Presentation Title: Homeschooling the Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder - infancy to adulthood Presenting at the National Conference on Autism by the Autism Society of America, July 2003 Pittsburgh, PA.
Every homeschooler brings her own history and the needs of each individual student into the process of homeschool education, therefore we each have our own slant toward how the process will be conducted and what is of primary important. Because of my education and experience in social work and tutoring and Kate's autism our approach to homeschooling has these goals:
- Appropriate academic preparation for independent living
- A love of learning
- Mental health
- Community involvement
Tell about Kate
Explain Kate's history in and out of school
- NS diagnosis
- Adopted with "some learning difference", so no idea what genetics were at work
- AS at age 14, (I'd whisper autism…"No, she talks.")
- Incredibly impulsive, happy, joyful!
- High expectations for her life
- We homeschooled Kate through most of her school years. Tried her in the public school setting three times,( Kindergarten and 6 weeks of 1st grade (regular classrooms), 2 months of second grade (regular class with resource room support), 6 weeks of 3rd, full year of 4th (special education classrooms very little involvement with the rest of the school students). With the exception of her kindergarten year, none of the years were successful academically. However, her public school kindergarten teacher began important work with her (computer and sign language) and we followed up on her lead. She also found that Kate needed much hand tutoring (she had spent every lunch period, every teacher work period with her)
- Those with ASD do not make inferences and understand subtleties so much additional information needs to be spelled out for them, far and above what is generally taught in a regular classroom setting.
MK’s Philosophy about Homeschooling
- Acquiring knowledge is something that is fun to do, not something that is done to you. Many students feel as though they are being punished by being forced to learn.
- Homeschooling should prepare you with more than just academics, it should gife you life skills, too.
- Homeschooling is not to be meant as a method of school bashing, but rather as a method for education enhancement and providing another option for education. It should be clearly understood that:
- I have witnessed students with and without exceptional challenges who have had successes in the public and private schools in which they attend.
- I do NOT believe all educators or administrators in public or private schools are inept or uncaring. They simply have to follow guidelines and meet the needs of all the students. Do not have the luxury of doing what is best for any particular student if it puts the other students in a position of receiving less services by doing so (Tutoring one student at the expense of the rest of the class is not acceptable on a regular basis.)
- This forum is intended to encourage the parents to also engage in education activities with their child, or to provide other options for those parents and students who feel they have no options for consistent, quality, caring education.
- Homeschool is an option, not a last resort
- Unrealistic to expect schools to do what each child needs, even though it is mandated by the law.
- Learning can be accomplished in many forums, the student's desire to learn and the strength of the resource are the basic determiners. Those resources may come from all sorts of places -
- Homeschool programs
- Colleges (Texas Tech High School is on the internet)Tech my alma mater legitimate school
- Online schools
- Community programs
- Be creative!
- Belief that homeschooling, could be the chance of a lifetime!
Reasons we chose full-time homeschool for Kate
- Kate was already in the habit of learning from us. We had taught her self-talk (how to put language/thoughts with purposeful action), her letters, to read and to love history (she has been dubbed the "Historical Marker Queen")
- Kate trusted me (why I probably couldn’t have homeschooled David) affection cards
- Principal suggested it, teachers encouraged it
We began the journey with much trepidation. At that time (15 years ago) not many people were homeschooling. It was thought to be only done by those with very conservative religious views as a way of keeping their children from being influenced in negative ways. By the time we finished...although you never really do... it has become a much more common method of education, lots of resources available for materials, support groups, community awareness, etc.
- Her education and self-esteem were of critical value to us as parents. The times we tried putting her back into school she would always lose ground academically but we'd take her out immediately if we saw her image of herself start to diminish. Her ability to learn and achieve is so dependent upon her vision of and for herself. Because of her positive vision for her future she has high expectations for herself and others and she reaches her goals. Shriver interview state office
- Her peak learning times were so out of kilter with the traditional public school hours and schedules. We factored in her unusual sleep patterns (you all know about those if you have someone in your family with autism) and her erratic or late hour peak learning times. (stay on one subject continually)
- Her habit (like many with ASD) to mimic was quite strong. Had to be careful what she was mimicking. Psychotic mannerisms she learned from another student.
