Browse By Topic: Home Schooling

Are You Homeschooling Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired? Share Your Experience and Resources

Hi, homeschooling families! I have heard from many a family who has a child who is blind or visually impaired and who is researching homeschooling. And so I come to you, homeschooling families, asking you to share your experiences and advice. We’d love to glean from you and hear what it’s like to homeschool a child who is blind or visually impaired, empowering parents to recognize homeschooling as an option, in addition to traditional school placement options. A Few Questions for Homeschooling Families If you’re willing, please share your experience in the comment section below, and consider answering any or all of the

A Fun, Festive Holiday Take on the Expanded Core Curriculum

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and with a little intentionality, that can be the truth! This season needn’t be about expensive gifts but about what’s far more important… using the additional time off from work and school to reconnect with family, enjoying each other while creating lifelong memories and traditions. This year we remind you to look at holiday connections, memories, and traditions through the lens of creating enjoyable,

Being Your Visually Impaired Child’s Math Teacher and Motivator

Parents can feel overwhelmed with building their child’s math skills at home. When you have a child who is visually impaired, there are unique challenges, and it may feel like only the professionals know how to teach math to your child. Good news. You do not need to know braille, Nemeth (math code), or the UEB math code, and you do not have to own specialized equipment to assist your child with math. Here are a few tips to help you teach your child foundational math skills,

A Great Book Escape: A Multi-Sensory Adventure for Children with Visual Impairments

What if, this summer, you invite your child with a visual impairment (and any siblings) on an adventure of a lifetime. A type of summer vacation from the norm, one we’ll call a summer escape. This adventure will not require leaving the house and is ideal even when cash and time are strapped. It will, however, require pre-planning, creativity, and most of all, your enthusiasm. This summer adventure is an escape into a book. I dare

FamilyConnect’s Latest Article Series: Delayed Communication Development in Blind and Visually Impaired Children

This past week I enthusiastically attended American Foundation for the Blind’s leadership conference just outside of Washington, DC. Since returning home to Delaware, I have been reflecting on which message or session was the most personally impactful of the event; I choose the words of Linda Hagood, Speech Language Pathologist of Washington State School for the Blind. Ms. Hagood spoke on teaching students who are blind or visually impaired and autistic or are otherwise communicatively delayed. She began by addressing typical approaches to educational programming: symbol systems,

Braille Instruction, Too Often Neglected in Children with Low Vision

We recently discussed the importance of braille on AFB FamilyConnect. Many parents of older children and teens with vision loss, as well as many adults with vision loss, spoke out in agreement that braille is of utmost importance when print-reading is a struggle. So, with this information, why is braille instruction often neglected in children with low vision? Too often the

100th Day of School; Now to Make the Last 80 Count! (For Children with Vision Loss)

Elementary shirts are decorated with 100 gemstones, pompoms, or googly eyes; kinder snack bags are filled with ten groups of ten snacks; the more fearless in the classroom are decked out as to look 100 years old; and you know it, our kiddos are “100 Days Smarter” (say poster boards in classrooms across America). I love that most elementary schools celebrate the 100th day of school. It’s a fun reason to get hands-on with a variety of 100 manipulatives, and it’s a reminder to students, parents, and teachers that we’ve more than crossed the half-way threshold of the school year. We’ve summited the mountain; we’re headed down. Yet, every

What You Need to Know About the Expanded Core Curriculum for Children Who Are Blind

Hi, familiesteacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) here. As a TVI, my primary role is teaching students who are blind or visually impaired the subjects and skills of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). This is the main role of TVIs in all educational settings, including residential schools for the blind, resource rooms, or itinerant

Transitions, Not So Easy!

Well, it is fall again, my favorite time of year. It's harvest, the weather is good, and finally the temperatures are where I like them. With fall season, begins the school year, another transition. And like fall, not always predictable. Change is inevitable, but not always easy and sometimes decisions have to be made. Evaluation from Perkins School for the Blind I’ve always wanted an evaluation for Vinnie at Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts. Perkins is 250 miles from our home and three states

The Best School Environment for Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

You have many options. Your state’s school for the blind; a local school for children with multiple disabilities; a classroom for children with disabilities in your neighborhood elementary; a regular classroom and a part-time resource room; a regular classroom in your neighborhood school with an itinerant (traveling) teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI); homeschooling. Yes, the list begins to feel overwhelming. Because which is the ideal school environment for your child? Where will he or she make the greatest strides in academics, blindness-specific skills, and social skills? Where will your child


What a spring this has been, especially after the winter that wasn’t. Spring to me is always like unwrapping a new package. I just never know what is going to be in it. I feel the same way about learning. Each year is like unwrapping a package. Vinnie is always surprising me. We do the same old things, adding on new things, which build on what we have already learned. We try some new things too. I always find joy in those new accomplishments. We have some changes coming. I never like those. Most of us prefer what we know, that which is comfortable. I like a predictable routine. Vinnie turns 10. Adolescence is coming. He is growing

I’m Learning, Too!

In case you haven't noticed by now, let me point out that I am fiercely independent! I am an advocate for family-centered services. I don't like (very mild word) bureaucracies that exist for the good of the agency rather than the client. I'm rather outspoken. And I have to sit with my hands over my mouth when in any kind of meeting where I'm going to say something I shouldn't or that is in anger. I have that conversation in my head, so it won't slip out. Anger, while it might make you feel better, is destructive to what you want to gain. I work really hard to remain positive. It is that Yankee independent streak! My pet peeve

How Do the Pieces Fit Together?

