Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner with Confidence – Peggy Ployhar (Bonus Session)

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Session Topics:

  1. Relational imperative
  2. Tapping into more than just resources
  3. Learning tangents
  4. Peace-Factor Decision Making
  5. Goals & schedules

Peggy Ployhar, SPED Homeschool Founder & CEO, is a leader in the special education homeschooling community and a frequent writer and speaker on special education homeschooling issues as well as the host of SPED Homeschool Conversations, a weekly talk show about special education homeschooling. Peggy’s journey into homeschooling started 18 years ago when her oldest child was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

Peggy is the former THSC (Texas Home School Coalition) Special Needs Team Lead, MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) Special Needs Coordinator and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Area Coordinator for MN, ND, and SD. She is certified by the American Association of Christian Counselors and trained as a Precept Bible Study leader.

In her free time, Peggy enjoys aerial silks, paddle boarding, cooking, hiking, and reading as well as encouraging women in their walk with the Lord on her personal YouTube channel, Daily Revelations.

Peggy and her husband Doug live in League City, TX, where they still homeschool the youngest of their three children (22, 20, and 15).

Automated Transcript (spelling and grammar errors are guaranteed!)

Yvette Hampton:           Hey everyone. I am Yvette Hampton, host of the Homegrown Generation Family Expo and I am so glad that you are with us today for this bonus session with Peggy Ployhar. Peggy is the founder and CEO of sped homeschool, a leader in the special education homeschooling community and a frequent writer and speaker on the special education homeschooling, on special homeschooling education issues as well as the host of SPED Homeschool Conversations, a weekly talk show about special education homeschooling. So Peggy, thank you for joining us today. Thanks for having me. We are so thrilled. We, um, we, we’ve podcasted with you before and you and I have met and I love what you’re doing with sped homeschool. I know that there are many parents who feel like they cannot homeschool because they have a child with special needs. Um, some of them are very extreme, some of them are not very extreme at all, but they still need attention.

Yvette Hampton:           And so you and I both know that oftentimes doctors will say, well, you know, they need to be put in this special class and they need to have this special attention and they need to have these special resources and you have proven time and time again and worked with many, many families to show that that is not always necessary. Most of the time mom can teach or dad can teach their child at home. They just need the resources that are available to them and they need the encouragement and the confidence to do that. So you are bringing to us today this bonus session called homeschooling your struggling learner with confidence. Um, so thank you for joining us today.

Peggy Ployhar:  You’re so welcome. And like I told you for restarted as this is just going to be a coffee conversation, this would be what, um, what, I know that so many parents need just to gain confidence because you do, you have everything you need. But oftentimes we, uh, we forget the most important things that, um, that are equipping us and giving us the confidence to make it through and to see our kids succeed. Cause that’s what we want.

Yvette Hampton:           That’s right. That’s right. So, all right, well I am gonna let you take it from here and bring your great encouragement and then I will meet back up with you at the end.

Peggy Ployhar:  Great. Sounds good. Hi everybody. Um, I am excited to share with you, um, what I’ve learned in the last 15 years of being a consultant with parents who homeschool children with special needs and also homeschooling and graduating to my own three children already. And um, there are lots of times where we lose our confidence and we need somebody to put things back into perspective. And so, um, even my team members come to me with the same, the same issues because we forgive them so often. And so I just want this to be a reminder to you. If you’ve been homeschooling for a while, you can do this, you can this confidently and if you’re just getting started, don’t believe everything they’re ready tells you, like the experts event was talking about of, um, I have to rely on all this expert advice and I am just upon in this whole scheme of my child’s education.

Peggy Ployhar:  And that I really just don’t even know what I’m doing and I’m not best suited for this. I think we downplay our own role in our own selves. We too much. Um, you truly are your child’s expert and I want to, um, to really build up that confidence in you that you can do this and that there are resources out there to fill in those gaps that you have, but also that you can draw on things that those experts can’t. And that is where you need to gain your greatest confidence because that is what is truly going to help your child succeed the most. And that’s why we seem so much failure in our special education system is because that part is taken out. And what am I talking about? Well, I’m going to cover five main things and this conversation and the first one is the most important.

