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Advice needed please as to where to find suitable curriculum material in order to HE my daughter?

(18 Posts)
luvinthesun Thu 10-Nov-16 11:42:32

Good morning :-) Just to give a bit of back story, I have an 11 year old daughter with special needs. We are awaiting a diagnosis but are 99% sure she has ASD. She has had a terrible time at school for the last 18 months due to bullying, and other children excluding/avoiding her as she is different. She is a good couple of years behind other children emotionally, so stands out sadly.
I am at the point where I'm not sure how much more I can justify keeping her in school. She has just started high school, and 2 months in, it is proving to be a nightmare. The school are trying to put support in place, but her self worth and confidence are at rock bottom.
She is convinced everyone hates her, and that there is nothing good in her life anymore. She keeps asking me to take her out of school, but I am terrified of making a big mistake, and that her social issues could become worse.
I After yet another meltdown last night about how children from her old school are all walking away from her when she tries to approach them, my heart is breaking for her.
I have been looking into HE for a few weeks now, but I am now convinced that this may be the only route for her if I am to get her confidence back up. I have researched a lot of the books, and subjects such as English/Science etc aren't phasing me. Maths however is a different story! I have never seen some of the stuff that they are teaching kids nowadays in high school!
The text books all give the curriculum which is great, but I really need to get hold of some material which actually explains how to do some of these sums/work sheets in the first place, so that I can refresh myself before I teach them my daughter?
If anyone could point me in the right direction that would be great? Do some of the online key stage 3 curriculum providers provide this kind of help? Thanks for reading my thread :-)

Velvetbee Thu 10-Nov-16 22:55:15

We do ConquerMaths online. It covers reception to A level, giving a little 'lesson' you can watch as often as you need to, with questions to follow. Each one is short, say 5 - 10 minutes, so doesn't feel overwhelming.

Saracen Fri 11-Nov-16 08:09:14

I have no specific suggestions for you on the maths front, but I am sure you will get good recommendations here and on other home ed forums and from local parents. This is definitely something you can learn alongside your daughter. Home education can look quite different from school. You do not have to keep ahead of her and "teach" her. You can learn it together and if you are both stuck on something, try a different resource to explain the topic or just ask someone else for help. There are plenty of mathsy people around who will be glad to help you.

You sound fairly convinced that home education is the way to go. If this is the case, there is no need to leave your daughter to be unhappy in school while you get all the details of home education sorted. You can take her out of school immediately and figure it out as you go along. Most families find that their approach evolves over time. You'll discover fantastic new resources, or find that something you tried at first isn't right for your daughter after all. That is all very normal and doesn't have to be a problem.

In fact, most HE parents recommend that after leaving school you take a good long break from academics, at least a few months, to let your child recover from her experiences there. Once she is in a happier and more relaxed state of mind she will learn better and more willingly. A break like this has the added benefit of buying you some time to explore educational approaches and chat with other families to get some ideas about what you would like to do. You might then start gradually with subjects which your daughter loves and where you already know where you want to go with it, to give you a positive start.

Saracen Fri 11-Nov-16 08:15:57

Many home educating parents don't see their role as that of teachers, but rather as facilitators. You don't have to have all the answers. You have to help your daughter find the answers by connecting her with good resources, including other people where appropriate. Depending how much support she needs in her learning, it can be good to sit and learn alongside her.

But there may be subjects she takes on without much input from you, especially as she gets older. My teen spends most of her time on subjects which I know absolutely nothing about: music, art, sport. I help her find opportunities to do these, but she also does some of that research for herself.

Tinuviel Fri 11-Nov-16 11:41:33

I would second Conquermaths - it's really great! Maths textbooks (rather than workbooks that you get in WH Smiths) will have explanations and examples to work through first and then exercises on them. We used Galore Park 'So You Really Want to Learn Maths' - quite dry; not much in the way of jazzy pictures but really thorough. You can download sample pages from their website. They now have a different title but it's the same book!

