Have you ever found yourself floundering while trying to come up with fun, engaging content for your special needs homeschooler?
Do you wish there was a great book you could use as a reference guide on how to homeschool a kid with ADHD, autism, or other special needs?
Or are you overwhelmed by the prospect of wading through mountains of potential resources?
Take a deep breath…I’ve done the research for you! These resources are secular in nature, but Christian resources can be found at Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, a one-stop shop for all things homeschool for both the secular and the Christian homeschool family.
Note: Many of the links in this article are affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you click on them and purchase what I’ve recommended. You are in no way obligated to purchase anything through these links. However if you do make a purchase, know that you are helping to support a homeschool mom and a hard working family. I never recommend anything I don’t wholeheartedly believe in.
Here are 7+ great homeschool resources for families of children who are differently abled.
- Try the book 800+ Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives: For use in K-12 and in homeschool settings by Chris de Feyter. It’s a handy guide for children who have had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in school or who would have an IEP if they attended a brick and mortar school. De Feyter’s approach helps parents set reasonable goals and learning objectives for struggling learners. It is $14.89 on Amazon and comes with the Kindle version for free. If you just want it on Kindle, it is only $3.49! It’s a wonderful resource and well worth the price.
- How to Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 questions answered by Sandra K. Cook is my ultimate favorite book on the subject. It is available as a Kindle book for $3.99. This fabulous tome is chock full of resource links to products and services that this 10 year veteran homeschool mom knows, uses, and loves. Cook has a Master’s degree in Instructional Learning and knows all about the needs of differently abled kiddos. She is the founder of Learning Abled Kids Support Group and has years of experience working with countless parents in your situation.
- As far as curriculum goes, unfortunately there just isn’t tons out there. But what is available is really great stuff. For instance, Signing Online, a computer based ASL tutor, helps 9th graders through adults learn to use sign language.
- Math can be tricky for a special needs child. I plan to use ST Math with Jiji the Penguin for our math curriculum next year. It’s engaging, hilarious, and so much fun. It is great for visual learners and will appeal to gamers with its use of animation, interactive lessons, and GAMES! Normally MT Math costs $200, but with a free membership to Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, it is heavily discounted. As I write this article, it only costs $120 for a year and that isn’t even the sale price. By the time you read this, additional savings are quite possible so check it out. Other children in the house can use it for $69 a year. Perfect for grades K-8.
- Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach is an award winning program that’s great for all the kids in your homeschool—whether they are struggling readers or advanced readers. The program assesses each individual child and then formulates a plan for how to improve your child’s reading performance. It will improve your child’s function in these key areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and fluency. It is great for dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and other learning disabilities. It normally retails for $299—a hefty chunk of change. But you can get it at the Co-Op for $199.
- HELP Math uses music, voice, visuals, text, and interactivity to primarily help with math but also builds language arts skills. It’s an integrative program that will help your learner accelerate in the two subjects most states want to see progress in. It aligns with common core and state standards. This program is on the US Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. The creators drew upon 50 years of research and it has won numerous awards. It is perfect for grades 3-8.
- Activate is a great resource for ADHD homeschool families. It is “a complete cognitive cross-training online program.” Yale Medical School researchers have come up with a way to improve a struggling learner’s memory and cognitive function through games and physical exercise. It is a whole-body approach to improving the lives of kids with ADHD. Apparently, moving in certain ways stimulates a child’s brain in a way that makes learning more fun and less of a challenge. A subscription is normally $195, but through the Co-Op, it is only $129 and may go down when resources go on sale in late summer.
This list encompasses some of the very best programming out there for special needs homeschoolers. There is even more to explore when you join Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, my one-stop shop for all things homeschool.
But what about other subjects beyond math and Language Arts? Well, there really isn’t a lot geared specifically towards special needs kiddos. But if you dig a little deeper (and I’ve done some digging for you!) you find a host of possibilities for every child in your homeschool. Here are some I really like:
- Mark Kisler’s Virtual Classroom is for budding artists. Mark is fun, funny, engaging, and lets your child take it at their own pace. This program is a real hit with Co-Op parents! It retails for $198 per year, but is available to members at $79.95 which I think is an awesome savings.
- Discovery Education is for all scientists K-8, so your learner can jump in at the stage that is right for them. It uses videos, audio, and interactivity. Discovery Education is just $45 a year for Co-Op members.
- Britannica School is an audio/visual encyclopedia that takes its cue from the Encyclopedia Britannica of old. Remember those? Your 6th grade English teacher may have taken you and your classmates to the library to learn how to research various topics using an encyclopedia. Well this version has video! Josh and I used it for social studies this past year. You can choose three reading levels—elementary, middle school, or high school. The elementary version is great for middle schoolers or high schoolers who are struggling. It normally costs $1000 a year. But through the Co-Op its only $99 a year! That’s a steal if I ever saw one.
- Visualize World Geography is a dream for parents of visual learners. The system helps children learn the shapes of world-wide countries by comparing the countries to ordinary real life objects. How clever! It is for grades K-12. Unfortunately, there’s no discount to the $249 price tag. BUT, if you buy it using your Co-Op membership, you’ll get something called Smart Points—5000 of them to be exact. And that’s enough to buy at least another $100 worth of product at the Co-Op.
Buying content for special needs homeschoolers can be quite expensive. All the programs I’ve listed here come at a price, I admit it. I’ve tried to keep my recommendations within realistic bounds for the typical homeschool family. After all, if you’re homeschooling, chances are you’re a single income family. One choice you have is to buy programs a little at a time throughout the school year or as paychecks come in over the summer.
Now for some great news. There are some fabulous free resources you can supplement with in the meantime. My favorites are:
- Waldorf Homeschoolers. Waldorf helps you teach your children to take care of the planet and to be a better human being and neighbor. It is secular and it is free. The site has many lessons for elementary kids and is a wonderful resource for parents with children at any stage. It is FREE, but you can help support the site by buying toys and school supplies, as well as use their Amazon links to buy recommended books.
- Khan Academy is really an entire school unto itself. It is a comprehensive set of K-12 lessons and resources. You could use just this resource to homeschool your kindergartener all the way through high school. It is absolutely free, though you can donate a small amount of money either once or monthly to help keep it going. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great option for gamers as it’s not very interactive. My middle schooler, Josh, found it boring. But if you can get your kiddo to give it a try, it might be worth a shot. They have hundreds (if not thousands) of instructional videos and lesson helpers. It is the go-to for many homeschool families.
- Don’t forget about YouTube! Sure, there’s so much junk on there, it can be a major distraction. But if you do your homework first and then supervise, it holds a world of great content. Check out Extra History, Crash Course for Kids (science), and Cosmos, a Space Time Odyssey with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Hey, it’s entirely free and it has some seriously worthwhile content.
- Home Spelling Words is just what it sounds like—free spelling lists with accompanying games for each list. Grades K-9!
- Virtual Piano is Josh’s favorite part of our homeschool day. We’re getting ready to graduate to “real life” piano lessons, but my kiddo has loved learning some basics over the past year. It’s free!
I hope you’ve found this list to be helpful. Do you have any suggestions for special needs families out there? Perhaps you’ve found some interesting freebies. Or maybe you’re using an all-in-one package. We’d love to hear about what you use in the comments below!