Homeschooling Your Adopted Child: 8 Steps to Get Started

February 22, 2017 Education, homeschool, Jennifer B. 0 Comments

“There is no school equal to a decent home
and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”

~ Gandhi

ˈhōmˌsko͞oling/ (noun):
the education of children at home by their parents.

The definition of homeschooling is fairly straightforward, but families who choose homeschooling as the best option for their adopted or special needs children can face some unique obstacles and challenges.

I believe homeschooling is a wonderful option for many children so, as a former elementary teacher and homeschool mama of nine years, I am sharing some helpful tips, answering a handful of FAQs, and listing some great homeschool resources and links.

I pray this post will be helpful to all of the homeschool moms out there and also to those considering homeschooling.

Homeschool Tips and Getting Started

1. Weigh the pros and cons.

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs – Advantages
Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs – Disadvantages
10 Reasons You Could Never Homeschool (And Why You Really Can!)
5 Pros and Cons for Homeschooling Older Adopted Children
Homeschooling an Adopted Child: The Whys and Hows
Should You Homeschool Your Special Needs Child?

2. Become familiar with state homeschool laws and requirements and special education provisions.

Know the Homeschool Laws in Your State
Know the Special Education Provisions in Your State
Testing Information
Two Steps for Protecting Your Special Needs Homeschool

3. Determine your homeschool vision and goals.

Planning Your Homeschool Year: Setting a Vision
Homeschool Planning
Goal Setting for Your Homeschool Year
10 Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Year
Setting Homeschool Goals and Knowing Your Purpose

4. Find your child’s learning style.

The Learning Style Quiz
What’s Your Learning Style?
How Do I Learn Best?
What is My Child’s Learning Style?
Left Brain Child Quiz
Is Your Child Right-Brain Oriented?
Chapter 4 of 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (book)
The Way They Learn (book)
The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles (book)

5. Determine your teaching style, educational philosophy, and your child’s learning style.

What’s your homeschool personality?
What is Your Teaching Style?
Chapters 2, 3, & 5 of 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (book)
The Different Ways to Homeschool
Five Homeschooling Styles
Guide to Homeschooling Approaches
Homeschool Philosophies: A Resource List
What Kind of Homeschooler Are You?
The Homeschool Style Quiz
Teaching Method Assessment

6. Seek out and join local and online homeschool support groups.

State and Local Groups:

HSLDA Group Listings Group Listings
Homeschool World Group Listings

Yahoo and Facebook Groups:

Adopt and Homeschool Yahoo group
Homeschoolers with Special Needs Yahoo group
Homeschooling Special Needs Kidz Yahoo group
Special Needs Homeschool Facebook group
Special Needs Homeschooling Facebook group
Homeschooling Adopted Children Facebook group
Adoptive Homeschooling Families Facebook group
Homeschooling Your Children Adopted from China Facebook group
Homeschooling with Connection Facebook group

7. Choose curriculum and begin planning/scheduling.

(This may be the most overwhelming step of all so let me just say upfront – it will be OK!) If your child has previously attended public or private school this is also a good time to read and learn about deschooling.

You might also consider doing a homeschool trial run using a free homeschool curriculum such as Easy Peasy, Ambleside, An Old Fashioned Education, Khan Academy, HippoCampus, CK-12, SAS Curriculum Pathways, or Free World U.

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (book)
Cathy Duffy Homeschool Curriculum Reviews (website companion to book)
7 Scheduling Tips for a Working Homeschool Mom
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling for Working Moms
Top 10 Ways to Schedule Your Homeschool Calendar
10 Ways to Create & Maintain Balance
Tweaking Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Your Special Needs Child
What is Deschooling?
How to Transition from Public School to Homeschool
The Truth About Deschooling
Tips for Deschooling
Deschooling: The Rules You Need to Break (parts 1 & 2)

8. The final and most important step – don’t overthink.

One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is that nothing is set in stone!

10 Things You Need to Know if You’re Homeschooling for the First Time This Year


Q: Can I homeschool my adopted and/or special needs child?

Yes! Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and parents may homeschool both adopted and special needs children (does not include foster children). Homeschool laws and requirements vary by state so be sure to check the specifications for your state including the special education provisions for your state.

Q: Can my homeschool student qualify for and receive special needs services/therapies (OT, PT, speech) through the public school district?

The short answer is it depends on the state and sometimes even on the district, so you will want to check your state laws as well as district policies.

“IDEA requires public schools to identify, locate, and evaluate children with special needs, whether or not they attend public school. This means that public schools are universally required to offer free evaluations to homeschooled students suspected of having special needs. Additionally, should a student be determined to have special needs that hinder the student’s performance, the public school must convene an IEP team, made up of the student’s parents or guardians and assorted teachers and professionals, to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). While homeschooled children with special needs have a right to both evaluation and an IEP, these services are not mandatory and parental consent is required. While an IEP developed at a public school can be of use to a homeschooled student—note that the IEP team cannot order a homeschooled child into public school and must take into account the parent’s decision to homeschool the child when developing the IEP—its usefulness depends largely upon what services the student needs and what services, if any, the school makes available to homeschooled students. ~ CRHE

“About 90% of funding for public school special education programs comes from the state — not the federal government. Although the federal government will not allow its Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) money to go to homeschoolers in ‘homeschool law states,’ the states can distribute their 90% in any way they choose. Some states have enacted laws that provide services to ‘homeschool’ students; these provisions are included in the state summaries on our website. If a state is a ‘private school law state,’ homeschoolers are eligible for services funded by both the federal IDEA program and the state.” ~ HSLDA

Q: Can my homeschooled student participate in public school sports and/or extracurricular activities?

The short answer to this question is also it depends on the state and sometimes even on the district, so again you will want to check your state laws as well as district policies.

From HSLDA: “Homeschool athletes can participate in homeschool and recreational leagues around the country, as well as some private school leagues. One of the biggest debates in the past several years, however, has been whether or not to allow homeschoolers equal access to public school sports leagues. Homeschooler participation in public school activities is usually subject to certain requirements, which are often part of the school’s policy and the state high school athletic association’s bylaws. Although specific requirements vary from state to state, they generally include: 1) being in compliance with the state homeschool law, 2) meeting the same eligibility requirements (residence, age, etc.) as public school students, and 3) submitting verification that the student is passing his or her core subjects. Consequently, the homeschooler may have to provide additional information, such as achievement test scores or periodic academic reports, even if the state’s homeschool statute does not otherwise require them. In states that do not have a specific statute or regulation mandating equal access, individual schools and school districts have the authority to determine whether homeschoolers can participate in public school activities. Policies often vary from district to district. In some cases, districts that would like to allow access are restricted from doing so by the high school athletic association’s bylaws.”

State Laws Concerning Participation of Homeschool Students in Public School Activities (HSLDA)
Homeschool Sports Access by State (CRHE)

Additional Resources

Links and Posts

Homeschooling a Struggling Learner (HSLDA)
NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network
Homeschooling Your Internationally Adopted Child (HSLDA)
10 Ideas for Homeschooling Your Adopted Child (NHBO)
Why We Homeschool (NHBO)
Design Your Homeschool
Learn to Read – Special Needs

Books and Supplies

Home Schooling Children with Special Needs (book)
Special Education at Home (book)
Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner(book)
1000 Recommended Apps for Children with Special Needs
School Speciality – Abilitations
Discount School Supply
Learning Resources

Happy homeschooling!


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