- Like many other children with autism, Kate had frustrations and confusion about her world and people in it. Homeschooling gave us the opportunity to address issues of rage and aggression in a controlled environment and do it with consistency. It gave me the opportunity to understand why she was angry and develop strategies that would help her learn new habits and gain understanding.
- Very vulnerable to suggestion needed to be more streetwise. When she was in school at age 9 a kid on the bus told her he'd be her boyfriend if she'd "Take something from a store." She didn't make the connection that that was stealing because it did not use the word "stealing". She took something when she was with me one day and when we got out to the car she immediately showed me what she had. She was very pleased with herself and more than happy to tell me why she took it. She was shocked to learn that she had shoplifted. That morning proved to be educational for us all. The other student knew Kate was easily dupped. She was easy prey in any risky situation.
- Bullying from other students becomes a non-factor in homeschool education There will always be people who may be rude intentionally or unintentionally but we should all (even kids!) have the freedom not to be held captive by them. If a child were treated by his or her parents as some bullies treat children, the courts would remove the child from the home, yet we don't protect our children nearly as well in all other situations. School and work environments too often become places of terror for some of our kids.
One incident that happened last summer confirmed the theory of self image as the determining factor toward life choices and life expectations. Kate was working as a teaching assistant in the college for kids program. They were teaching computer skills to jr and sr high school students. Apparently one of the boys in one of the classes made a negative remark about her. Another student spoke up and suggested that they had better listen to her, because she KNEW computer stuff. Kate's comment to me, "Wasn't that nice of him". She was pleased. She had not taken in the negative comment made by the bully but rather chose to give credence to the positive one. Needless to say I was elated! Part of that is just her attitude toward life, but I like to think that the attitude was aided in developing because of all the positive people who have filled her life. She simply doesn't take in negative information. She has the knowledge now that the bullies in the world are only effective if we give them power over us. She is strong enough now to simply ignore their attempts to unsettle her and watch for the reaffirmations of her self worth. If for no other reason, that confirmed our beliefs that homeschooling would be the best road for our family to follow.
Benefits of homeschooling a person with ASD
Provides another option for education.
Enhances education process already in place.
Increases family involvement. Usually the times Kate gets most difficult is when she's not getting enough positive, thoughtful attention from us. This is still true, but she needs far less attention than she did as a child.
When our children have autism they need very consistent expectations for behavior. Switching between school (and many different expectations there) and home is very confusing for many students and especially ones with autism.
Provides more consistent education for child having exceptional needs i.e. if child has medical needs will not necessarily fall behind.
Aids in managing health care and medications. Because there is a consistent person seeing the chld throughout the day, better information may be given to the doctors. This is of great help when medications are needing changes, etc.
Time is used more efficiently
- 2 hours can finish what is done in many elementary classrooms in an entire day. Many fewer wasted hours.
- (No selling door-to-door!) extra projects done only when needed or appropriate.
- When she was in public school we never seemed to be able to do everything we needed to do in a day (long hours spent teaching material covered in the classroom). When we began homeschooling we had times of just resting, Kate learned how time alone would rejuvenate her. Made her more able to tolerate times of intense focus….ONLY if down time was also provided.
- Have the flexibility to work at peak hours (according to medications, and individual’s natural bio-rhythms. New math concepts late at night, testing at Waffle Way, spelling pages while riding in the car.(less distraction, nothing else to do anyway…. Lots done in waiting rooms great place for it kid bored and good distraction.
- Gives home time structure, can ease some of the peak stressful times of the day (early morning schedule more relaxed) 5 o'clock suicide hour goes away. Can let it go (or refocus) during holidays, but work through the summer so skills don't slip. Government should always be taught around the 4th of July!
- Allows practice throughout the day on new skills being learned in therapy. Conversational skills practiced consistently through the day, not just in 30 minutes twice a week. (self talk)
- Homeschool also gave her the opportunity to experience the joy and satisfaction of learning.
