There are some parents who choose to homeschool their children after they have already been recognized by the state as a “special education student.” The laws regarding these students will vary depending upon the state you live in but there are some overall things that will remain the same.
Transitioning A Special Needs Student To Homeschooling
Regardless of when you choose to start homeschooling your special needs student there are still certain procedures that you must follow in regard to your state’s homeschool and special education laws.
The legal issues that can arise from homeschooling your special needs child will depend upon your state’s policies on filing a student portfolio and whether or not you want your child to continue receiving services from the school district (i.e. speech therapy, occupational therapy).
While there are some funds set aside for homeschoolers with special needs (except in states where homeschools are classified as private schools), this funding is rather small since most of the money has to be provided by the state.
Variances In State Laws For Homeschooling Special Needs Children
Most states tend to be fairly lenient in regard to the homeschooling of special needs children. However, there are four states (Pennsylvania, Iowa, Vermont and North Dakota) that require parents to complete additional procedures before they are granted legal permission to homeschool. Here are some of the states and what their expectations are:
- In Pennsylvania you must have you homeschool program approved by a licensed school psychologist or special education teacher.
- Iowa requires parents to have an Area Education Agency director approve their special education curriculum.
- Vermont requires that parents document their child’s special needs on their homeschool enrollment notice.
- In North Dakota’s homeschooled children must have an official diagnosis from a licensed psychologist. Parents must then file an education plan with their local school district.
States Offering IEPs
Taking your special needs child out of the public school system is not an easy decision to make. While most parents have found that it relatively easy to homeschool their special needs children as long as they are somewhat inventive in doing so, you should also know that there are some policies and programs that have been put into place to help homeschool students.
These allow children to continue to benefit from the resources that districts have access to. Of course, there are still a lot of states that don’t want to include students and thus cut them off completely, there are still some things that parents can do. To begin with you should know which states allow homeschool children to have IEPs. These include:
- Arkansas has really clear regulations in regard to homeschool IEPs. Children in this state that have an IEP are allowed to participate in special education services but with some limitations. Parents must send formal notification to the school that they are going to homeschool their child and the school district must then provide them with all of the information that they need to make a decision for or against the school’s services. In doing so the parents will know what services are and are not available to them.
- Utah’s homeschool students are only able to get services if there is a plan already in place before they sign off to homeschool. If they are able to receive services, these services will be similar to what public school students receive but they cannot receive more hours of service than private school students in the same district receive. The school and its staff are responsible to schedule any services for which they can extend as many as necessary up to this point.
There are also some states that may choose to furnish IEP services for homeschoolers. These states include Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin. They have very explicit regulations on IEP services for homeschoolers that have special needs. You can find their federal regulations and codes posted at their Department of Education (DOE) website. Make sure you visit it to learn about everything that is applicable to your specific circumstances.