When considering whether to homeschool students with current IEPs in the public school system, there are many details to cover, questions to answer, and things to research.
Here are 6 things to know about homeschooling your child who is currently enrolled in an IEP:
1) Know that you have the right to homeschool your child.
According to the HSLDA website, the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution protect the right of parents to homeschool their children. So from a federal standpoint, you should know you have full freedom to homeschool your child.
At the same time, it is important to research the statutes for your specific state. That way, you ensure you understand any special provisions surrounding homeschooling children with special needs. States may have different requirements or educational support offerings, so educate yourself fully before deciding to proceed.
2) Withdraw your child from school following the correct procedures.
In your withdrawal letter, ask specifically for IEP release. Families for Home Education (FHE) in Missouri has a sample request letter for this very purpose.
According to Missouri law, you must receive written notice from the school regarding their intentions for your child for the withdrawal process to be complete. This article about homeschooling in Missouri may also be of great help.
In Kansas, there are no additional specific requirements for withdrawing a student from school. You would want to follow the same standard process outlined here for beginning to homeschool.
3) Be aware that you aren’t required to have an IEP for homeschooling.
Public school systems use IEPs to create individualized learning plans, organize supporting therapeutic services and coordinate transportation needs. As homeschoolers, every student gets an individualized education and therapeutic support services and transportation are done privately. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) even recommends that homeschoolers not use the term IEP but rather Student Education Plan (SEP) to make the differentiation all the more marked.
4) Get help from local resources.
Kansas City has many resources for parents beginning the homeschool journey that can help provide some of the help previously met by IEPs. Check out our previous blog post about some of these resources to begin your research.
In addition, our annual conference usually has a solid offering of speaker sessions dedicated to homeschooling children with special needs. It can be a great opportunity to hear from parents who are a few steps ahead on the journey and learn from their experiences.
5) Find and pursue community for the journey.
Finding like-minded people going through the same or similar life experience provides support, encouragement and friendship during this important season. We all have difficult, challenging days and having a community of people to build you up and cheer you on is crucial for success.
Contacting the MPE office is a great first step in order to connect with local homeschool families with whom to walk this road.
6) Make sure to take breaks and take care of yourself
Taking a break on a regular basis and prioritizing time to take of yourself is very important. Homeschooling has many moments that are rewarding, but there are also those moments of frustration. Ensuring you have healthy outlets to rest and refresh is crucial to you and your student’s success.
Taking care of your physical health by eating nutritiously, getting enough sleep and a moderate amount of exercise each week will also do a lot to help you stay strong and equipped to serve your students.
Choosing to homeschool students with current IEPs is no light decision, but even though it can be hard work, the fruit is incredibly rewarding. Many parents are encouraged to see how the individualized attention and pacing homeschooling offers can result in a quality education and greatly improved learning experience for their children.
Interested in more information? See our complementary post on homeschooling with disabilities: legalities and procedures to know.