Homeschooling for SEN and secondary

(13 Posts)
taratill Fri 02-Mar-18 14:18:51

Can I just firstly say that I am considering homeschooling not as a lifestyle choice but because my eldest who has autism is struggling in mainstream schooling and specialist provision is hard to find. My preference would be that he remains in mainstream education but I am realistic that it isn't working for him.

At the moment I am giving it until Easter to see if with extra support he can cope at school but I am looking now at homeschooling as an alternative. I have a number of queries about this which I would be grateful for some input on:

He is year 7 and 11 years old and given his SEN I would like him to do GCSE's he is quite academically capable, because I am worried that without qualifications he might be unemployable.

- When homeschooling a secondary age student what curriculum do you follow? I have considered internet schooling such as Interhigh but are there alternatives?

- If you do not use internet schooling how do you teach technical subjects like maths and science?

- how do you address socialisation (particularly if the child is SE N and struggles more than most socially)?

Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
ommmward Fri 02-Mar-18 14:36:05

My experience is that there are a lot of people whose children are autistic, who are home educating through the teenage years. Almost more common than anyone else in my experience.

1. In my family, we follow the interests and aptitudes of the children. We use tutors for some things to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. We tend to focus closely on two or three areas of learning at a time; it's not "comprehensive" in the way that school education tends to me, at least not in the short term, but if you look at it over a five year period, actually it has probably visited all the same areas, just at a point when the child was interested, rather than because that's what you do in year 9, yk?

Most families I know do something similar. We also do co-ops where we skills share among likeminded families with similar children.

Some teens choose to go to FE college at 14 or 15 (there are 14-16 schemes). They often like it because it is a completely different vibe from school; they are treated as young adults from the outset.

2. Maths - not my department (my OH has been in charge of all of that). I think they followed a set of books that taught them through to the early part of keystage 3, but I leave them to it to be honest. smile I know people who swear by Khan academy.

3. Socialisation. We take it slow and carefully. We meet other home educators at big organised home ed events, or at some of the classes we attend. When we click with people, we either hang out with them more regularly, or go to home ed meet ups with them (there is a home ed youth club in our area, which we don't go to but I know people who thrive there; there are playdates; there's volunteering as a way of meeting friendly people)... It's not honestly a concern for me now, though it used to be a bit.

ommmward Fri 02-Mar-18 14:37:35

PS oh, and science hasn't yet really gripped my children, but we are a scientifically trained family so it comes up in conversation enough, and we also like Mystery Science when we feel the urge for a bit of formal input smile When it DOES begin to fascinate my children more, then we'll be ready to leap into action.

Branleuse Fri 02-Mar-18 15:19:04

hi, my children all have SEN, and ive recently taken her out of school and signed her up with which was recommended to me by someone on here. She really loves it so far.
Interhigh looks good too but much bigger and a lot more people in each class, although still a lot less than a normal school.
Ive also signed my 17 year old up to do a GCSE there that wasnt provided at his SEN school and theyve been really accomodating, even changing around the timetable to fit him in

taratill Fri 02-Mar-18 15:44:35

thanks, I take it you don't regret your decision to HE.

I've found Wolsey Hall and quite like the look of that. Benefits of not being able to work due to snow.

OP’s posts: |
Branleuse Fri 02-Mar-18 16:13:28

I regret that we couldnt make school work for her. Im not anti-school. My son went to a SEN school and my other son is at a mainstream school with an EHCP, but for my daughter, it just seemed like nothing could make her enjoy it, whereas now she loves her lessons and looks forward to them, and theyve moved her up a year too which has increased her confidence.
We discounted wolsley hall because of the lack of interactive lessons, but i bet it works really well for some others.

Theres also cambridge home school, which i think looks brilliant, but its quite a bit more expensive and its a full on timetable, rather than the 3 days a week for my dds online schooling.

briteschool is another one that I considered

Branleuse Fri 02-Mar-18 16:18:18

sorry, to answer your question, I dont regret taking her out. It was a hideous decision and I was really upset at first, but ultimately I had no choice. The whole situation was unsustainable.
Im really happy now that she actually loves learning again, and looks forward to her lessons and is sad on her days off - its actually incredible really because the last few years have been SO difficult. I could hardly even get her into school, and then she would be working in the corridor etc. It turns out it wasnt the learning that was the problem, it was the environment she couldnt cope with

taratill Fri 02-Mar-18 17:20:40

Branleuse, my son was out of school altogether 'home and hospital tuition for 6 months last year when he was 10 and this year he has been working in the SEN room since christmas as he is too anxious to get into class. He has EHCP they are putting some measures in but I'm not sure it's ever going to work for him to fully integrate.

How old is your daughter? How does she socialise?