For other subjects, there are some great resources - resourcemouse is fairly new but we've used some of their stuff. We've also used an American company - Evan Moor for geography and history (they sell lots of their resources as e-books, which makes life easier!) and stuff from Currclick and Peace Hill Press.

luvinthesun Fri 11-Nov-16 14:18:06

Hi, thank you so much for the replies. The recommendations for different educational sites are fantastic thank you. Saracen, you have really helped build my confidence with your post. I am worrying so much about getting it right for her, and it seems like such an enormous decision to make. I'm quite a conformist sometimes, so to go against the whole education establishment, and 99% of the populations views from what it seems, is a bit step!
I suppose I am viewing my role as taking over from a normal teacher, so it's good to hear that's not how it tends to pan out in a practical sense.

Saracen Fri 11-Nov-16 16:07:04

Glad it helped! If you are feeling very nervous, you might sell it to yourself (and anyone else in your life whose opinion matters to you) like this: "I am taking her out of school for the rest of the year to give her a rest from the stress she is under there. I'll home educate her during this time and then in the summer she and I will think about how to proceed."

This doesn't have to be a forever arrangement. It can just be a short-term measure to deal with the current crisis. She could go back to this school or a different school at any time in the future. But I am sure both of you will love home education and never look back.

knittingwithnettles Sun 13-Nov-16 17:00:43

Just to let you know that I home educated my son after similar problems in Year 7 (I took him out Year 8 and Year 9) and it has been very helpful for his socialising mental health and general confidence, even if he is now a bit behind from a curriculum point of view. The former are priceless. He is now enjoying school again and very motivated to learn, has friends (ironically outside school - school is really a crap place sometimes to make friends).

I did a mixture of Galore Park, real books, phonics (son had dyslexia) HE workshops, and in Year 9 I started employing a tutor, but that was really because we were trying to catch up with Maths and Science which I am hopeless at..Actually the tutoring didn't help much, so I would probably have been better sticking to less traditional methods of learning Maths and Science!!!! but I lacked confidence to see this.

have confidence in yourself, keep curriculum very flexible, enjoy all oppportunities to do things the way that school doesn't (this is a fantastic chance to think out of box) and research local home ed meetups, can be a great way to meet other parents and children in a very low key setting, often out and about in fresh air. We went to a regular Parks meetup, where kids just ran around and somehow got on with each other surprisingly well, compared to equivalent in school playground which I now realise was a kind of hell...

knittingwithnettles Sun 13-Nov-16 17:07:28

Son liked the idea of a timetable so we would do at least 2 hours formal work a day in principle although this often turned into a discussion or reading a book aloud or watching a documentary (ie we watched one about the Impressionists) He liked seeing what the plan was for the day. I don't think automomous education was really for him, but when we socialised that was the automous bit..Very little formal work compared to school. We did the detox thing you read about. It makes sense not to create new stress, especially for yourself, as it is a big responsibility to suddenly to become the child's full time carer/"teacher. I took comfort from the idea that I needed to give child rather less attention than I might have if he had been coming home completely frazzled from day at school, and to some extent this reduced the pressure rather than increased it on me, as a parent/teacher. Still, factor in time for yourself, even if it is in evening.

nennyrainbow Sun 13-Nov-16 17:26:36

OP, I am in a similar situation as my 11 year old DS has ASD and we pulled him out of school last summer once he'd finished primary school. He currently attends Interhigh which is a fully structured live taught course accessed via the internet - have you considered this? He is getting on well with it and much happier than he was at school. I like it too because I don't have to teach.

BigFatBollocks Thu 24-Nov-16 04:35:45

Place marking as I currently have a child in yr6 and she is struggling with friendships. There are 24 girls in her class and it's a bit clicky and my daughter very often as no one to play with which is heartbreaking. I'm seriously considering home education as self esteem is only going to plummet otherwise (god knows what damage has already been done). I would only do it for this year until she goes up to secondary school, well that's the plan but I don't know really.

knittingwithnettles Thu 24-Nov-16 10:16:49

BigFat I wish I had done this with ds2. Year 6 is really the perfect year to try out home ed...as long as you have at least one acquaintance who already does it..to introduce you to some of the home ed groups and activities. I had that ONE friend/acquaintance and it made such a big difference..very quickly I met lots of other people but I needed someone to gently introduce me to some other children ds2's age or thereabouts (the great thing about home ed is that year groups matter so much less..ds2 made friends with people in year below and year below that, whereas in school your friendship group is so "fixed")

knittingwithnettles Thu 24-Nov-16 10:24:20

Over the last few weeks I have been talking to so many people whose children have mental health problems associated with friendships at school/possible or diagnosed SNS.

