will explain why.


Sometimes special needs are obvious—a young boy in a wheelchair or a severely autistic little girl. Other times, we don’t realize that Johnny is diabetic or Suzi has dyslexia. Because we often gather only a few times a month, we often don’t know all the details of special needs.

I’m not saying that families can’t keep special needs private, but I want to lay out some ways that homeschooling co-ops can be special needs-friendly and cultivate an environment where ALL students, parents, and teachers thrive.

What is a Homeschool Co-op?

For those who are new to homeschooling, a homeschool co-op is a group of homeschooling families that come together to share their expertise in teaching courses and are blessed by other families who do the same.


Cultivate a Culture of Truth and Kindness

Truth: All people are value because they are made in the image of God. God has a special purpose for each person, regardless of their challenges. (Psalm 139, Eph. 2:10)

Kindness is a heart issue.

Good manners is on the outside.

Model. Teach. Inspire. Praise. Devotional Times. Address bad behavior.

Address Special Needs at Information Meeting

Mention special needs at that first information meeting at the start of every homeschool co-op year. Share that you value all families, including special needs families. Share any ways you are set up to meet the needs of special needs families. Make those families feel welcome.

Ask Teachers About Alternatives for Special Needs Students in Their Classes

When they fill out forms to teach.

E.G. Laura give oral tests in biology. Pastor Mike extending deadlines. Allowing audio books.

Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference

I’m speaking at the first-ever Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference, to be held July 21! One of the keynote speakers is Temple Grandin, a world-famous autism advocate! So excited to encourage and inspire parents homeschooling their special needs children/teens! Just $22!

Meredith’s talks.

Participants will receive LIFETIME access to all the sessions and keynotes, plus coupons, printables, and freebies in the digital swag bag, and access to a private media group.

Homeschooling Special Needs Conference - July 21, 2020


Have a Special Needs Section in the Registration Packet

Gives families the opportunity to share those special needs.

Approach Families with Special Needs

Leaders can approach special needs families and get the conversation going.

What are your needs?

What do we do if Micah has a seizure in class?

Make Sure the Physical Environment is Special Needs-Friendly

Can Johnny Move around in his wheelchair?

Is there a place Susie can test her blood sugar privately if she feels unwell?

Is there room for Lynda’s service dog?

The Big Picture

Our culture is getting more and more evil and one thing that terrifies me is the idea that some lives are more valuable than others. It is so important as Christians that we stand firm for LIFE! All life is precious to God: from the womb to old age. Those with special needs, especially severe, are a gift to us to remind us that all life is precious in God’s sight—and, ours, too.

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Resource: Online Conference on June 21

Meredith Curtis Speaking at the Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference - July 21, 2020


Have you been looking for a conference geared to parenting special needs children and teens, not even hoping for the near-impossibility of finding one focused on homeschooling special needs kids? You can stop looking! Join over 20 speakers for the first ever Homeschooling Special Needs Online Conference as they presents over 30 sessions on autism, ADHD, apraxia, and more! Best of all,

Featuring keynotes from renowned autism advocate Temple Grandin, homeschooling encourager Durenda Wilson, and sessions from powerhouse special needs homeschooling educators Peggy Ployhar, Judi Munday, Heather Laurie, and more, this conference will encourage and inspire homeschooling parents of special needs children and teens.

The Homeschooling Special Needs Conference will launch on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Participants will receive LIFETIME access to all the sessions and keynotes, plus coupons, printables, and freebies in the digital swag bag, and access to a private media group. For more info, or to register, visit

Registration is only $22.


Resources for Cultivating Truth & Kindness

Friends to the End Lovely to Behold God's Girls Brand New Life Bible Study God's Girls Beauty Secrets
Real Men 103: Leadership Making of Real Men Real Men Build Bible Study Workbook A Wise Woman Builds by Meredith Curtis
God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ Real Men 101: Godly Manhood God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis

More Podcasts You Might Find Helpful

Finish Well Homeschooling Podcast, Podcast #108, 7 Ways to Make Jesus Lord of Your Homeschooling with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #098, The Blessing of Enrichment Courses for All Ages with Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #093, Make Your Home the Teen Hangout with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #085, Don't Waste Your Life with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

HSHSP Ep 172: Help for Special Needs in Homeschool High School, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on HSHSP Ep 172: Help for Special Needs in Homeschool High School, Interview with Peggy Ployhar.

HSHSP Ep 172: Help for Special Needs in Homeschool High School. This interview with Peggy Ployhar of SPED Homeschool gives inspiration, encouragement and success tips for parents of special needs teens. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolSpecialNeeds #SpecialNeedsTeens #SPEDHomeschool


HSHSP Ep 172: Help for Special Needs in Homeschool High School, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

Every teen has a place in God’s kingdom, but not every teen’s journey looks alike. Some homeschool high schoolers have different learning styles, learning differences or learning disabilities. These special needs don’t mean you can’t homeschool your teen for high school. In fact, homeschooling high school might be the VERY best choice for them. You can individualize their education to:

  • Develop their strengths
  • Compensate for their weaknesses
  • Give them skills for life
  • Help them believe in God’s plans for them

Vicki is joined today by Peggy Ployhar from SPED Homeschool to discuss help for special needs in homeschool high school.

