Special Needs Homeschool on a Small Budget.


Figuring Out What Homeschooling Will Look Like

When I first thought about homeschooling, I wanted a perfect program to walk me through, step by step.  I wanted boxes to check off, and I wanted to know I wasn't missing anything.  I hounded all my homeschooling friends for the details.  What do you use?  Do you like it?  What is your advice.  I was terrified of homeschooling.  The one thing that everyone told me was, "You will want to buy a box set your first year, but do not do it!  You will be wasting a ton of money."  I used Cathy
Duffy's top picks to narrow it down, but the cost was still freaking me out. I wasn't even convinced we would succeed at homeschooling, nor was I certain any of these products would be the right fit.  With Special needs kids, there can be so many different age ranges any one kid can fall into.  Their strengths and weaknesses can be all over the map, so where you go from there?


We ended up holding our breath and trusting God to provide the way and the resources.  We found plenty of free resources and many inexpensive resources.  I'm going to share them with you here!



Teachers Pay Teachers

Knowing about this little gem, was what gave me the courage to attempt school without a boxed-set.  I had found them prior to homeschooling when I was helping my youngest with learning to read before he started Kindergarten (reading was a hard fought battle for him).  I knew that the prices were beyond reasonable when compared with standard home school curriculum.  I also knew that switching around was a high likelihood for my son with Autism.  Using TpT meant that we would be out $5 here and there if something didn't work out.  Regardless if it worked for him, it would be around for my youngest as well!

Some of my TpT favorites include: The Moffatt Girls, Rachel Lynette, Lita Lita, Games 4 Learning, and Curriculum for Autism (depending on your child's place on the spectrum).  I loved the idea that we were helping out small business owners/teachers as well.  We found plenty that fit our academic needs, but not as much for our social skills practice.  My son is high functioning academically, but is functioning at less than half his age socially and emotionally.  After several months of frustration, I decided to open my own TpT store to fill with resources we could use!

Teachers Notebook and Educents have similar offerings as Tpt, and all 3 give you credits towards future purchases after you provide feedback on purchased items.  You do not have to be a teacher to purchase from these sites! Before I forget- there are also a TON of amazing "freebies" on each of these sites! Many stores offer 50% off of new resources for the first 48 hours, and you can also search #2fortuesday and #thriftythursday to save more. 

Schoolhouse Teachers     

Talk about value here....  especially for special needs families or families with multiple grades at home.  You have access 300+ courses ranging from pre-k through high school. The membership covers all courses, for all of your learners.  The monthly option is just $12.95 per month or annually for $139.00. 

It gets even better though, they offer 40% off annual memberships (bringing it to $83.40) to:
  • Military families
  • Home Life Academy members
  • HSLDA members
  • Homeschool Benefits Association
We are currently using Schoolhouse Teachers for: 4th grade grammar, Art, WWII history, and Social Studies.  The great thing about having access to all these courses, is that your child(ren) can work to their abilities in each subject.  Your membership also includes: member discounts, applecore record keeping, and the Focused Learning Center for Special Needs.  You can sign up for $1 for the first month to try it out with the promo code TRIAL (affiliate link).  You can cancel at any time if it is not a good fit, or log back in and upgrade to an annual membership if it's a perfect fit! 

When we learned about Michelangelo, the boys pretended to paint the Sistine Chapel in the same way that he did (as suggested in the Schoolhouse Teachers Art curriculum)!

Mystery Science

Can. not. say enough good stuff about these guys.  They offer your first year free!  We signed up last year and it was always our favorite school day.  We were more than ready to plunk down the tiny $129 for the annual membership our second year around.  Check out the video below of my boys playing with out robot fingers we made with mystery science.


You Tube

There is a video for everything here.  Everything.  I'll just leave it at that.  I especially love them for math and science.

Pinterest

Great place to find free and inexpensive crafts and resources that will compliment your current areas of study.  Check out the Sublime Dream home school boards here.


Other Useful Sites

  • Special Needs Moms Network- Not everyone here home schools, but many do.
  • Math-aids- Everything you could need as far as math worksheets go, free.
  • Time For Learning- I have never used this site, it's a little pricey for me personally.  I did want to include it though since I know so many people who have raved about it.  If you use it as your sole material, the cost is relatively low.
  • Khan Academy- We use this to touch base in math and make sure we are learning all we need.  They have a great bank of instructional videos and they also have a computer programming course.  They are free, but also accept donations.
  • Read Works- Free access to tons of reading comprehension passages for all skill levels!
  • Epic-This app is $4.99 a month and switches out books (It's "the Netflix of books") monthly.  They also have audio books and "read to me" books for struggling/not yet independent readers.

Did I miss any sites that you love?  Let me know in the comments!

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