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to consider home educating my DD because she's happier during school holidays?

(99 Posts)
Hoptastic53 Thu 20-Apr-17 22:36:42

My DD is 6 and in year one. She's been under a paediatrician for two years as I think, and her nursery thought, that she has autism. I thought sending her to school would aid diagnosis and get her some support but there's been no progress. Any problems in the first year were attributed to settling in. Then this year to a new class, then to her teacher changed, then her paediatrician was ill on the day of her last appointment so we saw a different one who then wanted to leave it six months for a review. It's taking forever, and in the meantime DD is unhappy and I hate to see her this way.

The difference in her during the almost three weeks of Easter holidays has really made me think that I should just home educate her. During the holidays, she'd get herself up and dressed. She'd go to the toilet by herself, ask for particular hairstyles, be polite and much more chatty than usual, she ate a lot better than usual and slept through at least half of the nights. There were probably only 3/4 meltdowns over the entire holidays.

Fast forward to this week and it couldn't be more different. I start trying to get her up at 7.30. I wake her then go off to do jobs so she isn't under pressure as she doesn't respond well to immediate demands. She groans and thrashes around and won't get out of bed. Eventually she starts screaming and crying that she doesn't want to go to school and I have to physically lift her out of bed. I try persuading her to get ready but she generally screams more. Occasionally she'll let me dress her but mostly not. She screams like she's being murdered throughout having her hair and teeth brushed that it hurts. I have to lift her to the toilet because she refuses to go. She won't eat breakfast. She's a bit better once out of the house as she likes scooting but still needs constant encouragement to keep going.

After school she usually wets herself on the way home because she won't use the toilets at school. She barely eats any lunch. She runs away from anyone who tries to talk to her at lunch break (her teacher sees this as being playful hmm) and complains constantly about the noise. She usually has a meltdown within half hour of arriving home. She barely eats any tea and is withdrawn or else upset all evening. She struggles to settle to sleep and then is up at least three times a night screaming hysterically. She is like a different child.

She doesn't have any friends and doesn't want any. She is miles ahead academically and not being challenged. I don't think changing schools would help though - she'd hate the noise/toilets/expectations anywhere. I think she'd be happier at home by a mile, but am I doing her a disservice if I decide to home educate?

DP is on board but my DSIS says she'll never learn to be sociable without being thrown in the deep end and that she won't get diagnosed without school agreement so it'll limit the support she can access.

AIBU to just want her to happy and home educate on this basis?

Imaginingdragonsagain Thu 20-Apr-17 22:39:15

I'm sorry not to have any advice but didn't want to read and run. Massively difficult and my initial thought was of course she's happier at home! Having read your OP I would seriously consider home school and follow your heart. I hope your situation improves flowers

RicottaPancakes Thu 20-Apr-17 22:40:15

Yes, sounds perfectly reasonable smile

Velvetbee Thu 20-Apr-17 22:42:11

Come and join us on the home ed board and also search FB using your county/home ed or your local town/home ed to find local support and activities. It sounds as if HE would be great for your DD.

hesterton Thu 20-Apr-17 22:43:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RainbowsAndUnicorn Thu 20-Apr-17 22:44:07

I am a great believer in children being happy however home schooling is a huge leap.

There's a reason teachers need to be so qualified, both primary and secondary and why they specialise. I would find a school that fits, for me home education would only ever be a temporary situation in dire circumstances. I'd be doing my children a disservice if I thought I could get the same results as a professional teacher.

Waddlelikeapenguin Thu 20-Apr-17 22:44:41

Sounds like you have everything to gain, try HE smile find out what groups/meets are near you & jump in.

stargirl1701 Thu 20-Apr-17 22:49:24

That sounds like you know already, OP. Trust your instinct. No-one knows your DD better than you.

I think you may be describing our future. DD1 really struggles with many aspects and we are trying to decide whether to send her to school to 'give it a go' or just home educate from the beginning. I am more positive about home ed than DH who is quite unsure about the whole notion.

witsender Thu 20-Apr-17 22:50:29

Sounds very reasonable to me. Once you stat digging you'll probably find quite the network of home edders, I know there is a very active community here.