Peggy Ployhar from SPED Homeschool

Photo used by permission.

Peggy is a long-time homeschool mom and community leader. Her 2 sons both have special needs so based on her experience with her sons, she jumped into the role of community advisor for families with special needs. That service grew until the need was clear for an organization dedicated to helping special needs families. That’s how SPED Homeschool got started, a dedicated team of homeschooling parents who are:

  • Vetting homeschool curriculum for use with special needs homeschoolers
  • Training other homeschool parents in skills for helping their special needs homeschoolers
  • Reminding parents that there’s not ONE approach that will work for all special needs homeschool high schoolers. Of course, we 7Sisters are excited about that since we’re always saying there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school.
  • Making available advice from experts

Check out SPED Homeschool’s website, and facebook pages.

SPED Homeschool

One of the most important things that Peggy learned about homeschooling high school with her special needs teens was RELATIONSHIP is more important than education. As she kept the relationship with her sons as number one priority, she was able to:

  • Stay flexible, very flexible!
  • Make wise choices for and with her teens
    • curriculum
    • goals
    • resources
  • Create an educational program that adapts as her teens grew and changed
  • Push teens graciously in their giftedness areas

Peggy tells the story of her son telling her at age 16 that he *was done* with high school. She calmed herself and worked with him to quickly set goals for meeting graduation requirements at a minimal (not college-prep) level. He blasted through his courses, took a gap year to explore and became the tech genius behind all SPED’s technology. He eventually went to college, because he felt the calling at that time and did college in his way.

Want more resources? 7Sisters has an Authoritative Guide to Out of the Box Credits for Homeschooling High School with Special Needs Teens

You’ll be SO encouraged by this episode of Homeschool CPA with our friend, Carol Topp, as she shares resources for special needs homeschoolers in co-ops.

Join Vicki and Peggy for this encouraging interview on homeschooling teens with special needs.

Want more ideas on homeschooling high school with special needs teens? Check out this video with Vicki and Peggy.

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
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Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

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HSHSP Ep 172: Help for Special Needs in Homeschool High School, Interview with Peggy Ployhar

Smart Kids Who Struggle – MBFLP 184

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Sometimes you have a student who struggles – but just in one area! How do you understand and help a student who’s “twice exceptional” – who’s both gifted and special needs at the same time?

Resources We Recommend

We have several resources on our website – CLICK HERE to check them out!

Home School Foundation

Special Needs Homeschooling

Homeschooling When Learning Isn’t Easy by Heather Laurie


Making Learning Fun with Review Games

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Are your kids complaining that their school work isn’t fun? Do you see gaps in their learning? Review games are a fantastic way to stimulate the brain and the body simultaneously. Listen in as Lindsey and Richele talk about their favorite review games to play in their homeschool rooms.


Review games we love:

Speed: Learn Multiplication the Fun Way! http://amzn.to/2x4HoXB

Sushi Go: http://amzn.to/2x4wxg6
A list of simple review games to make learning fun: https://www.talkingmom2mom.com/2017/09/review-games-that-make-learning-fun.html


Talking Mom2Mom Links:


Talking Mom2Mom





Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!

We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor Raddish – a cooking club and curriculum, specially designed FOR KIDS by chefs and educators! Raddish is perfect for homeschooling families! Teach thematic cooking lessons that incorporate math, science, nutrition, geography, and culture. With Raddish, the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn! Use coupon code PODCAST at checkout for $15 off a 6 or 12 month membership. Visit RaddishKids.com/Homeschool to learn more and to download a free lesson.
Check out this info pack: Raddish One Page


Siblings Of Special Needs Kids

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Siblings of Special Needs Kids - with Dr. Jan Bedell, The Brain CoachSpecial needs require special focus. Many parents must focus a great deal on their child with special needs, and rightfully so. Yet, how does the situation of having a special needs sibling affect the other children in the house? All family members of children with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, developmental delays, CAPD, Autism, syndromes, and genetic disorders of all types are affected by these complicated issues. Are there particular ways that parents can help their other children through the ups and downs of daily life with a special needs family member?

In this episode, Dr. Jan brings in a special guest, an adult sibling of an individual with special needs.  You will enjoy this candid discussion of what went right and what could have been better for these siblings, one with moderate/severe special needs and one gifted/typically developing.

Your awareness will be heightened as to what the siblings are going through in such cases and how to open the lines of communication to improve life for all involved.  Be informed of the need for long range planning and options that might be available. Above all, be encouraged by the character development that God produces in the midst of hard things.   Dr. Jan says, “As a parent of an individual with special needs, I wish someone would have had this discussion with me when my children were growing up.”


Visit our Sponsor:  Little Giant Steps



Victory Over Adversity

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.


Going through trials and adversity is part of life. It’s how we handle them and work through the storms that show our love of the Lord and character to the little eyes that are watching. Let me help you, sharing my experience as a caregiver and chronically ill mom.

