Resources and Information about Curriculum to Help You Teach and Support Your Homeschooler who is Blind or Has Limited Vision
Disclaimer: Throughout this series, we will be using the diagnostic language and terms that most people who are searching the Internet will use to find information. We fully understand that using any term to categorize children may result in generalizations that may not apply to every child, stigmas associated with that term, and the possibility of overlooking the many beautiful positive traits that exist when we look at the whole child. We celebrate the differences that make us unique individuals and learners, and we write everything in this series with the hopes of benefiting all children and their families. Resources are provided as options for you, may not represent the views and opinions of A2Z Homeschooling, and in no way are meant to replace medical or other professional advice.
When you are homeschooling a child who is blind or has limited vision, you need resources. Many traditional homeschooling materials will not work at all for your child or will need to be greatly modified. You also need to consider the expanded core Curriculum, which goes beyond the typical core curriculum to include knowledge and skills your child needs to navigate the world. You may know others who are also homeschooling a child who is blind or has limited vision, and you can share resources, or you may find help through homeschooling support groups. Sometimes, however, finding the right materials can be overwhelming—and it definitely takes time. In an effort to help, A2ZHomeschooling has put together a list of educational resources for you to consider:
|Programs for Homeschooling a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision|
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.
Curriculum for Homeschooling a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision
Choosing a homeschool curriculum is an important and daunting task for any new homeschooler. Knowing that your child has special needs makes curriculum “shopping” even more challenging. You may be looking for a curriculum that specifically supports blindness or limited vision, or you may prefer a curriculum that is easily modified to support your child. Here are just a few possible curriculum choices that may be right for your family:
American Printing House for the Blind
“We’re not just looking forward to an accessible future — we’re making it happen every day. And with the latest technology we think the future has never been brighter for people with blindness and visual impairment.” APH offers Core Curriculum materials, the basis that students need to be college-and-career ready, as well as Expanded Core Curriculum materials, support for the “unique educational needs that students who are blind or visually impaired have beyond the standard core curriculum.”
Described and Captioned Media Program
“We’re here to educate students with sensory disabilities, along with their parents and teachers. Our major network-produced, educational content is carefully customized to serve the needs of K-12 students, as well as adult students studying to meet the needs of blind and deaf students…. Families and educators who have at least one student with a disability can register for free membership and access thousands of accessible, educational videos.” Funded by the US Department of Education.
Hadley School for the Blind
“Founded in 1920 by William Hadley, an educator who lost his eyesight later in life, Hadley offers practical help, connection and support free of charge to anyone with a visual impairment, their families and professionals supporting them. Since July 2020, more than 14,000 learners have accessed nearly 60,000 workshops. The program currently has over a 70% completion rate and has scored over 97% in satisfaction ratings. Hadley provides online, large print, braille and audio media, reaching all 50 states and 100 countries. And more people learn braille from Hadley than from any other organization worldwide.”
Time4Learning Online Curriculum $
Time4Learning is a complete online homeschool curriculum (ELA, math, science, social studies, and electives) for grades pre-K to 12, so homeschooling special needs even in high school is possible. With its videos offering engaging sounds, different voices, and music, Time4Learning may be adapted to fit the needs of your child who is blind or has limited vision. Here are other ways the Time4Learning curriculum specifically addresses special learning needs: Time4Learning “proceeds at the students’ own pace; builds on existing reading, writing and math skills; allows placement and progress for each child at independent levels for math and language arts; encourages kids to become active learners through exploration and discovery; introduces new learning opportunities in a safe, supportive environment; and balances learning with fun!”
Supplemental Resources for Homeschooling a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision
Because your child needs to learn both the core curriculum of typical subjects and the expanded core curriculum (to help with navigation of the world), you will likely need to supplement any homeschooling curriculum you choose. Here are some resources to help you build an expanded homeschool curriculum:
Art Ideas | Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Check out this list of art ideas for your child, including art based on paper, metal, string/yarn, beads/braids, edible art, wood, and soap carvings. There is also a section on where to get more art ideas.
Assessment and Instructional Resources | Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
“Locating appropriate tools to help develop appropriate IEP goals in the wide range of areas impacted by a visual impairment is a formidable task. We have so far compiled the following listing of assessment tools used and recommended by teachers of children with visual impairments to evaluate their students’ skills.”
The Best Braille Children’s Book Resources on the Internet | WonderBaby
Check out this article that lists links for finding free braille books, places to buy braille books, and links where you can download braille books. Also included are links to fun braille resources.
“Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.” Unlimited access to over one million titles is free for qualified U.S. students.
Braille Resources | National Federation of the Blind
“The National Federation of the Blind offers many programs and resources to help children and adults learn and have fun with braille.” Discover links to braille resources and free braille books.
Helen Keller $
By Margaret Davidson (Author), Wendy Watson (Illustrator)
This may be a great story to share with your older child…. “The bestselling biography of Helen Keller and how, with the commitment and lifelong friendship of Anne Sullivan, she learned to talk, read, and eventually graduate from college with honors.”
Helen Keller: The World at Her Fingertips $
By Sarah Albee (Author), Gustavo Mazali (Illustrator)
This may be a great story to share with your younger child…. “Learn about the inspiring life of Helen Keller in this early reader biography…. This book covers some of the well-known and inspiring milestones of Keller’s life—it’s a great supplement for book reports on this iconic historical figure. It also covers some of the lesser-known fun facts—did you know that Helen Keller was a long-time dog lover? This biography reader includes a timeline, historical photographs, and information about braille.”
Homeschooling a Blind Child | Pinterest Collection by WonderBaby
This is a collection of “resources and inspiration for families who homeschool kids who are blind or visually impaired.”
