Talk to me about HE for SN DD(6 Posts)
I have an adopted DD who is 3 in September who has additional needs.
I live fairly rurally and my older DCS attend a welsh language school however as DD only speaks a couple of English words we don't think its suitable for her to attend. The English language school here is ok but the secondary feeder school is awful. Also we aren't sure that mainstream education will suit her. Their is an additional needs school about 20 minutes drive away but whilst it has a good reputation for dealing with really difficult DCs it also has a reputation for ignoring or leaving the quieter ones (like DD) to get on with it. Also DD tends to copy behaviour she sees if it happens often so she could end up copying disruptive behaviour.
So we are currently looking at HE for her. I would be doing the bulk of the teaching as DH works. I also have some experience as I have worked with children in schools (not as a teacher but classroom support) and done voluntary work with children most of my life. I was also HE'd by my aunt and uncle from the age of 9 and I helped teach their younger children until my early 20's though this was a while ago and I don't want to teach DD in the same way so it may not be that helpful.
So I am hoping you can talk to me about your own experiences with HE and anything I might not have thought of or I haven't considered. Obviously I have sometime to sort this out and its a decision we and thinking a lot about and we want to make sure we have all the facts first.
Sounds like you have a good deal of experience of home education already, but you recognise that it would be a different experience this time around, so that's a great start! I'll just mention a few things briefly which may or may not be in your mind already, so you can pick up on any of them which seem relevant.
Depending how long ago it was when you were last HEing, you may see far more opportunities now created by the widespread use of the internet. It's easier to connect with other families locally, swap tips more widely (especially handy if your child is having some very specific challenge which somebody else on the other side of the country may have dealt with), and do online learning - we are constantly looking things up and watching videos.
HE doesn't have to be a permanent decision; your child may end up going in and out of school over the years. I think this is particularly true for children with special needs. There may be a very suitable school for a few years which you are happy for your child to attend, and then the next school is totally wrong for her and you do HE for a while. There's a misconception among non-HE people that moving from HE to school, or school to HE, is incredibly difficult, but that isn't true at all. So don't feel that must make a long-term commitment if you start off with HE. It really isn't like that. You can just try it and see how it goes.
Your dd would need an EHCP to attend a special school, and an EHCP can be helpful in specifying provision even in mainstream. You can apply for one whether or not she's in school. It takes many months to get that sorted, so if ever you expect your daughter may be going to school within a year or two then make an early start on that. (So I've heard! But arranging an EHCP sounds like a huge palaver to me and I've never done it as I don't expect my child to go to school any time soon.) The Mumsnet special needs board has loads of highly knowledgeable and helpful people on it who can advise you on that process.
You may well find that your classroom experience is quite irrelevant to home educating your own daughter. It's all so much less restrictive outside of school. For example, you can let her make noise and move around if that is how she learns best. You don't have to make her sit and work at specific times; in fact you don't have to "sit and work" at all if another approach works better. You can use whichever curriculum you want (or none at all) and adapt it until it's right for her, without needing permission from anybody. There's no pressure to meet age-linked targets, so if she's simply not ready to work toward reading at four or five you can just leave it until you feel the time is right.
That's all I can think of at the moment. Hope it helps!
I would say go for it. You can give it a try for a year and see how it goes.
I have a son with SEN who is home educated. He can learn in whatever way suits him and for how long he can concentrate. If he is having a bad day i can tailor it to his needs, sometimes we go to the park or swim or even the shops, it's all learning.
Thank you for the advice I didn't realise that you could move between HE and school as easily as that.
I am looking around HE groups on the internet for local advice.
My experience of HE was more isolated so I hope to create a better social environment for DD.
I gather you are in Wales? I just wanted to say that the additional learning needs system in Wales has been in flux for a few years and there is still nothing finalised (EHCPs are only for England), plus the new WElsh home education guidance still hasn't been issued, so...your local council will probably be in limbo as far as both home ed and special needs is concerned (that's if you come up on their radar)
Thanks for the correction, Fiona!
OP, Fiona knows EVERYTHING. Her website is well worth a look: edyourself.org/
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