Home Ed from day one...(11 Posts)
Because we were HE from birth, I didn’t adapt her education – it was personalised throughout. It was more about general approach. Because we were together all the time, even before I recognised the problem, I knew there were issues and I was concerned with finding things that worked for all of us. For example, changes of schedule would cause a meltdown so I avoided them as far as possible and did a lot of talking through what was going to happen next.
I can’t point to specific websites. I read a few books once I identified the problem, when she was about 8-9. I found Temple Grandin’s works very helpful, writing from the point of view of someone with ASD but also from the point of view of an academic drawing parallels from animal behaviour.
HE allowed us to try things out. It also ensured that we kept in touch with each other. From when she was about 13, we discussed the difficulties she had with social interaction and how she could deal with it. She got used to reflecting on her actions and thought processes, because I was very conscious that she needed to be the one responsible for what she did – I could not do it for her.
She is now 21, with a law degree and about to qualify as EFL teacher. Throughout the TESOL course, she has been getting good marks for engaging the students and class management – something on which I certainly would not have put any hard-earned cash 10-15 years ago. She met (previously schooled) people at university who have no social understanding or skills and can now say that she realises that she would have been them had it not been for the work I put in.
In fact, I would say that that was the focus of the “education”, as far as I was concerned. After all, section 7 charges us with making it suitable to the child’s ability, age and aptitude and any special needs they have. For me, the goal was to reach DD’s adulthood without either of us going insane or killing the other and for her to be independent, able to get by sufficiently as an adult – to “pass for normal”. Anything academic we did was incidental (because we all have to do something in our waking hours). Autonomous home-based education gave us the freedom and space to do what we needed to do and not to have to conform to someone else’s expectations. There was no master plan – mostly we were just doing what we needed to do to survive.
SDeuchars that sounds pretty wonderful, honestly.
would you mind elaborating a little bit on how you adapted your DD's education or your general approach to raising her when you saw Aspergers traits? Or if there are sites I should just look at that you wouldn't mind posting I'd be grateful.
Hi there i have been looking at HE for over a year now x i have a 4.5 year old son and have spoken to him about staying at home with mummy and learning lots of cool new things. I have very little support from my family on HE and they are not happy at all tht i have decided to HE as its "not normal" and "i have no teaching degree" so whenever they are around they are forever drilling into him about going to school and he simply turns around and says no my mummy house is my school! If and when my son asks about why he doesnt do what other kids like go to school i will simply have a chat with him and ask his feelings around school x
Very fascinating stuff SDeuchars I think that there is so much to be gained from home educating and it's totally right to allow children to go to school if they wish to try it out.
Your children were very lucky to have you
At 5, I didn't find that a problem - their knowledge of what everyone else does is so limited. DD started Girls' Brigade at 5 and did various other stuff in the community (e.g. sports, church) but I don't think they talk about it much at that age. We did attend HE groups so she knew that we were doing something different but it wasn't an issue. If she had seriously asked at 3-4, I'm not sure what I'd have done - possibly I'd have said that she didn't know enough to make that decision.
At 9, she decided she'd like to try school to see what other children do and I enrolled her in the primary along the road. I discussed the pros and cons and set ground rules (like saying she had to last a whole term). We also practised getting up and ready for the appropriate time and did some workbooks in preparation. I was happy with it because I felt she was making an informed decision. We knew it was only going to be for a term but did not share that with the school. If she'd wanted to continue after Christmas, then she could have done so. OTOH, I was very surprised at how demotivated she became in only 12-13 weeks.
I don't mention DS because he never asked to go - although he knew he could have done and I asked from time to time.
What would happen if child wanted to go to school? e.g. a 5 year old piping up that soandso from wherever goes to school and wears and uniform and everything and they want to go too?
What would you do?
Thank you SDeuchars that's really lovely to hear about a whole childhood of home edding.