Peggy Ployhar:  It’s your relationship with your child. And this is the part that gets removed when our children go to school. Yes, they have a relationship with their teacher, but you know, they don’t live with their teacher. Their teacher doesn’t know everything about them. Once they get, you know, multiple kids in a classroom, they can’t, um, it’s not their fault. But you as a parent do know your child very well. And there’s, there’s some issues that come into play when, um, you’ve had your child going to a school, maybe even it’s a preschool and they start to be taught that mom and dad aren’t the expert, but the teachers are the experts and even subconsciously, they don’t understand that this is what they’re taking in. And so a lot of times when if you’re just starting homeschooling and you’re realizing you’re having this friction with your child, that could be one of the reasons.

Peggy Ployhar:  And I can’t tell you how many parents that I’ve been on the phone with who have said, what do I do? My child doesn’t listen to me. Well, it’s because they honor another teacher figure more than you. And that needs to be reestablished. Oftentimes when we talk about getting started, homeschooling, we talk about D schooling and I want to encourage you, even if you’ve been homeschooling for a while in school and the curriculum has gotten in between you and your child, take a step back and do this again because the schooling truly is about reestablishing your relationship with your child and making, learning the core of what you’re doing, not the curriculum. And so how do you do this? Well, we spend time. Time is important. It’s not quality. Time is quantity. It’s how much time can I invest in my child. And I know that’s a really hard thing, especially for achievers like me, to do things like that, to show my children that they mean something, that mom wants to invest in their lives and not just invest the things that I think are important, but invest in the things that they think are important.

Peggy Ployhar:  Because that is what truly establishes honor. You know, when we are in a relationship or we’re put under the instruction of somebody and we don’t trust that person, do we truly listen to what they’re saying or do we kind of just put it in the back of our heads is kinda good advice that maybe I’ll draw from later. Let your kids do the same thing with you if you are so worried about other things and don’t invest time with them. I learned that to establish the greatest amount of honor with my kids that I did that while putting on superhero costumes and running around my house while building Legos and in going shopping with my daughter to, to thrift things that she’s making wild clothes out of. So, um, but that is their interests or was their interest when they were younger and I, and there is where they saw mom cares.

Peggy Ployhar:  She doesn’t care just about the things that she cares about. She cares about me, she cares about my stuff. And so I am going to honor her in return because I can now trust her. And, and that’s when schooling starts to click even more. And we find this especially true when children have had a really hard time in school and we pushed them and pushed them hard and say, I know you can do this. And it happens even in our homeschool. It doesn’t just happen in public and private schools, is that we push them to the brink of them shutting down. And that relationship first and foremost needs to be re-established before we can expect our child to really start learning from us again. So if you’re at this frustration point with your child, and this often happens around age 10 and the kind of the preteen years and then the teen years, especially for boys, um, that they just have this kickback because that is when they reorient relationships in their lives and you need to come back to the top and it’s well worth it.

Peggy Ployhar:  I promise you. Because now that my boys are adults and when they have issues, guess what? They messaged mom because mom’s an important person in their lifestyle. And so if you want to look at it, even longterm relationship matters and it’s worth the investment because it’s going to affect all of your homeschooling. So that’s my first point for you. My second one is about efficacy and resources. Now, efficacy means I asked for help when I need it and I let others know what I need as far as help and the resources are the actual helps. Oftentimes we get these two mixed up because we first look for the resources without really realizing what do I need for resources and why do I need them? Because the first question that comes out of many people’s mouths when they first started homeschooling and when they start struggling with their child is what curriculum do you use?

Peggy Ployhar:  Because they want to switch curriculum because curriculum must be the problem and it must be the solution. The problem is is it’s not. There’s lots of good resources out there and if you were to ask me and my team who have all homeschooled children with special needs, what curriculum we use, we’ve all used different ones and they’ve all been successful. The thing is is there’s many different factors involved in picking the right instructional method and the right helps you need as a parent to homeschool your child. But you have to figure out what those are before you start asking questions about what curriculum should I use and all the other stuff that I need to make this work. So here’s some things you have to, I want to give you to think through as you’re thinking about that. Um, first of all, what do you need as a teacher and what works for you to teach your student and what, what?

Peggy Ployhar:  This is really important because you’re the one who’s opening up the books and figuring out the lesson and if it doesn’t work for you, it’s not going to work. I have found that I bought curriculum and never used it because it was so complicated to figure out. It just made my brain span and I couldn’t do it. I just had to walk away. I find I am a much more creative person. I like curriculum gives me options but not must-dos. Some people may prefer a totally different, they want a step by step guide on what they do to teach us every lesson. That’s great. That’s wonderful to know about yourself. If I had that, that would’ve been curriculum that got thrown out the door for me. But when you start realizing what you need, then you can go to conferences and curriculum fairs. You can open up books and say, does this have what I need to teach my child and what helps I need on my end to make me be in this process.