- Opportunity to teach to a student's interests (Herb garden and Herb book)
- Work on actual projects beneficial to the life or personal growth of the student versus the more generic opportunities available in a large classroom. Kate and the bio-chem class taught her what she needed to know about her own body and about different meds. Late night reading the medical handbook, Gray's anatomy. Many hours pouring over scientific identification books.
- Classwork can develop into very meaningful projects. What began as a computer science project became The Torch, the only newsletter in the world written and produced by Special Olympic athletes.
- Obsessions can produce extraordinary results when allowed to bloom. Kate's love for biographies coupled with her complete lack of propriety (misplaced as I discovered… mine, not hers) ignited her desire to conduct interviews…She had no qualms about calling the national office to request and receive an interview with Sargeant Shriver for The Torch. They were both thrilled! He had seen The Torch and was amazed at the work accomplished by the athletes. Talk about lack of socialization! Btw, they want to be the first, not the only. They're hoping some other team will approach them for a bit of newsletter coaching - hint, hint) Her love of the computer and her use of the homeschool approach carried over into her confidence in her teammates ability to learn. She guided them into new skills and was appalled when they didn't know what a thesaurus was! (step by step)
- Provides the student the time to develop exceptional skills and often the opportunity to work with individuals who are knowledgeable in the field (not only in subject matter but also practical application). (Abbie Morton and her articles about seizures for The Torch)
- Gives the time needed for volunteer work, which has the advantage of providing job exploration and training. It is a way the student may try out jobs without having to put those less advantageous situations down on paper as an actual job failure.
- Through interacting more with the community it provides another opportunity to educate the public about ASD. As the community has more involvement with those have ASD they may experience them as a friend, co-worker, student…in a positive way. Opportunity for growth for many.
- Tailor curriculum including therapies needed for credits. (give a word about credits)etc. Therapies may be more fun if done in another forum and either may be used for credits, i.e. dance (a fine arts credit) for muscle control, scoliosis, body awareness, etc. voice lessons (a fine arts credit) for prosody and volume control and speech classes (fine arts and language credit) Special Olympics and dance for PE. gives them a way to get exercise but not have to be a jock.
- May choose appropriate curriculum for your student rather than having to modify material intended for the masses.
- Power to set assignments that are manageable by the student and not having to guess at another teacher's expectations for an assignment.
- Opportunities to tailor educational program to individual student This takes creativity on your part as the homeschooler (or as I became the "education manager". Through high school I taught less of her academic classes - I kept English and literature, but remained responsible that the credits we had chosen to get were accomplished.) I had a stained glass business and sometimes would barter tutoring services for glass panels. We found other people to teach her science (Kate's biology and chemistry classes were taught by a friend who….)and language skills (Spanish and Sign Language). Taught in sign language for comprehension. Learning sign doubled as a communication therapy and language credits as well.
- Opportunity to teach through the strongest learning mode or style (Kate and multipying) We were able to work on her weaknesses yet highlight her strengths. sign taught her words and spelling finger spelling, she truly thinks in sign. Using a computer enables her to write much more completely, because her thought is into content of the message rather than into the way to legibly write a g or an e, etc. btw, I intend to give her some workbooks so that she may work again on handwriting this summer, we've noticed some other fine motor/perceptual skills increasing, this may be true with handwriting, too if she is able to learn to reshape letters. We also taught her language organization (pictures on the floor with words, stories on the computer). She needed to SEE language to understand it. Best of all Kate learned her own strengths and learned to apply them for herself. (testing in college classes)
- Benefits gained as a person with ASD experiences the hands-on, real life approach to learning and living. The other thing we did was find ways that Kate could experience what she was learning. It helped her realize the value of what she was learning. Big determining factor toward motivating any learner…even me! Stress the need for on-site opportunities to learn both social skills as well as academic ones.
- Practice all social skills in real setting rather than in classroom only, or in contrived situation. Those with ASD do not transition skills from one place to another easily or circumstance to circumstance. (conversations cards reviewed as we entered the grocery store, etc, conversation ball used in actual conversation)
- Developes the student’s confidence and pride because of the opportunity to spend time with those who value him. The bottom line.....If I don't choose to be around people who are not positive influences in my life, why would I make my child do that? I want her to expect to be treated in a positive and courteous way.
