how to explain to DD

(10 Posts)

I have just about decided that Home Ed would best suit my DD (Y8), who is really struggling to cope at school - she has dyspraxia, a sensory processing disorder and under invesigation for aspergers. She is not on SEN register, and school seem to think she doesnt need it, as she generally just puts up and shuts up - but her academic leves are slowly going down, especially in English.

Academically she is quite capable, some subjects she is a little above average eg. french and maths. But, she only achieves her potential when in a quiet environment (if too noisy she simply puts her head down on the desk and repeats "I cant bear it"sad) and if she has things repeatedly explained to her. Because she takes such a long time to do her work, she is in a lower set than she should be, and is with the kids who dont necessarily want to be at school - DD does as she loves studying. The other kids are a constant distraction and constantly tease DD at how slow (as in time wise) she is.

So, i have had quite a detailed chat with her, as she is becoming very distressed when trying to do homework when she doesnt really know what to do but didnt manage to ask the teacher. I have tried to explain the idea of home education, but i dont think she really understands what it is.

I was wondering if there was a website or book specifically aimed at explaining home ed to children? I have looked at the education otherwise site, and it is good, but not really good at explaining the process to a child. For example, DD thinks that if she did Home Ed, she would have to do exactly the same work as she would be doing at school, at exactly the same time, and the same level, same subjects etc. She is very routine orientated, and i think the flexible nature of home ed is worrying her.

She has gone to school this morning with a note for her teacher, asking for her to ring me with an appointment to discuss how stressed DD is becoming, but DD has also wrote a note saying that she is really upset as she feels her teachers think she is not trying hard enough (teachers have actually said that to her) and DD always wants to please everybody so will do pages and pages of extra work just to keep up! So she does become upset when they think she should do even morehmm

Finally (sorry for long post), i have checked on the EO site, and their doesnt appear to be any local groups - i do feel slightly concerned that we will get no support if we do go down this route.

Hi - I can't help with a book suitable for her, but if she is very routine-oriented and possible Aspergers, then I think you'd do better to "sell" HE to her as "I will write you a new timetable" rather than it being very flexible. Obviously the flexibility is a good thing in that you can develop a routine which works for you and her, rather than being tied into the school timetable, but if you're even considering the possibility of Aspergers then change is always going to be an issue, and not knowing what she'd be doing from one hour to the next is probably scary rather than liberating.

So, unlike many who HE to get the flexibility, I think you'd be better off deciding what subjects she's going to study, and how you're going to arrange the week, and writing that out as a timetable so she knows where she stands. Over time she may relax out a bit if it's just general anxiety, but if it's Aspergers, or she just has that kind of personality, then sticking with a routine will make her happier.

(I have a DS who isn't Aspergers, but treats any change as suspect on principle, and works much better with a routine)

thanks AMIS - that sounds like a good idea. We will sit over the weekend and sort out which subjects she could do.

She can do GCSEs i think - is that right? Is it simply a case of trauling through the exam boards web sites to look at which ones are best?

The tricky thing with GCSEs can be getting coursework marked - you have to find a method for that as well as sorting out where she can sit the exam. DS did IGCSEs which are done only on a final exam, which was easier to arrange, though we were doing them through an internet school so they were able to give us a list of possible exam centres in our area and contact one to make the arrangements.

I'm sure there is an email group for HE parents whose DC are doing exams, I'll try to find it for you.

thanks AMIS. I have had a look at an internet school, looks interesting but sadly out of my price rangesad I may show it to DD though, mainly for the timetable aspect.

Yes, i am realising that IGSCEs seem to be the way to go, even though DD is not great under pressue.

Can i ask, how did your DS find them? ANd how did you?

I found the email group if you're interested - groups.yahoo.com/group/HE-Exams-GCSE-A_AS_Levels-OU-Others/

The other downside of internet schools, apart from the price, is that the class goes at one speed, so if your dd takes longer than the others over her work then she'd find it a struggle in the same way as school is now, so it might not have been the right solution for her anyway.

DS found them OK - I think they're tougher than ordinary GCSEs, partly because of it all coming down to the exam. But with the textbooks it was all quite clear what they needed to know, and there were example questions after each chapter to check that they had picked up the important facts. I think he got as good a set of grades that way as he would have got in school.

The timetabling is interesting, and might reassure your dd that her timetable with HE doesn't have to be quite like a school one - they just focus on one or two subjects per day. That might work well for her if she takes her time over work, as doing "an hour of maths" might not really get her teeth into it, where spending "Monday/Wednesday/Friday mornings" on maths might suit her better.

I'm not sure how you can get round the exam pressure issue though - DS had 2 to 3 weeks with lots of exams, usually 2 per subject, so it was quite intense. However you could have her sit only some subjects one year, or sit some in September rather than the spring, to keep the pressure down.

Or - do keep in mind - she doesn't actually have to do GCSEs at all, but could leave exams till college later, or OU courses, or lots of other things. It's easy to get focussed on what schools do, but that's not the only way to do things!

ommmward Fri 22-Jan-10 14:20:30

education otherwise won't necessarily know about all the local groups. There's a how to find other HEers thread which was bumped up a day or two ago, and I'd ask on the HE email lists (There's a yahoo one which is UK-HE or HE-UK... I always forget which way round.

Oh, also, get yourself onto the wonderful wonderful HE-Special email list here and they will be able to advise you from much experience of good ways of HEing with children on the spectrum

If she's year 8, I'd advise that you spend at least the next 6 months just relaxing and getting into a good routine with her, education and life-wise, without worrying about exams yet. They are a long way away. There is NOTHING which says she has to do 8 or 10 GCSEs, nor that she has to do them all in one fell swoop in the summer of year whatever-it-is. A lot of HEers who go down the exam route take one or two at a time, when they feel like it. Maybe you could really pursue the subjects she is most confident in for a few months, if she's up for that, and let the others sit aside for a while.

thanks guys, and i will check out the link.

I returned to college as a mature student, and really enjoyed looking through the exam specs etc for what was going to be studied on the course, so i figure i at least would know where to start. I am now studying with the OU, therefore DD can kind of see that there are other options for study.

I think she would want to study for GCSEs, as she is already talking about them and what she would like to do. But i think you're right, studying them all in one go would be too much, where as i dont think she has much more to do to try for foundation GCSE in some subjects - such as maths. I figure if she does that, it will give her a little confidence, and there is always the opportunity to do it again down the line.

well, looks like i am home edding thenhmm

DD came home today, upset again, especially as she has had a chat with her teacher who has suggested that DD move down a setshock Academically she does not need to move down, but support wise maybe she does, i am not really sure. What i do know though is that DD is devestated, her confidence has taken a huge knock, and she thinks (and i think i agree) that the lower the set, the more disruptive the kids will besad

So, i took the bull by the horns and simply said, if you really dont like it, and it is upsetting you this much, i will simply withdraw you and teach you at home. At this point i was expecting her to look shocked, cry and start stammering trying to say she doesnt really want to quit school. But, she just nodded and said okshock

So, i am starting a new thread, saying i am just starting out home edding, more for my own organisation i thinkhmm and thanks so much for your advice. You have made a few things a lot clearer for mesmile

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