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Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off church "cover" school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

Special Needs Homeschooling Resources

Hey Veteran Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and you give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. I will not add your name, so feel comfortable in speaking freely. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  Do you know of any good resources for special needs homeschooling? This includes gifted learning, learning differences, problems with reading, etc... Don't be afraid to be long winded and give details, opinions, etc....

My Answer:  Please remember that the beauty of homeschooling is that you can lead and guide your child at his/her own pace using the materials that you find the most appropriate for your child.  You can find lots of info on Special Needs Homeschooling here:  http://www.alabamahomeschooling.com/2010/01/special-needs.html .


Hands on, multi sensory approaches are always preferable but am passing this along from a friend who homeschooled both of her ASD children. Check out Time4Learning. You can customize per grade level on each subject and they have lesson plans and some worksheets to accompany I have printed off several grade levels of lesson plans and assign them to my tutoring student as she needs remediation. I am pretty fond of it with her, I do have to sit close by to keep her on task. But it also keeps records. This is k-8 curriculum I believe. 

I don't know of a specific resource, but have enjoyed how our curriculum (K12) offers "extensions" within almost every lesson to either give a student more help or to pursue a subject more in depth. The younger grades also include quite a bit of tactile learning with shapes, number cubes, etc.

I have a 7 yr old that is undergoing tutoring for dyslexia using the Barton Method. Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons is great, but for a more severe case of dyslexia it just doesn't cut it. My 9 yr old has difficulties spelling but has overcome many of these issues with Click 'n Kids spelling. I don't know what it is about the format, but it "clicked" for her when every other method had failed.

For spelling issues several people with dyslexic kids have sworn by Incremental Spelling, but for us it did not seem to help. 

Rocket Reader is good for students who need help reading - with either speed or fluency.

For our adopted children (spoke NO English) we used AVKO Educational Research Foundation.

The program is called "Sequential Spelling" and I believe we have 7...yes SEVEN books.. of spelling to do. I figure it will take us through High School to finish. I originally used their book for you to write the answers, but now we make up our own sheets. My children are fabulous spellers and we discuss the meaning of each word as we spell it. It has worked great for them.

I love Hoagies website for gifted homeschoolers!  http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/home_school.htm

We have also enjoyed several of the "Gifted and Talented" series workbooks over the years.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gifted_&_Talented_series

I use two curricula that are praised for their effectiveness with special needs learners; Math-U-See and Shurley English. I have also helped a fellow homeschooler diagnosed with dysphonetic dyslexia by building a reading program using audio-books, which are free at libraries. I've read that students with reading problems can benefit from reading along with someone else, and by having books on CD or tape, the student doesn't have to wait for a family member in order to study.

Handwriting Without Tears is the one I hear about the most for children who struggle with handwriting. I like to use projects with my children so I can make it harder or easier based on their needs. I think it is important to not make a deal about learning disabilities or giftedness, but rather to let children be who they are and learn at their own pace whether it be slower or faster.

www.NATHHAN.com is a wonderful resource.

And honestly, after homeschooling special needs kids for 15 years, I would say- the way you'd homeschool any and every child. Adjust what you're doing with where they are at (as opposed to "grade level"), and allow for lots of interest-led learning and experiences. Also, the Gift of Dyslexia is a great resource. 

I don't have a special needs learner but we use Math U See and it is approved in several states for public school special needs core cirr. It is visual and with the blocks, a hands on learning. You can go as slow or fast as fits the child. My daughter and I both love it and Steve is funny. She likes it because he tells jokes while teaching on the DVD. Their web site has alot of information and they have a facebook page and answer questions right away. 

"Overcoming Dyslexia" is an excellent book for anybody with a child with dyslexia or struggles with reading. We are using Saxon Phonics right now, taking it slow, and working in extra practice when something is a little more difficult. We've made a lot of progress. Julie picks up books on her own and tries to read them. This is HUGE progress. 

I've been looking into the same thing, my youngest son will be 6 sept 25 and has Autism & Sensory Processing Disorder, but we are just considering him in K this upcoming year, since I run our church's cover school I'm going to register him. I have the workbooks from Rod & Staff pre k & k workbooks & their special needs set, this year we're trying MFW k and a book called Hands on Math along with whatever I see he needs. He has a cousin 4 months younger that's been in the PS system since he was 3 & I'm so glad we decided to keep him at home. Best advice use the list in Confessions of a Homeschooler site, see what your child knows, then move on to what they don't and don't compare to other kids. No special needs child is the same or will be at the same level. Use what they need. 

Wow, so many different things...try to go from what they like, such as Legos..alot can be using them. Hands on and shorter days. I work at a homeschool coop school that specializes in learning differences...gifted, physical disabilities, adhd, autism, aspergers, dyslexia, processing disorders, we go 4 days a week for shorter hours, only about 6 to a class...

For those with physical disabilities, Lakeshore Foundation is amazing for sports and connecting with other parents. They have a great youth program.

I have a severely disabled child aged ten, challenged in mobility, manual dexterity, speech and vision. He requires constant hands-on attention and a lot of creative interaction for all learning experiences.  I use a lot of audio learning tools and a lot of tactile stimulation items. The Parent-Teacher store carries some audio resources (math, grammar, science, history, geography) and some tactile items.  We use the Lakeshore Foundation for our physical ed program. We operate on our own, using both the pool and the indoor track for biking (they have some great adaptive equipment for kids). They have very nice dressing areas with lifting equipment, and trained staff to help and advise. There are two pools, one very warm with walk-in access.  What's great is that they are very family-friendly and my other child can also participate - lap swimming or biking laps with his own bike. Also, because everyone there has special needs, we don't feel "on display" when we're there. In fact, a staff member with a prosthetic leg got my older child off the training wheels a few years ago. The youth membership fees are very reasonable and they have need-based scholarships.  Also, there is a lovely little playground next to Shades Mountain Elementary. It has adaptive equipment including reclining swings, a wheelchair-friendly play environment, and soft surface play area. It's nice for smaller kids. There are picnic tables in shade and restrooms, with close paved parking - all handicapped accessible.  Children's Rehabilitation Services is a state-run facility with access to many resources for kids with multiple disabilities. They also have some funding to help with equipment costs when insurance won't pay.