One of the biggest concerns raised regarding homeschooling is that issue of "socialization". If your child is in school and not being happily socialized now, you have nothing to lose by homeschooling. Alone in the lunchroom is a poem in the book on cd, TAP DANCING in the night. It begins…
Please come sit beside me friend.
I know I can't invite you in.
I eat alone and wish for more
to share with you or three or four.
It's lonely here but safer, too,
than risking what your shun would do.
I sit and yearn but do not dare
to offer you my lonely fare.
The poem demonstrates how a child (or adult, too) may be more alone in a crowded place than by himself. I like many others, worried about Kate being isolated. And for a time after we moved, she was, but no more isolated than she had been at school. Just because you are in a crowd of people does not mean you are socializing or sharing positive friendships.
As a child she was like a magnet for behaviors, etc. Unfortunately, what she was learning when she was in the classes she was taking was not academic information but rather behaviors and language that was definitely NOT appropriate. (Those with ASD are often more attracted to other student's actions than by academic information given by a teacher.) I decided if she were going to be mimicking other peoples' behavior as a way of learning how to behave for herself, I needed to hand pick the role models and not have that left up to chance. Homeschool allowed that opportunity. Now at 21 she is much more discriminating when choosing how she acts, etc. I never worry anymore about her picking up dangerous or illegal behaviors, such as shoplifting. When we began homeschooling, we found good role models from a wide variety of places. Some older, some younger than Kate, but all ones that had attributes that she could admire. Fun, energetic, positive and disciplined people. It worked.
Kate also has true, reciprocal friendships now. Our entire family found our niche in Special Olympics (there are many with autism within that organization). It not only provides exercise (without having to be a jock, or athletic in anyway) but even more importantly provides valuable friendships for her and for us. We've all found extraordinary people associated with Special Olympics, athletes, coaches and volunteers have become some of our most valued friends. Many, like Kate, play on teams and coach as well. Dennis and I coach, and are NOT athletically inclined at all!!! but because the mission is not to be the best athlete, but to enjoy people and get some exercise. It is a safe, happy and comfortable place for us….even if somewhat rigorous at times ;-)
As the poem goes on, it resolves the problem of isolation
But there! Across the table tops!
Another lonely student stops.
And recognizing his deep fear,
my eyes to his say, "Please come near."
You see, he's me, and I am him.
We're instant kin, born out of whim.
We did not ask to be alone,
to be outcast or made of stone.
But in our loneliness we saw
another's pain, another's flaw.
We share a bond - that fear of trust.
It turns our loneliness to dust.
And so now my wish is found.
I conquered fear, a friendship bound.
Please come sit beside me, friend.
I know I CAN invite you in.
by Martha Kate Downey
Copyright c 1997
Appears in TAP DANCING in the night
- The ideal homeschooler is NOT kept in a cocoon but rather put out into the world.
- Transition to college and independent study quite easy. One of the chief benefits of homeschooling came as a surprise. We homeschooled through high school, she entered college classes easily because the students there are attending out of choice, rather than as a result of being mandated by law. The teachers focus on the material rather than on discipline and outside activities. Okay that you fixate on a particular subject. Teachers don’t care how well you perform or don’t perform in other classes. Changes don’t require and ARD and an IEP meeting (Kate and read aloud testing.) Teachers in the college setting are much more interested in their knowledge being passed on to others than they are to what form it takes or how each student acquires such knowledge. One quick request for modifications is all that is needed, we found. And Kate makes her own requests now.
- NO MORE ARDS, although you may select a group of people whom you trust and who know your child well, to help insure you are not missing any strengths or weakness inadvertently.