Peggy Ployhar:  Next thing to look at is what does your schedule look like? Some people can school every day of the week, some can’t. Is it flexible enough that I don’t have to have all these lessons that have to go day to day today, five days a week in order to make them work? Um, or maybe if I have five days, that’s perfect and it will work for me. But, but think about your schedule and how many hours a week and even a day do I need to invest per subject? Um, or based on the, the plan that’s laid out in the curriculum, can I tweak it or can’t die and is again, that gonna fit with all the other things we have going on in our lives. Cause remember you may have therapies to work into that you may have doctor’s appointments to work in, that you may have to take large gaps because when upcoming surgery that your child has scheduled, yes, these are things that we have to think of in addition that many crickets writers don’t think about.

Peggy Ployhar:  But if they’re designed flexible enough, they will work around what do you need to work around? But you have to make sure that they do again before you invest in them. And then finally does your job respond to it. That’s usually the first question people ask, but it’s really the last one you need to ask because even if your child responds to some kind of input method very well, it may not be the best instructional method. I’m going to give you an example. So my boys love video games and I thought, great, they need to learn typing. We’ll just buy a game that will teach them how to type. This is when I learned the error of my ways and never did this again because the mindset of my children when they play a video game is to win it, the level up to go through it as fast as possible.

Peggy Ployhar:  The problem is with typing, typing is something that you learn as you do it over and over and over again. And it’s not something you rush through. So was that the proper instructional method for what I was trying to teach? No, it was not. Eventually we had to throw away the game and I went to the library and they were thankfully selling one of those old typing books from the high school and that you had the flip pages on that sat next to their desk. And that is how they learned to type. And it worked flawlessly because they just had one thing to do a day. They could check it off on their list and, and they learned to type. So, um, so again, input, understanding your child’s best input methods is important, but also take it in the context of what you’re teaching and if that would really work with what they’re doing.

Peggy Ployhar:  Again, a lot of games too. Another thing I want to point out is a lot of games test they don’t teach and especially math is where you’re going to see that. Um, so if you’re using a math program, make sure that it has an instructional component to it as well. It’s not just shoot the right answer because that’s not actually teaching them concepts and instructing them in mathematical processes. All it’s doing is making sure they get the right answer. If, um, and for memorizing math facts, that’s great. But for a lot of other things in math it’s not so great. So things to take into consideration. Definitely. So now as you’re actually looking at curriculum and asking that important question, what curriculum should I use? I want to address one more question that we get. And this is the number one question that we’ve been receiving as we’ve been at conferences the last couple of years is, well this is the diagnosis of my child.

Peggy Ployhar:  So what curriculum would work best for them? And I can’t tell you how much that drives my team crazy because she’s like, maybe how do I answer that? Um, because every child with the same diagnosis, he has not the same, they don’t live in the same house. And even though a curriculum for a child on the autism spectrum may work for one family, it’s not going to work for the other. Again, based on what I just talked about, your teaching method, your schedule and your child’s input methods that they learned from best. So again, yes, it’s a diagnoses. It will give you something to work from usually on what your child does well at what they struggle with. Um, but those are again factors to take in that isn’t the determining factor for how you choose curriculum. So again, I said people on my team as well as I have used all different curriculums, but there are some commonalities among the curriculums that we have used that work for the majority of families who homeschool children with special needs.

Peggy Ployhar:  They’re usually flexible. They provide different options so that, um, you can teach a method using a tactile, auditory, a visual method. They give you lots of different input methods because oftentimes a child who struggles will not click with a learning concept. Sometimes the first time you teach them you need to them from a different direction. And if the curriculum provider is giving you those, it’s less work you need to do on your end looking for other things to use to reteach that concept in the different way. And so, um, so there are some curriculums that do offer that. And um, again, there, there’s lots of reviews out there. We’ve vetted organizations as well as on on our website and have lots prioritizations that have those. Um, so flexible schedules, again, back to that. Um, and you can, you can check that up. Investments, some curriculum costs a lot of money and sometimes it’s worth the money because again, it’s going to save you time and it depends on what you weigh out as being most important.

