Homeschool High School with Special Needs Learners

How do you do great homeschool high school with special needs learners?

Homeschool High School with Special Needs Learners

Homeschool High School with Special Needs Learners

How does a homeschooler with learning weaknesses or special needs have a great high school experience and develop a solid transcript?

Not all homeschoolers are powerful academicians, but each one has a place in God’s kingdom. Their transcripts should be able to reflect the richness of their experiences and giftings, while being honest about academics. BTW- The young man in the photo above is my special nephew whose gifts are in being neighborly, hardworking and musical. His graduation from homeschooling high school was a proud day for him (and us all)!

Here are a few tips for developing a great time in high school and a good transcript for your teen:

1. Concentrate on strengths

Find an area or two and level up or show as specialty course.

By teen years, you and your homeschooler know strengths and interest areas. Lean into them for a leveling-up experience or a special course. Why not have a full credit in Civil War Studies or Auto Mechanics? Click here to find out how to level up or earn a Carnegie credit or other alternate (specialty course) credit. Here is a detailed post on out of the box credits for homeschool high schoolers with special needs.

research paper help for reluctant writers
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2. Compensate in weak areas

High school is the time to remediate where there are weak areas in your teen’s academics. Dedicate some time to writing skills (our curriculum is good for teens learning differences because it is presented in short, daily chunks- geared for success). You can get a novice research paper writer started with our FREEBIE guide. Switch out math curriculum (try Pearson’s Pacemaker series).

God's Smugglers Literature Study Guide
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Build inferential reading skills (Edcon Bring the Classics to Life workbooks are great at this- btw-ignore the alleged grade levels). Learn basic literature-reading skills (our lit study guides are short, success-oriented- and interesting). The literature study guides pictured here are some favorites of the special needs students I have worked with over the years.

Face the fact that you can’t do high powered courses in science (try Westfield Studios– be sure to follow the syllabus).          

Does your homeschooler need some extra compensations? Will a tutor be useful?

3. Have LOTS of sparkle on the transcript: community involvement, appropriate competitions, service opportunities

This is where your teen can shine. Plow into those talents and strengths. Volunteer at church- nursery, sound system, worship team/choir. Get involved in local homeschool organizations or in the case of spectrum teens- look into local autism/Aspergers support groups. Play a sport. Join a music group.

Look into competitions. There are lots of online opportunities- looks at Scholastic, local college sometimes sponsor science fairs, Poetry Outloud, Lego Robotics Leagues, National History Day, etc. Your teen doesn’t need to win- just have the experience for his transcript.

Volunteer at local food banks, libraries, missions organizations.

Show these on the transcript, not as credits, but as extracurriculars.

4. Try some apprenticeships

Discuss good work ethic skills: promptness, politeness, industriousness. Then let him/her try his skills with a time-limited apprenticeship. Look at local farms, florists shops, libraries, offices. Record these on the transcript under Career Exploration.

5. Teach strong interviewing skills

Practice some interview skills: dress business casual or business, sit straight, hands on knees, look toward/at interviewer, answer in complete sentences, have some questions to ask the interviewer.

Old Possums Book of Practical Cats Literature Guide
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6. If needed, update diagnostic testing if he/she will need compensations at college level

As mentioned above, not all homeschoolers need to go to college. However, if your teen feels led to go to college, it might be time to get some diagnostic testing. The first step is to look at a local educational psychologist or psychological testing service. The test results will include a list of needed compensations, if applicable.

7. Pray

You know this, anyway. This is the true secret for success in homeschooling high school. We all need God’s help and guidance (Hopefully, we do not sound too preachy, but we need the Holy Spirit in our homeschools!)

Does your teen know how to turn to God for help and guidance?

8. Bonus tip: Join a community!

These Facebook groups have lots of encouragement, support and practical tips and resources to help parents of special needs homeschooling high schoolers.

Check out this interview with Penny Rogers of Our Crazy Adventures with Autism.

Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville offers great support at EFM Education. 

What are some suggestions you would make for homeschoolers with special needs?

Also, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode with exciting Resources for 2e Teens (Interview with Sam Young).

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Homeschool High School with Special Needs Learners


Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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