- Encourages life-long learning which is important for everyone but especially crucial for individuals with neurological differences. Many times their pockets of learning are out of the average range for traditional education. (basketball and Jodi, Kate and math at age 18). One summer Kate decided to study some more history and government material...not sure why ...except that she knows learning is a lifetime endeavor and history and government interest her. (Should hear her on the phone with her friends just before elections!) This summer she's taking a course through Texas Tech…Educating those with ASD…
- Many who have homeschooled are getting into the top schools, Yale, Harvard, MIT, etc. Those schools like students with variety in their lives, independent learners, project oriented, inquisitive students. I will tell you that my brother, who graduated from MIT says he et many students there that had characteristics of those with Asperger's Syndrome. Obviously, not all of our kids with ASD have the cognitive skill to go to Ivy League colleges, but they do all have the ability to become life long learners. Homeschooling is a good way to develop that habit as they become independent learners.
Approaches toward homeschooling.
Most families are participating in homeschooling, whether it be part/time or full-time. I want to encourage all families to be aware of opportunities for education, not just those families who take on the entire scope of educating their children.
- Some families use a set curriculum, other use a variety of methods, some un-school, etc.
- Some full time….all at least part-time
- We used a variety of methods, with a variety of time frames. (Texas History in two weeks, American History with a tour of the east and lots of biographies. Still rarely pass an historical marker without reading it…even rereading them!
- Classes away from home (dance classes, history, science at homeschool enrichment program in the community).
- Provide ample reading material (bio chem with Norma, and reading Gray's anatomy at night)
- Tutoring with Julie for new approach.
- I did heavy social development and lots of life skills. Language skills, grocery store cards, etc. On dear daughters list, I found too many with masters degrees in computer science who couldn't fix a meal for themselves…or know the steps to take a shower.
- Herb book, Anthony Weekly News, encouraged her to write about what she was learning in a meaningful forum.
- Individual studies. Government class. Gave her the list of 100 questions they use for individuals to become US citizens. Instructions: Could not ask me, her father, her brother or her grandparents to give her the answer. She had a collection of books on the different forms of governments and in particular the organization and functioning of our own government. She scoured them! Then discovered that her state representative knew all sorts of stuff ;-)
- The Torch
- tutoring reading at school.
- College classes her last year of high school.
- We made a kajillion games (monopoly like game with math cards, history cards, spelling cards.
- Participated in an art appreciation class taught to a totally deaf class. Kate' signed, too.
- Dance as therapy Adapting life experiences into learning experiences, i.e. using therapies as education modules.
- Encouraged independent learning by staying busy but available so she didn’t become dependent on me. I worked beside her, Kate doing math and me cutting glass, Kate reading, me cooking, etc. Found occupations I could do that didn't require thought, just physical activity so my mind was free to participate with her work when needed without being right beside her. Didn't want to her to develop dependence on me for her to learn and study.
- Summer classes with the public schools, community colleges, city classes offer some excellent choices. Often taught by professionals in their fields who will continue on with your student after the formal classes have ended.
- Became aware that all teachers may become over stressed, just as the students may.
- take a breather,
- find alternative opportunities, etc.
- Address the times it does and the opportunity to use those situations to educate.
- Examine expectations for student and for yourself. Make sure they are realistic.
- Had task sheets for the day and for the week
- Credits (list from local high school) were assigned to classes. Records kept for future use in enrollment in other schools, colleges, resumes, etc.
- Took advantage of the freedom to go back and review work as necessary and slow down or pick up pace.
- When Kate was18 we did math again…they have different pockets of learning. We need to make sure we apply them.
- Get a copy of the essential elements required by your school district and/or state education element. It helped me know where we were. Couldn't always match it, (sometimes waaaay ahead, sometimes behind - math) but it helped me gauge her strengths and weaknesses.
- Always had Kate participate when ordering curriculum
- Sometimes teaching same material with more than one type of materials will help. Kate would be able to do the work only if presented in a particular form, had to teach her to apply in more than one form by changing materials, etc.
Will it work for you?
- Consider the hassle factor pg 106 (in the Oreo book)
- Do you have confidence that you can do it? Even if you’re very nervous.
- Do you have the history of completing projects yourself?
- Does someone in the family have time to either do most of it or oversee that it is done (can work and still do this if set up is pretty thorough)
- Do you have any way to get respite?
- Does it "feel" right to you.
- Is your spouse supportive of the idea (support can come in more than one way…)
- Make a list of pros and cons, judge whether or not you (or whoever will be teaching her) can work together and try it. Remember it is not an irreversible decision.