Don't underestimate the stress that this situation can place on all of you, and at 6 she shouldn't be stressed.

wonderingagain21 Thu 20-Apr-17 22:51:40

You could try another school & still opt to home ed if nothing improves unless you anticipate the change being too stressful for everyone. Schools are not all the same - I moved my DD and she was a changed child within days.

Notenoughtime123 Thu 20-Apr-17 22:53:41

Absolutely, sounds like HE would work for her. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize out of school and it sounds like st the moment school are not able to meet her needs.

AndNowItIsSeven Thu 20-Apr-17 22:54:22

Rainbows the main reason is differentiation, which wouldn't be necessary in the op's case.

annandale Thu 20-Apr-17 22:55:28

I would home ed now. Other schools can come later, if they match up to home ed.

If your dsis is in fact your dd's parent, then she has an opinion worth listening to. Otherwise 'mm-hmm' should be your most detailed response.

Toysaurus Thu 20-Apr-17 22:57:30

Some heads can be open to flexischooling which might be worth looking into. But it's otherwise go for home schooling. Check out Facebook for local homeschoolers. There's so many families following this option now. Or there is in Bristol.

MrsTwix Thu 20-Apr-17 22:58:05

Throwing her in the deep end won't make her sociable if she has autism. It seems to be damaging for her.

Autism is a medical diagnosis so you don't need a school to get it.

I'm sure your sister means well but (not meaning to be rude) she doesn't know what she is talking about.

If you happened to live in another country she wouldn't be at school for another year. I'd keep her home for now and see if things change as she gets older. You don't need to commit to home education forever, but she doesn't sound ready for school right now.

I'm autistic myself and a teacher.

EB123 Thu 20-Apr-17 22:58:16

Go with your instinct.
We home ed, my eldest son is also 6 (also have a 4 and 1 year old) and it is brilliant. My children are happy, thriving and learning at the pace that suits them x

bumbleymummy Thu 20-Apr-17 23:00:21

Go for it. smile

EB123 Thu 20-Apr-17 23:00:42

And definitely look into the home ed scene local to you. There is so much going on here and you can go with what suits her needs x

SovietKitsch Thu 20-Apr-17 23:02:51

If you're able to be at home to do it, and she responds to you in terms of any learning being likely, then quite frankly it's a no can she bring learning to her potential anyway, if she's in that much distress. flowers for you both

SovietKitsch Thu 20-Apr-17 23:03:14

bring be

MrsTwix Thu 20-Apr-17 23:03:15

Rainbow I get what you are saying but I think this is a special case where the damage from the school environment outweighs any benefits from qualified teachers at this time.

Obviously I value my qualifications and experience, but I question whether I can give as much to every single child I teach as a parent would when I have 30 kids an hour.

chastenedButStillSmiling Thu 20-Apr-17 23:06:20


I'm not going to say pro or against home ed, because I think that's a decision for the parent; but I wanted to let you know that where I live it's very, very rare for PCAMHS to accept a referral before a child is 7 (they say it's because a child under that age has so much change/development) so it has to be REALLY extreme if they look at you any earlier.

Are you in discussion with the school's SENCO, and how helpful have you found those conversations?

Whatever you choose, I wish you well and good luck.

Ceto Thu 20-Apr-17 23:09:30

Throwing a child with autism in at the deep end is absolutely not the way to teach them to be sociable. There are all sorts of ways children who are home educated get opportunities to socialise, so don't let that put you off.

Twofurrycats Thu 20-Apr-17 23:10:35

It sounds as though there are definitely difficulties with the school which they should be addressing. Are you able to HE? Would it be worth trying? Is your school open to the idea of a part time placement?

Hoptastic53 Thu 20-Apr-17 23:11:35

I do worry that I wouldn't be able to do a good enough job because I have a 2 year old and am pregnant but then DP does often have weekdays off so I guess even one day of formal learning and the rest with experiences and 'on the job' learning could be better than five unhappy days at school. She has a great attention span and really enjoys learning so I think she'd thrive in a 1:1 environment.

I think my DSIS thinks I'd be sheltering her from the real world but actually she's more sociable away from school. School terms just seem to be an endless cycle of anxiety and unhappiness for her and then also for the rest of the family.

I was thinking I could try HE and then maybe consider starting her at a different school when her younger sister starts school and see if she copes any better then.

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