Peggy Ployhar:  So if there’s a curriculum you’re looking at, no matter what it costs, get samples of it, try it out in your homeschool, see if it works for you. So I started homeschooling many years ago. There was not a whole lot of curriculum out there when I started, but I knew there were three main methods. The first method that I looked at was textbooks. Yeah, that’s an option. Um, the second one was more of a literacy based and the other was a unit study. And so I decided to test it out. Maybe you want to do this too. This is a good thing to do if you’re just getting started and saying, well, we have some D schooling time. Let’s try this. So I decided on a theme, our theme was pirates. And so I decided I would find a textbook and read my kids, you know, the textbook description of what a pirate was.

Peggy Ployhar:  And so we spent one afternoon talking about that and they filled out coloring pages. A lot of times books have coloring pages and things like that. Well that didn’t go over too well. So I got some literature based on pirates. My kids thought that was kind of fun, you know, read, read story books about pirates and we’ll, we’ll do that. Um, so I thought, okay, well that might be a hit cause we tried that out and then we got to the next day, the unit study and I um, I said to my kids, okay so we’re going to learn rope time because sailors needed to tie all these different kinds of knots. Problem is, is you’re not just going to learn from the book how to tie the knots. You’re going to use this 20 feet of cord and you can tie me up as long as you use the prep and mats.

Peggy Ployhar:  Well that was great fun. I enjoyed the creative side of it, the fun part of it, sort of my kids. And we ended up doing unit studies all the way through high school for my oldest because of that experiment. So I want you to think about this as you’re looking at curriculum and saying, what will work best for us? Try it. Try it. You don’t have to invest in it first to see if it works. A lot of cricket and companies will give you samples free on their website if they don’t call them and say, I’d love to try it out. Um, some even give you a free trial. So, um, and also don’t think that it has to be accredited in order to work because, um, very few state laws actually require accredited curriculum. And so, um, so definitely check with your state laws.

Peggy Ployhar:  But, um, most times the credit curriculum will not work with the struggling learner because it’s very set on pace and it’s set on all subjects being taught at the same level. And it makes it very difficult for a child who struggles, especially in one area or maybe even all. So, um, something to think about. Another thing that you can draw on as far as resources are consultants and consultants can be extremely helpful if you have a child who struggles now, are you a member of HSL da, the homeschool legal defense association. If you are, guess what, you already have access to consultants included in your membership. Yes, they’re struggling. Learner consultants are accessible to you whenever you want them. That’s included with your membership and you can call them up. Say, I’m looking at this curriculum and this is what my child is dealing with. Is this a good choice?

Peggy Ployhar:  You can also ask them to help review testing on records that you have maybe that you brought home from the school when you went through your student or that you had done by an independent tester or done by the school district as a homeschooler. You can often ask the school district to test your students. Um, that’s again, depending on your state law, but um, but they can help you set up goals for your students. They can help you pick curriculum and, and kind of get you started in that direction. If you’re not a member of HSL the aim and you prefer to go to more independent route, there are a lot of private consultants you can hire that will help you do that exact same thing. And um, they all have different rates, but you can find them, you’ll find them on our website. Um, but they will be able to help you get started if you need somebody longterm, they’re willing to walk with you longterm as well through all the ups and downs of your homeschool.

Peggy Ployhar:  And they will be your constant resource. Or if you feel like, I just need somebody jumpstart me, get me going, and then I’m, I’m good to go, they can be there for that as well. So, so those are some options if you, you think, I just need somebody to come alongside me for a little while. Consultants are great option in that respect. And then finally, instructional materials for you. Mom, dad, there’s a lot of them out there. How do I homeschool? Well, there’s curriculum companies that actually have consultants that teach you how to use their curriculum and or they have videos on how to do that. And so draw on those. Invest in yourself as a teacher. And I know that’s really hard because oftentimes we’re investing so much in her child. But again, back to that, um, the example that’s used so much about, if you don’t put that oxygen mask on yourself first, then you won’t be ready to put the oxygen mask on your child.

Peggy Ployhar:  The same thing with homeschooling, a struggling learner. It’s not as easy as just flying by the seat of your pants and making it work every day. Sometimes you can do that. Um, but a lot of times you need to be taught how to teach. I learned so much from my team members that were special ed teachers and they’ll even tell you, I still have more to learn. I taught special ed, one of my Tiggers taught special ed for over a decade in the schools and now she’s being faced with things with their own children that she’s never experienced and she has to relearn it. We are all in a learning process and we have to keep learning alongside our children and learning how to teach them. So, um, so you can, you can go to the curriculum providers for education. Um, that’s why I do my interview every week.