Louis Braille: The Boy Who Invented Books for the Blind $
By Margaret Davidson (Author), Janet Compere (Illustrator)
This may be another book to share with your child…. “A poignant story of the man who developed the Braille system of printing for the blind.”
Seven Blind Mice (Audiobook) $
By Ed Young (Author), B. D. Wong (Narrator)
“One by one, on successive days of the week, six different colored blind mice investigate parts of the strange something near their pond and speculate to the group about its identity. Not until the seventh day, when the seventh mouse examines all of it, do they see what it truly is, proving that wisdom comes only from seeing the whole.”
The Story of My Life (Audiobook) $
By Helen Keller (Author), Mary Woods (Narrator)
“A serious illness destroyed Helen Keller’s sight and hearing before she reached the age of two. At seven, she was introduced to Ann Sullivan, the beloved teacher and friend who helped Helen to make contact with her world. Through sheer determination and resolve, Helen learned to speak, read, and write, and prepared herself for entry into prep school by the age of 16. She later enrolled at Radcliffe and graduated with honors. Her motto: ‘There are no handicaps, only challenges’.”
Visually Impaired Homeschooling Helps | Pinterest Collection by SPED Homeschool
Explore this collection of “homeschool helps for parents who homeschool children who are visually impaired.”
What You See When You Can’t See: How Blindness Helped One Woman Discover the True Beauty of Life (Audiobook) $
By Zena Cooper (Author), Janine Cooper Marshall (Narrator)
“This book shares the story of Zena’s journey with Munch [her guide dog], who helped her not only come to terms with her disability but gave her the strength to find her place in the world and help others understand that, like her, they could see the beauty in living a different kind of life.”
Want more materials to supplement your regular curriculum? Check out our blog on Educational Audio for resources on audiobooks and other audio!
Programs for Homeschooling a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision
You may feel confident in your curriculum choices, know your resources, and even have a strong network. However, sometimes you may need additional support. This can be in the form of consulting, programming, or partial or full instruction. Check out these programs that can support you and your child more directly:
Child & Youth Services | Braille Institute
“Services for visually impaired youth include the Braille Challenge, which is an academic competition designed to motivate braille literacy in blind and visually impaired students. We have also developed Cane Quest, a challenging orientation and mobility contest for students in grades 3-12 that has several regional Cane Quest events across the country that your child can compete in! Additional youth services include free braille books and storybook kits, our child development program, Braille Institute’s Youth Program, and our Summer Reading program.”
Education | National Federation of the Blind
Although not specifically for homeschoolers… “The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines the future for blind students. Through our extensive education programs, we present blind students with new ideas, expose teachers and families to our positive philosophy on blindness, and encourage blind youth to reach their full potential….
- Our early childhood programs—Braille Reading Pals Club, Early Explorers, and Santa Letters—provide young blind children and their families with support and guidance to master the fundamental skills of literacy and independent travel.
- The NFB BELL Academy provides children with braille and nonvisual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. Activities are provided in a day program or residential setting, depending on location. The program is designed for blind and low-vision children, ages four through twelve.
- Through NFB STEM2U, we bring what we have learned directly to students and families in their homes. In 2020, students of varying ages in fifteen states across the country received instruction from NFB personnel and expert instructors via the Zoom platform.
- The National Center for Blind Youth in Science equips teachers, parents, and blind youth themselves with the tools and knowledge they need to provide greater opportunities in science to blind youth across the nation.”
National Academy for Child Development (NACD) Homeschool and Home Education Programs $
“Based on a neuro-educational assessment of your child, the NACD staff is able to customize a program of teaching strategies that will best allow the child to make rapid advancement. Not only does the program address your child’s educational needs, but it also provides activities to improve your child’s cognitive functioning. Parents wanting to use the instructional materials that they already have are given very specific instructional strategies to maximize the benefits of those materials…. Parents are provided with continuing support through phone conferences, video reviews, and a support staff standing by to answer any and all questions.” Start by reading this FAQ page to see if such a program can work for your family.
Wyzant Tutoring $
Wyzant offers “private, 1–on–1 lessons with the expert instructor of your choice. Meet online or in-person. Decide how much you pay and who you want to work with. The choice is yours.” You can search for experts in blind education or braille and can choose online or in-person instruction.
Free Homeschool Resources for Parents of a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision
Last, but not least, here are some additional free resources that you can access to make your homeschool experience even better for your child who is blind or has limited vision:
The Blind Podmaker
By Jonathan Mosen (Author)
“Blind or low vision? Running your own podcast or want to create one? The Blind Podmaker features tips, tricks, demos, tutorials and resources all produced with the blind podcast creator in mind. We focus on the use of accessible tools with screen readers and other blindness-related assistive technology, plus tips on the art of creating compelling content. We welcome submissions from the blind podcasting community.”
Can Do! Kids!
When kids struggle with anything, sometimes they forget about the many strengths they have. Try these activities that focus on helping your child “realize and appreciate their abilities as they try to accomplish their goals and reach their dreams.”
Blindness | PBS Learning Media
Discover videos, webpages, lesson plans, interactive activities, media galleries, and more, complete with grade level notations.
Blindness | SEN Teacher
Read the article and then explore the free teaching resource links provided.
Resources to Use at Home with Kids Special Needs | Exceptional Lives
You may need to search through these lists, but this is a valuable collection of resources that can help you with assistive technology, educational planning, dealing with Coronavirus, and more.
Check out our Homeschooling a Child Who is Blind or Has Limited Vision page for tips, advice, support groups, and other resources, as well as our Special Needs section for even more ideas!
Are you aware of other educational resources for children who are blind or have limited vision? Please share the resources you know in the comments below….