I can’t say I’m sitting here in a snow storm, because we’ve only had one. There are only a few inches of snow on the ground. The pond is frozen, but not safe to walk on or go ice fishing. It’s going to snow/rain this weekend. Usually we have 0 and below temps. But, I know the big one is coming! It doesn’t fit in with our regular winter. It changes how we do things. Home schooling changes how we do things too. Schedules, daily routines, teaching materials, and expectations all change. The best parts of these changes are no school meetings, less stress (unless you put it on yourself), choices in what to teach (curriculum, functional,

Inspired by the Holidays: Take an "Autumn Walk" and Encourage Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired to Discover the Sights, the Smells, and the Feel of Fall

I will never forget his question. My transition students and I were on a nature trail walk and it was a particularly rocky section. One teen who was totally blind opted for sighted guide, so I offered him my arm. We all strolled on and chatted; all except this one, typically talkative, teen. "What's on your mind?" I asked. "Ms. Shannon, how many snakes do you see?" he asked with a quivering voice. "What?! None! Why do you ask?" "I know snakes live in the woods. I thought you must see them all over the place." I assured him that snakes prefer to flee from the noise and if I saw one,

Odds and Ends and Homeschool in Braille

The joy of home school is setting your own school time. You also have the flexibility to change the time based on needs and progress. Three to three-and-a-half hours of day in home school translates into a good 5 to 6 hours of public school with arrive times, bells, class change, recess, lunch, and ready to go. That doesn’t even include bus time. The bus picks up the senior next door at 6:45 AM and returns at approximately 3:45. That is one heck of a long day. We use our time doing things like listening to a book and playing outside, getting “GASP” exercise. We also have more time to work on ADLS (activities of daily living skills).

The Disconnect and a New Phrase, "Not Collaborative"

There is such an amazing lack of information or disconnect in the general public regarding vision issues and education. I am always amazed, but I guess I shouldn't be. I find myself educating. Most of the time it is lack of understanding, rather than malice that drives the misunderstanding. It has been a rather interesting beginning to our new homeschool year. For the first time in 3 years (we are beginning our 4th homeschool year with our visually impaired son), we

Sooo, What About School in Summer?

Summer school or no summer school is a hard question. It is an individual decision. Some areas have local schools for the blind that offer a range of recreation, independent living skills development, social opportunities, and skills building opportunities in a short burst of fun in a camp-like setting. Depending on what your child's IEP says regarding summer school, there is usually a short 6 to 8-week shortened summer school program in a less structured environment. There are local bible schools/camps through churches, YMCA or YWCA day camp, camps for special needs children, etc. I have mentioned some of these options before as opportunities for social interaction for home schooled children.

Socialization: How We Teach Matters as Much as What We Teach!

"If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn." - Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas, UCLA I like planting! I plan what, when, where, and how. I know the who: me. So if my crop fails, it is my fault. Same with my planning school work for the next year. I do it much the way I plan my garden, with a lot of the work done mentally in my head and an awareness of whether conditions are right for what I am planning/planting. Then I peruse my favorite catalogues. I do a lot of mental work before I ever start. I look at what we have done and what do I/we need to do to get to the next level. I am getting to the end of the year. Which means I not only evaluate (not formally, although you could) what we have

The Big Picture: Planning for the Future

Well, it is snowing again, actually snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The prediction for today is 3 to 6 inches and/or 6 to 12 inches and it is going to last into tomorrow. We live in the border region, the foot hills. A few miles makes a big difference. So, today, I have time to brood/think. No church for us. What is in our future? I do mean "our." My twins will soon be 8. I am 61. Will I be in sufficient health to raise our sons to adulthood? Will Vinnie continue to progress as he is now? Will Brandon's retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) get worse or remain stable? All questions we face each day. I tend to push those to the back of my mind and continue on with our daily routine. Do you

Home Schooling a Blind Child: A Day Off

We're pleased to host a second blog post from Susan Harper, who has been home schooling for 22 years. by Susan Harper The joys of home schooling are the flexibility to work schedules around whatever. Today, my son is sick for the third day. He is down on the couch, never a good sign. This bug has gone through our entire household, one person at a time. I had to cancel OT and O&M this week because Vinnie is sick. He is rarely sick because he doesn't bring home whatever is circulating at public school. That too is a benefit of home schooling. However, his older sister started college and brought home this lovely viral thing and it decided to stay. I am using this unexpected

Home Schooling a Blind Child

We are pleased to feature a FamilyConnect community member as a guest blogger today, writing about her experiences choosing to home-school a child who is blind. Susan has been a registered/licensed medical technologist for 35 years. She writes, "I finished my BS degree 15 years later in health education and worked as a social worker in adoption and therapeutic foster care. I earned my MS in Special Education 10 years ago. My husband and I have been foster/adoptive parents for 32 years, adopting 11 of our 14 children and fostering 30+ children. We have been a home school family for approximately 20 years. In my spare time, I'm a notary public and love to do weddings!" <img src="" alt="Susan Harper and family,

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