Peggy Ployhar:  I interview different experts and um, do a broadcast because there are so many good methods out there that can help you to teach your child better. And, um, we want to make that possible for you. So I’m learning every week and I hope you learn with me anyways. So, um, those are some things as far as resources go that are available to you and most of them are free. So, um, so definitely utilize them. And so the next thing I want to talk about is learning tangents. Now this was something I had no clue about when I first started homeschooling, but I had to learn about it very quickly because I had children that struggled and who was that school was really hard. And, um, it especially became clear to me after what I had done in my own homeschool. Other parents were taking a different route because when I focused on learning tangents, they focused on removing everything else.

Peggy Ployhar:  Now here’s what, so, um, I would have parents call me as a consultant and say, Peggy, my child’s struggles in reading and they can’t finish their reading with all the other things. So I removed all the other subjects from their school and they still can’t finish the reading and I have a hard time holding my tongue about why did you do that? And instead say, would you like it if the one thing you hated most in your day was the only thing you had to focus on? I know if someone told me that I had to clean my house every day when I get up, I would roll over and go back to bed because that’s the one thing I hate to do the most. And so, um, unfortunately we do this to our children when they struggle in school is we think if we cut out everything else, it’ll just make it easier for them.

Peggy Ployhar:  Well, no, it makes it the one thing that they have to look at all day long. So let’s create some learning tangents and some other things that we can put into their school that make it more fun and make them succeed and see that they can accomplish things. So for my children, my oldest struggled so much in reading. He didn’t learn to read until he was 10 and um, we just did his lessons every day and plowed through. He loved audio books and so I would give my audio books to listen to and we would keep doing the phonics and, you know, struggle through it. Well, the wonderful side of the story is at age 11 the state that we lived in required us to do testing every year. So I know this from his testing, is that at age 11, he was reading at a college level.

Peggy Ployhar:  He made that jump in one year. We sometimes Lau fear that my child’s not going to get caught up. They’re not going to be able to do this if I just, we get so wrapped up in what they’re not doing that we forget to focus on what they really can do and what they’re really good at. So for my son, what I did was I built engineering into a school and as part of his curriculum, one year we did mechanical engineering and he built historical bridges using, kind of connects it. And then it made it easier when he saw that on his schedule for school that he pressed through the reading to get to the thing that he wanted to do even more. And so oftentimes what I tell parents to do is add more, add more to their schedule, things that you may not even consider a subject to what they’re doing during their day, because that is where they’re going to see success.

Peggy Ployhar:  And you just never know. Like with my son, yeah, he loved Legos. He loved connects, he loved those things. Did I know he was going to be an engineer? And that next semester he’ll be graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering. Nichola what God did. And so yes, put in those things that they love because you never know what they’re going to learn from them. That’ll push them on to where they’re going. So, um, so just follow their interests. It may seem completely ridiculous to you to add that as a subject and their school, especially when they’re young. I think one, when they get older we tend to see, you know, cooking and sewing and all those crafty, you know, different things that they do. Auto mechanics as appropriate school but not maybe when they’re in grade school. But why not do that. Um, and plus you don’t even have to think of a creative name for it, what other transcripts like you do in high school.

Peggy Ployhar:  So, um, so do that because once you’re going to see is that your student is going to start realizing, Oh, I’m good at things because they may struggle in every academic subject that exists, but they may just flourish in other things that you then put into school. And I’m not an they an unschooler. Um, but I think there is a point to, to adding some things in that your children love and that they direct the learning for. And you may need to go out and get outside experts because you’re not the expert in this and you can’t teach it at all. You may need to find a club and um, and find a group of people that love that thing to do. I know I’ve driven 20 miles each way to take my daughter to an art school in downtown Houston because that is her love.

Peggy Ployhar:  And um, that has paid off huge benefits. We don’t do it every semester, but when there are semesters that they offer classes that she finds could be useful, we do. Um, and it may just be enlisting the help of a friend and that has that interest and knowledge and you don’t so, so think outside the box as well and don’t think I have to be the expert or I have to find the resource that I can teach somebody else can too. And it can be just an activity that they do that you come to school, put it in their planner, whatever you do used for their school and um, and make them see that it’s important. That’s what’s most, um, most important is that they see that is just as important as reading and math. And, um, and they’ll push through though. They’ll, they’ll continue to grow in those things.