- Keep your list of pros and cons so you can refer to it when you're discouraged or forget why you got into this situation in the first place!
- Are you pretty flexible? Oreo pg 32 changing hats
Homeschooling...the adventure of a lifetime!
Good luck with your decision...as you can see, I'm more than a little biased.
Go over resource material with them.
Martha Kate Downey
Euless, TX 76039
References are made to the books by Martha Kate Downey: TAP DANCING in the night, The People in a Girl's Life, If you've ever wanted to crawl in the closet with an Oreo…
National Homeschooling Resources and Links (for Texas resources: www.mkdowney.com )
NATIONAL SUPPORT GROUPS/RESOURCES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS
www.nacd.org National Association of Child Development - evaluation, homeschooling and therapeutic programs addressing processing and sensory challenges
http://lblp.com Lindamood-Bell - evaluation and treatment services specializing in reading and comprehension challenges --
Almaden Valley Christian School http://www.almadenvalleychristianschool.com Sharon Hensley, one of the founders of AVCS, is a special educator who has an autistic daughter. She provides phone consultations, has back issues of a newsletter she produced, and sells some curriculum suitable for special needs.
Joyce Herzog http://www.joyceherzog.com A special educator who provides phone and in-person consultations. Has written several books, and has an online newsletter.
E-MAIL SUPPORT LISTS
ASLearn At Home A group of homeschoolers with students having Asperger Syndrome. They are a mixed group of homeschoolers of all types and religions. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ASLearningAtHome/?yguid=88948803
Homeschooling Aspies A homeschooling list for those teaching students with Asperger Syndrome. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Homeschooling
AUT-2B-HOME e-mail list. Information about the list and how to join is at http://www.weirdkids.com/autism/aut2bhome.htm
This inclusive list is for people homeschooling their autistic spectrum children. Many parents of AS and HFA children are on the list. The website of the list owner, Tammy Glaser, is at http://home.earthlink.net/~tammyglaser798/index.htm. Check out her website!
NATHHAN http://www.NATHHAN.com A network for families homeschooling special needs children.
Kaleidoscapes Refugees http://www.network54.com/Forum/180575 Many homeschool forums, including special needs and homeschooling high schoolers.
Vegsource homeschool forums and swap boards http://www.vegsource.com/homeschool
* Used and recommended by Martha Kate Downey
* Educators Publishing Service, Inc. This publisher produces very helpful and high quality learning materials. Includes the series Explode The Code used by Martha Kate and Kate Downey as a tool when tutoring reading students . Explode The Code can be used by children and adults with a wide range of skills and abilities. The cumulative presentation is fun and enjoyable. 31 Smith Place Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 Phone: 1-800-225-5750 http://www.epsbooks.com
* Math Teacher's Press (Moving with Math - excellent material for the student struggling with math.)1-800-852-2435 http://www.movingwithmath.com Has manipulative, etc that may be ordered.
* Steck-Vaughn Company 1-800-531-5015 Kate Downey enjoyed ordering books from this publisher. Everything from literature to government included. They have a Special Education Catalogue that catches the eye for high interest for struggling students.
* Social Skill Activities for Special Children Book by Darlene Manix Provides many lessons for recognizing and practicing social skills. We used it as a base for Girl Scout Brownie meetings. The Center for Applied Research in Education, Professional Puvlishing West Nyack, New York 10995 ISBN 0-87628-868-9
Mary Pecci's reading materials. She wrote At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child! which combines systematic and simplified phonics with sight readers. She also answers questions on her Message Board. http://wwww.OnlineReadingTeacher.com
MathUSee - a math program based on manipulatives. http://www.mathusee.com
Stevenson Semple - a complete language arts program for children with learning differences. http://www.StevensonSemple.com/
Handwriting Without Tears - handwriting program developed by an occupational therapist. http://www.hwtears.com
Lexia Learning Systems - computer based reading programs for children and adults who have not succeeded with other methods. http://www.lexialearning.com/index.htm
www.sonlight-curriculum.com Sonlight Curriculum -- wide variety of curriculum, usually with a Christian focus. Also sells Singapore Math which does not have a religious focus.
www.hewitthomeschooling.com/ Hewitt Homeschooling Resources -- wide variety of curriculum, including PASS standardized tests to gauge student achievement.
www.ganderpublishing.com Sells the curriculum Lindamood-Bell uses to address reading and comprehension challenges plus some math curriculum.