Hi SDeuchars that all sounds fab! Exactly what I'd like it all to be like
I'm going to tootle off and read other threads now
Welcome, moobaloo. My DC were HE from birth. I knew from before I was pg that I wanted to HE, so you are not alone. I've just written screeds on the What to do? thread. However, here is a summary of our whole HE journey.
0-13 years: We did nothing that looked like formal education. We picked up things we were interested in and that grew in complexity as the DC matured (DS was word-perfect on Walking with Dinosaurs at 5). I concentrated on practical skills (cookery, music, craft, camping, cycling and hiking) and interesting things (small children are natural scientists). I read vast quantities and they used audio books to be able to access material that was too complex to decode. We used (videos - I am old! - and) DVDs and a variety of software. DD started to read at about 2-3yo and DS at 8-9 (but he started with Harry Potter 1, which he knew from audio). Any writing we did was for a practical purpose (e.g. thank yous, birthday cards, invitations, shopping lists). Many practical skills involve some maths (e.g. cookery, especially baking which also involves the "magic" - science - of turning one set of materials into something entirely different with the bonus of it being good to eat). We went out a lot - theatre, cinema (National Schools Film Week was great), museums, parks, HE groups. The DC also did Pokemon, games, kids' clubs, Saturday music school, and various sports. We also learned Russian (using Rosetta Stone software, from when the DC were about 8) because we hosted Russian-speaking children twice a year through a charity. When DS was 10, we started a very successful HE LEGO robotics club that competed internationally.
14+ years: All the above and some formal things, aiming for adulthood. At this point (unsurprisingly), their routes started to diverge.
DD did a 6-month exchange in Germany and decided to capitalise on it by studying a course on German. She did that with the OU (a route that is now less easy, because of funding changes) and went on to study other courses for interest (sociology, English, maths and the basic arts course). That led to being accepted at Exeter Uni onto a four-year LLB/Magister course. She has just graduated (at 21yo) after 3 years (she decided to drop the Magister part of the course) and is now studying to become a teacher of English as a second or other language. I hope she'll be gainfully employed by the start of 2014.
DS started OU courses about the same time but began with 10-12 week science courses. He went on to do maths, music technology and the basic arts course. At the start of the summer holiday before his 18th birthday, we visited a Cambridge uni open day and asked what qualifications they would want if he were to study engineering. To our disappointment, they took our 5th choice option of A-levels and he went to college to do A-level maths in one year and AS physics. Because he was not doing the whole A-level physics, we knew Cambridge was unlikely to proceed with his application but he received one firm offer and two conditional offers from other universities. He achieved the A grade in maths required for the conditional offer and has just started at a Russell Group university doing Engineering Maths.
My main aim in HE was to raise them to be responsible, self-supporting adults. I was not aiming for university particularly. They can both cook, use the washing machine, etc. and (the best thing IMHO) they believe that they can do anything if they put their mind to it - they are not afraid to learn and they do not delegate the responsibility for their learning. DD showed strong Asperger's traits from an early age and my main focus was on getting her to function as an adult. I started discussing it with her directly at about 15 and she now says that she can see what I did and is grateful for it.
I realise that this may sound a bit breakneck - we didn't do all the things all the time. We took advantage of opportunities as they arose and didn't worry about covering the curriculum or making sure that we did a bit of everything. I had a longer view than the DC and did not bother them with it as children - as they became mid-teens, I shared my best understanding of the need to show a range of learning but if that did not work for them, I did not push it. I did offer a wide range of activities and had some "rules", such as completing a course that we'd paid for or committed to. However, for example, every term when I received the invoice they had the option to drop music school.
I may be mad to be thinking about this as I am only 5w 5days PG with my first child, but I'd like to home educate...
I was home ed from the age of 13 and found it the best thing ever.
I'd be interested in hearing stories of children/teens/adults who never went to school, or if they decided they wanted to go to school and at what ages and how they got on and just general thoughts
Discuss at leisure
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