Peggy Ployhar:  And, um, oftentimes we, we don’t even do this in high school. And I think that’s another thing I want to address is that we see the academics as so essential. Yet I’ve learned now that I’ve graduated to that the most important things that my children learned. Yes. They know how to do math at different levels based on what they were able to accomplish and read. Um, but knowing themselves and knowing what they liked, what they didn’t like and um, and who they were as a person and what they excelled at. And, um, those were probably the most important things other than the relationship with us is their parents and each other, um, when they can continue learning all those academic subjects through the rest of their lives. But, um, but can they make wise choices on their own? And a lot of times those things center on who am I and do I know myself and do, can I fall back on the relationships and people that I trust, do I have people to trust?

Peggy Ployhar:  So back to those two points. So, um, the next thing I wanted to talk about is called the peace factor for decision making. Oftentimes we don’t know what to do. We’re kind of at an impasse whether we’re just beginning homeschooling and we go, I’ve got so many options. Yeah, that’s a nice um, maybe, but maybe sometimes too many options is not a good thing either. I know when I started schooling, homeschooling, I had no options hardly for homeschooling, a struggling learner and now there’s way too many and it’s still the same problem. So how do you make a decision and then you have all this expert advice coming at you saying, do this, this is what works for my child, this is what this study says. And then maybe 10 years later they’re going to totally disprove that study and give you some new information.

Peggy Ployhar:  How do you know what to do? I’ve had parents on the other side of the phone with me many times asking me the same question. And the thing that I’ve learned over and over again as to how to respond to that is where do you have peace? If you don’t have peace in something, it’s not what God has intended. If you feel uneasy, if you feel agitated, if you feel you need to rush in to do something, that is not what you’re supposed to do. Um, God created your child. He knows exactly what your child needs and exactly when your child needs that. And he will always provide, if you ask and if you provide, when you ask, take it, run with it, do it. You will look back many years from now and say, yes, that was exactly what I was supposed to do. If he doesn’t give you anything and you’re in this time of waiting, don’t just put things in that seemed to make sense to you and again, doesn’t give you peace. Because a lot of times when I found myself doing that, I ended up having to backtrack. And um,

Peggy Ployhar:  instead of focusing on my child, I was focusing on the anxiety that was welling up inside me because they weren’t doing this on the timeline that I thought they should. And they weren’t keeping up with their peers as everybody told me they should be doing. And when we did those types of things, I actually created more frustration in my child and myself and things that we had to go back and repair instead of being able to move on and to, to jump into with a lot of energy and be ready to go into as the right solution that got provided at the right time. So, um, so definitely think about that as you have different things coming up and you’re making decisions about what am I gonna do for curriculum? What am I gonna do for therapy? What am I going to do about my child?

Peggy Ployhar:  Making friends, pray, ask, peaceful lead you peaceful, lead you in the right direction. I promise. So, um, Oh and I also want to address this too. Sometimes God gives you the craziest ways to resolve your piece and you think, why would I use that in my homeschool? Now let me tell you, every time that I have followed his advice in doing some kind of crazy things, I’ve seen the payback. Okay. I want to share an example. So my oldest, not my oldest, my second oldest kind of had a burnout in high school and he ended up his last year of high school podcasting, video editing, video, recoloring doing a whole bunch of video stuff and graduating. Well then he started working for my nonprofit. Guess what? I needed somebody who was good at podcasting and editing and um, and all of those things that he was very well versed in.

Peggy Ployhar:  And, um, and what if I would have just really pressed in with him and would have created, divided our relationship. I know for sure cause it already was, and I wouldn’t have had that year of him working for a nonprofit when we first started, um, to develop a close relationship with him, to help him see how much he had gifts in those areas and that he could build on those and that he had ideas and he thought differently than other people and that that was a benefit to employers and that he needed to remember that when he went on to his next job. So, so those are things to just keep in the back of your mind when you’re going to, I just do what everybody else is doing when I don’t feel peace about it or do I do what God’s telling me to do, even though it seems totally an absolutely ridiculous with ridiculous it’ll work.

Peggy Ployhar:  So, um, the last thing that I want to talk about is goals and scheduling. So setting goals. If you listen to any expert, they’re going to tell you if you set over three goals, you’re really setting yourself up for failure. Because our human nature is we can’t focus on more than than three. So set your goals wisely, firstly, for your student, because those are the things that you’re going to focus on over and over again. And they could be some pretty broad goals or they could be rather specific. And again, these schools don’t have to last for the whole year for your students. I’m just finishing up writing a whole chapter on transition planning for high schoolers and goals are huge because they’re what you said at the beginning of their high school career to say this is where they’re going to end up, but their high span of the high school career and are we going to be able to do what we need to do to get there?

