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2/12/2010 10:37:28 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter--February 2010

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
February 2010--S'More About SEPs
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by Betty Statnick
HSLDA Special Needs Coordinator

Homeschooling is not without challenges--especially when it comes to
teaching struggling learners and children with special needs. This
newsletter will introduce you to some resources which may help you
with the challenge of developing a Student Education Plan (SEP).

Dilemma

"Mom A," a very conscientious mom who was in her first year of
homeschooling, told me she and her son were schooling from early
morning until 10 p.m. "Mom A" explained why they were adhering to
that schedule. They had to meet the deadline requirements established
by the curriculum provider who would be awarding the grades for each
class in which her son was enrolled.

That mom's voice conveyed her exhaustion and also her fear that her
son, a slower processor, was equating learning with misery, and that
he would ultimately "just plain give up." Clearly, both mom and son
were candidates for burnout.

I commended "Mom A" for her obvious diligence in homeschooling her
son. Since she was sending out an SOS, I gave her some ideas for
modifying her program. I explained that "to modify" means "to make
changes." That mom elected to make those changes on her own.

Direction

Modifying a program, a curriculum, or daily plans to meet the needs of
your student is really what the SEP is all about.

If they choose, parents can develop their own SEP in conjunction with
a learning disabilities specialist, occupational therapist, physical
therapist, reading specialist, speech/language pathologist, or other
professional. You may want to review pages 38-39 of the
November/December 2009 Court Report
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7661. One of the Frequently Asked
Questions addressed there is, "How can I develop an IEP
(Individualized Education Plan) for my child?" PLEASE NOTE: We call
an IEP for home educators a Student Education Plan.

Parents sometimes "transfer" goals from their child's public school
IEP into an SEP. Parents don't have to "dream up" the wording for SEP
goals for their children. That work has already been done by some
experienced homeschool parents and other professionals. I own and
have described these widely used resources to parents:

The IEP Manual: A Functional Skills Curriculum for the Home Schooled
Handicapped Student by Debby Mills--available at www.NATHHAN.org.

Debby and husband Jim removed their son from a public school program
for the severely handicapped to school him at home. She calls the IEP
a "blueprint for a child's individual education." She has developed
the Functional Curriculum "which will prepare the student--regardless
of functioning level--with everyday living skills for life." The
Functional Curriculum is organized into six basic categories:
domestic, vocational, community, academic, recreation-leisure, and
character spiritual. This one-inch thick book contains IEP-type
forms, outlines of skills for ages 2 through high school, and so much
more.

The Student Education Plan (SEP)--A Preparation Guide by Judith
Munday-learn@helpinschool.net

Judy defines the SEP as "a document which accurately describes the
present skills and needs of a student, using recent test data if
available, and then links to those documented needs the specific goals
necessary for the student to achieve measurable educational progress."
Her book contains suggested wording for annual goals and also short
term goals. She includes sample SEPs which you (or someone working
with you) could use as guides for preparing your own SEP. She
explains the difference between modifications and accommodations and
why documentation of them in the SEP may be critical for your
student's college entrance testing as well as his performance on tests
in the college setting.

Note: Judy has also written the book Teaching Your Special Needs
Student: Strategies and Tools That Really Work. In that book she
discusses direct instruction, choosing curriculum materials, study
strategies, assistive technology, testing, and also use of graphic
organizers and rubrics.

IDOC--Individual Documentation System by Sharon Wallace and Julia
Hoch-bbapath@msn.com

Between the two of them, Sharon and Julia have 35 years of experience
homeschooling their children (including ones with special needs).
After homeschooling for many years, Sharon went on to earn a master's
degree in special education.

The IDOC (Individual Documentation System) is filled with samples of
different forms and explanations about using them. Included are forms
for step-by-step charting of progress as well as monthly learning
logs. Those sample learning logs cover elementary, junior high, and
high school levels. The authors also "spell-out" using and
documenting accommodations.

The IDOC contains some valuable information about awarding diplomas
and/or certificates of completion.

This resource should greatly simplify your record keeping.

These resources can be very helpful to you if you want to write an
IEP/SEP for your child. However, like "Mom A," you have the right on
your own to make changes to your child's program when the need arises.

"Dial" Us

I expect this newsletter to generate more questions. Please know that
HSLDA is more than an organization. It is people dedicated to helping
our members. Faith Berens, Dianne Craft, and Betty Statnick, of the
HSLDA Special Needs Department, are available to assist you with your
questions and concerns about SEPs and other matters.
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-> Can you look at the clouds and tell the direction of the wind?

An interesting phenomenon of wind is that it can blow in multiple
directions at the same time, at different heights from the ground.
But usually there is a prevailing wind. HSLDA watches the gusts
and monitors the prevailing trends of change in the legal climate
of home education. So no matter which way the wind is blowing,
we're there to protect your family.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1938

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