I’m your host, Heather Laurie, a veteran special needs homeschooling momma to 5 wonderful children. One great hubby Christopher Laurie who will get roped into joining the podcast occasionally to give dad’s point of view. And a wild menagerie of lazy cuddle craving cats and a chocolate lab.

Offering practical encouragement and support to special needs families and families that are going through a rough patch. Get your preferred cuppa and find a place to relax for a few minutes with me as we learn to find Victory over Adversity.

Subscribe: Please subscribe to my podcast feed at iTunes and each of the shows will pop up on your listening device as soon as it is released.

Listen Online: Every one of my shows can be found listed below. Just click on the show title and you will find the sound file of the show available in a simple click.

Upcoming Shows: Want to know what episodes are coming up next? Click through to the Show Calendar and see what I am working on. Also feel free to leave a comment about topics you would like to hear more on!

Social Media: I’m a talker so you can find me online in several places. Follow Special Needs Homeschooling on Facebook and Pinterest, and find my blog and more resources at my Special Needs Homeschooling blog.

Special Needs? Keep Your Head Above Water! with Heather Laurie

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

      Mommy Jammies Night with Heather Laurie of Special Needs Homeschooling

Keeping your head above the water when YOU are the one with special needs!

5 Aspects of Life to balance

Years ago I was supermom. Okay so maybe just marginally awesome mom. I was the head of my growing church’s nursery. Went to co-op with my 5 kids who were all dealing with special needs. We were in the van most days of the week zipping here and there doing all sorts of thing… busy things… things that I filled my time with.

We lived an intense life but I never really considered what if… what if I became the one with special needs? I had medical issues but they were stable at the time and part of me just thought I’ll be like this, sick but able bodied.

That is not what happened.

  1. Create a Plan and set of Goals to reach for-

    1. How often do you hear oh we homeschool so you can just take a day off…
      1. 1 day, 2, a week when does it become too much?
    2. Goals help you establish a baseline
      1. Am I pushing too hard?
      2. Are we on track? Even if it doesn’t feel like we are
  2. Structure and Routine

    1. My natural inclination is relaxed homeschooling but my situation requires
    2. We developed a routine for the family because we are a truly a special needs family
      1. If the kids are upset and out of sorts my efforts will be 10x just to get a calm less intense result
  3. Year round Homeschooling

    1. This is not the only way to do it just how we do.
      1. Flexible time
      2. Consistent learning that doesn’t require review in the fall
      3. Anxiety that a normal child can have with mom or dad in and out of the hospital is eased by a constant
  4. Homemaking takes time and spoons!

    1. Menu planning saves $, time, and energy
      1. Brain fog at the end of the day
      2. I need a rest.
  5. Healthy Living

    1. Go to the dr, dentist, therapist, chiropractor
      1. Shows your children to care for and tend to their own bodies
    2. Sleep!
    3. Take your medications if necessary
    4. Rest is good.. I know opposite of how we started but being able to acknowledge that we all need a rest is good. Take an In-service day.

It’s not always easy to get from struggling or just plain not making our goals and feeling depressed about our own performance as mom, wife, and homeschooler to functioning, progressing, calmer person. Like in a real pond there are those stones on the edge that are slime covered and you may fall. Get back up and keep trying.

I wake up each and every day because the Lord has blessed me with the strength to carry on. I acknowledge and welcome that comforting fact.  


Visit Heather:

Social Media Links:


Special Needs Homeschooling – YES You Can!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Special Needs HomeschoolingSpecial Needs Homeschooling – Yes You Can!

Podcast #13

In this episode,  Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn talks about homeschooling your special needs child.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida. If you are interested in homeschooling our convention is every year in May during Memorial Day weekend.

Join us this November for 2 Great Events – Special Needs for Struggling and Gifted Learners + College & Career Fair!


Working with Professionals as Homeschoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschoolers frequently ask me for advice about seek professional help with testing, mental health, or medical services.  In this episode, I share six of my top tips for working with professionals as a homeschooler.







Show Notes

Read this podcast as a blog post

Melanie Wilson’s Amazon Author Page

Election Unit Study by Techie Homeschool Mom


Nehemiah 1:11

2 Timothy 2:24


Have a happy homeschool week!


HSHSP Ep 24: Homeschooling Teens with Special Needs

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschool High School Special Needs Teens Homeschool Highschool PodcastHSHSP Ep 24: Homeschooling Teens with Special Needs

All homeschool highschoolers are different. Some of them are different with the label “special needs”.

Can you homeschool highschool with a teen who has special needs? OF COURSE, you can!

Join Vicki for an interview with Patty Tillman about her son’s special highschool program.

Patty homeschooled her son from the time he was adopted at age 8 to his graduation. He is now a hardworking, responsible, God-loving, good man.

His life preparation and practical academics through highschool helped assured his success today!

She shares tips on how to understand your teen, set goals, develop resources and rejoice in the fact that God has plans for every teen!

Homeschool High School with Special Needs Learners