I have looked at interhigh and I kind of think if I am going to be coming out of schooling for DS I don't want to be tied to normal class times and to be able to take advantage of taking holidays at cheaper times. There are not many other advantages I can think of the situation tbh! The lack of actual teaching may be a problem though.

Gosh its tough.

I also have a 9 year old daughter who is being assessed for ASD. She has sensory issues and OCD and is not achieving at school either. I may end up with both out at this rate but I think my daughter would miss the social aspects of school

OP’s posts: |
Branleuse Fri 02-Mar-18 17:35:24

Well the online lessons, she only does 8 hours a week, which works out as mon tues and weds, 9am till 1.30, and then shes done, which gives us afternoons (if we feel like it) and two full days a week to do other home ed groups or other home learning, but without the pressure on me of being completely responsible for all her education. I feel like its the best of both worlds as she still keeps up with her core subjects in case she ever feels like returning to school later.

Shes not that bothered by socialising, but i hope to still have the odd playdate with some of the kids from her old class, and joining some home ed groups. or after school activities. I think this sort of socialising will be far less stressful for her than being forced into it for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Saracen Fri 02-Mar-18 21:05:32

While I don't mean to second-guess your plan of working toward GCSEs, home education does open up a great many alternative paths, and it may happen that your son will thrive on one of those. Though it's true that the exam route appears to be the most popular one, certainly in our circle, my teen and a few of her friends have gone straight into work without any qualifications. Home education is incredibly efficient, so it frees up plenty of time to dabble in part-time work, do some volunteering, talk to adults doing various jobs, and learn practical job skills. This can make HE kids an attractive prospect to employers.

It's also worth remembering that there is no particular age by which exams must be finished. Even now she is 18, my eldest hasn't ruled out the possibility of doing some exams at some point; she just hasn't done them yet. The school system is very rigid in its expectation that GCSEs must be finished in Y11. What's so special about that age? We don't expect everyone to do their driving test at the same age, or predict that they'll never learn to drive if they haven't cracked it by 18...

Admittedly, kids who have spent many years at school may have absorbed the message that they only get one chance to do well at GCSEs, and doing otherwise means they'll fail in life. And if they believe that, choosing a different path is unthinkable and demoralising. But the more time kids spend associating with adults and young people who don't share that belief, and who may have been successful in life without the expected set of qualifications, the easier it is to keep their chin up if they can't succeed at exams or choose not to take them.

Another point is that if GCSEs do turn out to be the best route for him, you can be very flexible in how you approach them. Academically capable children often take one or two exams at a younger age than they would at school, then continue to do a few at a time. That is a very popular approach which allows kids to focus better than they might if doing 8 or 10 or 12 subjects simultaneously. They can gain confidence as they go on. If they are particularly talented in, or excited by, a specific subject then they can progress to an advaced level in that subject while still doing other subjects at a lower level. Some very bright kids don't bother with GCSEs, but go straight to A-levels instead. There are no required subjects, so he can do whichever ones he wants, or the ones you think he needs.

Anyway, your son is only 11 and by the sounds of it he is very stressed at the moment, so if I were you I'd relax about the academics and keep an open mind for the next year at least. There's no hurry. Let him have a break while recovering from school, and explore whatever interests him. This buys you time to look into different curricula and resources on offer and see what may be available to you locally. You could then introduce subjects gradually, starting with his favourites, so he gets off on the right foot and feels positive about his education.

Chugalug Sun 04-Mar-18 10:19:47

Hi giving it till Easter dc is in yr 3. It's going badly wrong..following yr thread with interest..secondary education worries me a lot,how I'd manage maths and experiments

panda00 Sun 04-Mar-18 21:50:11

Having seen bachelor and master degree holders who fail to secure job and talked to employers who complained the lack of basic skills of new graduates, we have decided to jump onto the homeschool bandwagon. We completely agree with Saracen's message, we also want our kids to dabble in part-time work, do some volunteering, learn practical job skills and try business at young age. Depends on our kids learning progress, we may also let them go straight to A level without GCSE.

Balearica Sun 04-Mar-18 22:37:44

I home schooled my ASD DS who was excluded from mainstream secondary school in year 7. It was absolutely the right thing for him as he was very traumatised and anxious after his time in school. He was actually excluded for running away because he could not cope with the stress. Feedback from the school was "this child is mad" - which I thought was pretty disgraceful.

I chose to follow a limited version of the national curriculum and I taught all the social sciences and outsourced maths and ICT. If I had my time again I would not be so bound by the GCSE route. My DS eventually went to a special school largely because I was worried about him being stuck at home all day with his mum. He got 5 GCSEs including maths and English and is currently studying a higher level diploma with no additional support.

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