* www.coreknowledge.org Core Knowledge Series "What your ___ Grader Should Know" -- books that detail suggestions for a base of knowledge through 8th grade.
Keystone National High School http://www.keystonehighschool.com Correspondence high school that offers traditional print-based or online course options.
Laurel Springs School http://www.laurelsprings.com
K-12 school that offers text based, project based, and web based courses. The student's program can be customized to his learning style.
Switched On Schoolhouse http://www.home-schooling.com or aop.com A fully interactive CD-ROM curriculum for grades 3-12, and is customizable. Has automatic lesson planning, grading, and record keeping.
The Well Trained Mind http://www.welltrainedmind.com/ Website from the authors of The Well Trained Mind, a rigorous and structured classical K-12 curriculum plan. If your child thrives on a challenging academic curriculum, this is the site for you.
The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. More information can be found on the Homeschool Zone website, http://www.homeschoolzone.com/hsz/articles/llewellyn.htm This book is probably the polar opposite of The Well Trained Mind. Advocates unstructured, interest-led learning. This book might be perfect for the teen (or parent) who is burnt out by negative school experiences, and is strongly in need of decompression time.
Home School Legal Defense Association http://www.hslda.org This website is especially useful for any parents planning to withdraw their special needs children from public school. Even if you don't plan to use HSLDA's services, the website is very helpful.
Jon's Homeschool Resource Page http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/ Tons of links - you could spend days perusing this website
School is Dead, Learn in Freedom http://www.learninfreedom.org/. This website includes links on college entrance, books on IQ and types of intelligence, and an interesting link about Nobel Prize winners who hate school.
Charlotte Mason approach to education - uses great literature, art and music appreciation, and nature study. http://www.suite101.com/myhome.cfm/CMason
Ambleside Online - a free online curriculum for parents favoring a Charlotte Mason approach to educating their children. http://amblesideonline.homestead.com/ This site works better with Internet Explorer than with Netscape.
Elijah Company - Christian homeschooling curriculum supply company. Their catalog has excellent articles to help new homeschoolers. http://www.elijahco.com
Homeschool World http://www.home-school.com/. The website of Mary Pride, the founder and editor of Practical Homeschooling, a bimonthly homeschooling magazine. Mary Pride's strengths are curriculum evaluation, online homeschools, and homeschooling teens.
Home Education Magazine http://www.home-ed-magazine.com/ Secular home education magazine; has links to local support groups.
Homeschooling Today http://www.homeschooltoday.com/home.htm Strong in literature and the arts.
HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS FOR ASPERGER SYNDROME/HFA/SPECIAL NEEDS
Hitchhiking Through Asperger Syndrome by Lise Pyles. Published by Jessica Kingsley. Excellent book for educating a child with AS. Lise Pyles home-educated her son for several years, and also had him in schools in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. Many tips - both for working with the schools and for home schooling. Very highly recommended.
Home Educating Our Autistic Spectrum Children, eds. Terry Dowty and Kitt Cowlishaw. Published by Jessica Kingsley. Contributors tell about home-educating children on all points of the autistic spectrum. British focus.
Home Schooling Children With Special Needs by Sharon Hensley. You can order this through the Almaden Valley Christian School website. http://www.almadenvalleychristianschool.com. Sharon is a special educator and mother of an autistic child. She tells you how to evaluate curriculum, set realistic goals, and she is very frank about the emotional struggles parents face. Very highly recommended.
Helping A Child With Nonverbal Learning Disorder or Asperger's Syndrome by Kathryn Stewart, Ph.D. Dr. Stewart is the leading founder and Executive Director of the Orion Academy, the first college prep school for AS/NLD students. Has many tips for helping our children to learn.
Many thanks to Laurie George firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to print her homeschooling resources