Peggy Ployhar:  Well, sometimes those goals are set to just get to a skill that maybe they can learn in a week or two weeks or maybe their goals that they have to work on it for a long time and maybe social skills or other things like that that you need to work bit by bit by bit at to get to that end goal. But whatever it is, if you don’t have a goal, you’re really kind of going nowhere. Oftentimes we allow curriculum to do this for us. But if you have a child that struggles, oftentimes you’re pulling in lots of different kinds of curriculum to reach one single goal. So, um, so make sure you’ve written those down. Figure out ways that you can measure them so that you’re not going, are we really doing things that are leading us to where we want to go or are we just doing school?

Peggy Ployhar:  Um, a lot of times we’re just doing school. But if you’re purposeful in setting those goals and taking time out to measure what you’re doing, then you can, you can see that there’s progress happening. And a lot of times people use consultants for this as well. Um, you can get testing and not just standardized testing, standardized testing rates your child against a door based on a certain level that they’re being tested at. There are other tests out there that exist that test your child on a standard base of knowledge and compare their test scores to where were last time on that same standard set of knowledge. Those are the types of tests you want to use, especially if you’re doing academic goal setting, um, because then you’re going to see where they’re progressing at different in different academic areas. So, um, again, that’s a good way to, to outsource that if you feel like, well I don’t even know where to start.

Peggy Ployhar:  Um, but, but again, if you’re working with a consultant that’s helping you set specific goals, they oftentimes will help you also set up the measurable part of it and how to measure that on a regular basis so that you see progress as may be made and if no progress is being made, that’s when you change up your teaching method or you take a break because your child has hit a plateau and they’re just really not comprehending things until you get to the next place. Um, learning plateaus are a totally different thing. I just want to address this really quick, but we haven’t think that kids learn on this nice EVs steady scale because that’s the way we see it mathematically written for standardized tests or other things. Actually, your children will take in data like this and then spike when everything clicks. And so oftentimes you’re not going to see anything for awhile.

Peggy Ployhar:  And so don’t get frustrated when testing for shows that they’re not doing anything. Like my son when we kept doing grammar over and over and over again and in phonics and he wasn’t reading. We kept doing it. Yeah. And he learned to read. And same thing happened with writing. I even told Andrew puto this, we used IDW. My son learned all the basics of how to write paper. Never wrote one for me because he didn’t see the purpose in it. But he, when he went to college, he got A’s in English because he knew how to write. Um, sometimes it takes a little while and sometimes you just have to press through again. I had peace with continuing that even though I was seeing no results, I followed my piece again. That’s one of those crazy things. So, um, just in general know that, um, you can do it and that’s, that’s what you just need to, to focus on is the more confidence that you have, the more confidence your child’s going to have with themselves and their education is going to be more fruitful because of what you’re doing, whether you think you’re doing a good job or not.

Peggy Ployhar:  Oftentimes we see teachers in schools and we, we think, Oh, I should just put my kid back in school because I am family right now. Well, do you know what special ed teachers do? The same thing you do on a regular basis. They just don’t verbalize it. They just try a new method and they keep pressing on and that’s what we need to do. We need to just keep pressing on finding those things that work for our kids, using them, and then moving on to the next thing when that doesn’t work anymore or holding onto it if it is working. Um, so I just want to wrap this up with, I’m just reminding you that sometimes we just need to back up. We need to focus on relationship. Sometimes we need to back it up even further and pray and say, what is it that is really the struggling point in my homeschool and why am I not confident?

Peggy Ployhar:  Um, if I’ve got all these things and all these resources, where am I falling short and what am I not using correctly or what am I not seeing properly? And oftentimes the most skewed thing that happens in our homeschools is we start looking at what’s coming out of it versus what’s happening in it. And so I just really want you to focus on what’s going on that’s going right and be thankful for that. Um, and hi, bet my sound go again or am I still here? No, this is great. So I’m just going to wrap up with just a few more things if that’s okay. All right. So every child is different and I know, you know that, you know, you’ve got two children and I’m sure if I was going them, it’s different and for everybody, our Skittles are different. And so, um, what works for your family may not work for another family and what works for another family may not work for you. And, um, the school starts at 8:00 AM versus noon. That’s really okay. Right? I remember being on a panel and one mom said, we don’t start school until three in the afternoon. And I went, you too.