At this point, their children's academic achievements are really the last of their worries. Sometimes children may have A*s at A level and GSCE. But actually this counts for nothing if your child is suicidal or unable to function socially/self medicating and selfharming for all sorts of reasons to do with the wrong school environment and poor self esteem.

Ds2 (ASD) is still only 14, we may yet have all sorts of issues but dh said to me yesterday, everything changed because you took him out of school. His academic performance may not have improved, it may have worsened but the other stuff the self esteem, the social skills, the life skills that is what counts. And he can cope with school better now, he sees it as a small part of his life rather than the controlling force.

BigFatBollocks Thu 24-Nov-16 16:06:27

Thanks knitting. It's such a difficult decision to make, I'm really struggling with it.

What is sns?

luvinthesun Thu 24-Nov-16 18:00:52

Apologies for not returning to this thread earlier. I didn't realise I had received more replies, and the advice is very helpful thank you. Re an update, I withdrew my daughter from school on Monday. School didn't care one bit, and infact, we haven't even received a phone call which I think speaks volumes sadly.
I have to say I feel surprisingly sad, almost like I am grieving for her school life (I know that probably sounds crazy). She was only at the High school for 3 months and now all the pressure has gone, I wish I had fought harder for I suppose. But her main issue was how other children were perceiving her due to her special needs. After a couple of years of it at her previous school, I just knew it was going to be no different here. I feel very sad for her as actually she liked the whole concept of school, it was the social side that was crippling her self confidence :-(
I am absolutely petrified, and the responsibility feels huge atm. On the plus side, we have been to a couple of meet ups in the last 3 days, and the children we have met have been so lovely and kind.
I was told that HE kids are a completely different kettle of fish to children who attend High school, and they really are. The prejudices aren't there and they don't worry about appearing cool. For the first time in a long time, I feel like she could fit in and make friends which is fantastic. I'm sure once I can shake of my own hang ups and accept such a huge life style change things will go great :-)

knittingwithnettles Thu 24-Nov-16 23:18:02

Quite a few parents you meet are still struggling to process what happened to their child in school, and still feeling angry it didn't work out. It is a grieving process, when you feel you were forced into a decision by the neglect of others, but then....

the world begins to feel a freer brighter place, and you gradually let go of that school resentment, and start approaching home ed as a positive choice rather than being backed into a corner.

thanks and enjoy, especially at this time of year - think of all that stress you are leaving behind, those hideous school events, cold winter mornings and dark evenings, replaced by days out in fresh air or days in relaxing

knittingwithnettles Thu 24-Nov-16 23:24:46

Ds did lots of art, and copying (and he is not an artist) He really enjoyed copying out poems and illustrating them. That can be a great way of doing literacy. Copying maps and colouring them was another thing he enjoyed.

Little academic tasks gave him a sense of achievement and structure. He always signed his initials and dated each piece of work.

Saracen Fri 25-Nov-16 07:19:43

I don't think it is at all crazy to feel sad, OP. Your daughter deserved to be happy at school. It should have been a good place for her.

I'm really glad that your first forays into HE socialising have been positive and hope your daughter realises - or will soon realise - that her social struggles at school were not her fault and there is nothing wrong with her.

I think the rejection she experienced at school is the result of the other kids around her not having THEIR social needs met. School is a very difficult environment even for the social butterflies who appear successful there. They know they are only one mis-step away from being ostracised themselves, a mis-step such as being too nice to an unpopular kid. This doesn't bring out the best in people.

I have often heard adults trot out the truism "kids can be cruel" when shrugging off nastiness. But I don't think it's the case that kids are naturally cruel. I think this is how they act when up against the wall themselves. Kids who are happy, loved and secure in their social relationships are in a position to be kind. They also have the benefit of a bit of coaching, because there are adults available to observe what's going on and point out that a new child looks lonely and might like to be invited to play or that another kid's aggressiveness might be the result of anxiety.

Hope it continues to go well and you are both able to leave the bad times behind you!

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