Peggy Ployhar:  I had teenagers, they slept till afternoon and that was OK. um, but if there be is the majority of your school, that’s okay too. Um, or if character training, how do you remember so many days where all my kids did was fight and all we learned to do was get along. And, and I think the benefit of that is they’re each other’s best friends now. And I couldn’t have done that any other way. Um, if your child needs two to three years to finish a curriculum that’s written for one year, that’s okay. And I remember the first time I said that at a conference, I prepared to gasp and say, yes, it really is okay. Because that’s the pace your child’s learning at. The more you push them through things just to get it done in the timeline that the curriculum said it’s supposed to be done is not going to help them at all.

Peggy Ployhar:  And if you need a tutor to help teach, hire them. If you can figure out a way to barter, if you have to. Um, I tutored my neighbor boy down the street in algebra because his mom can’t. And, um, we have a good relationship. So, um, so find those. And, and she prayed. That’s how she found me. I didn’t even know her before that. So, um, but if you have to homeschool without a co op because your child can’t function in one, that’s okay too. And so is working on life skills as a majority of your school or um, just doing what you think is best when other people are posting you. I think those are, those are the big takeaways and just know that you can do it, but you have to be confident, confident that, um, however you’re doing it is the right way. It doesn’t have to look like everybody else. Yeah, that’s right.

Yvette Hampton:           Wow. And was so good. So, you know, as, as a mom, um, who doesn’t deal with special needs in particular with my kids? Um, you’ve been so encouraging to me. Everything you’ve said, there’s not been a single thing that you’ve said where I’m like, well, that doesn’t pertain to me at all. Pertains to me. So I know that every parent watching this will be so blessed by, um, your message. And, and I, I love that you talk so much about relationships and building those relationships. And that is really the most important thing. Um, while the most important thing is pointing our kids to Jesus. Um, but the, one of the ways we do that is by building that relationship with them first. And so it really is so important to build that relationship. And, and I love that you talked about how God created each one of our children’s so uniquely and so special and God made them exactly as they are and no one knows them better than mom and dad and so no one can meet their needs better than we can ask their parents. And, um, you know, with the help of God and lots of prayer and community around us and resources, all the many resources that you listed, um, we can do this for sure. So, yeah. So Peggy, thank you so, so much. Um, really quickly talk about sped homeschool, what your ministry is and then where people can find you. Sure.

Peggy Ployhar:  Yeah. So spend on schools and nonprofit. And we formed about two and a half years ago just because there was no place that parents could go for reliable information. And so we, our resource and curriculum betting organization that helps parents to find the best resources out there and find them quickly and um, and so that you can confidently go ahead and homeschool. And so we have lots of articles. Um, our board of directors is amazing. The people I get to work with. Um, and, and, but we have a podcast, the led live broadcast. We have articles. Um, we just have lots of free downloadables and templates that we’re adding to. We have books that are coming out this year. I’m excited about. I’m just lots of lots of different things that will equip and encourage parents to homeschool special education and be confident in that.

Yvette Hampton:           Awesome. And, and really quickly, who are some of the, the team members, cause you, I know through your whole thing, you were talking about our team and I know who some of them are, but three new volunteers in the last month, so, wow. Okay.

Peggy Ployhar:  Wonderfully exciting. But yes. Um, my team is Cammie, Arne and, um, any, um, Vickery, I’m going to probably forget somebody here. Um, Don Spence, they’d been with me the longest, Shannon Ramiro, and then I’ve got, um, Nick Nikisha, Blaine just joined as well as Jace, JC Clark and um, Ashley who lives in Arizona and I’m blanking on her last name, but, um, but yeah, they each have different roles. They’re all volunteers. We are all volunteers, even me. And um, and then our board of directors, our board precedent for 2020 is Steve Demi. And so he will be put up on our website as of January. And then, uh, yeah, we’ve just got, like I said, a great board, Kathy cool. And um, Jan Bardell and faith barons from HSL da. And so, um, yeah, it’s just a great group to work with in time craft.

Yvette Hampton:           Yeah, yeah, yeah. Great. Yeah, you do have a great year, very, very strong team there. So thank you for what you are doing. You are providing much hope to parents who really need it. They really need that encouragement and that hope for homeschooling their kids. So thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for joining us for the homegrown generation family expo, and thank you guys for watching. Enjoy the rest of your day, and we will talk to you hopefully sometime again soon. Peggy, we’ll have you back on the podcast again and get to talk a little bit more about this. So thank you guys. Have a great day.

Peggy Ployhar:  Yeah, I haven’t really.