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Toddler missing out due to home Ed?(6 Posts)
Hi I have been considering home education for a couple of years for various reasons. My oldest is 10, he has high functioning autism, pda profile, high anxiety and will likely be diagnosed adhd at his next appointment, he is struggling with the school system.
He previously had a 1-1 TA in the afternoons and art therapy, Lego therapy which made school do-able for him. We moved areas last year and he had to move schools, as he didn't have an EHCP the new school didn't put the support in from the start despite the old school sending all their Ed psych reports etc over and me having numerous meetings with Senco and senior leadership team. His behaviour has deteriorated massively and his anxiety has become unmanageable- he's been running away and self harming so CAMHS are now involved. He is not coping at school, it's not the work as he's very bright, it's the environment, the structure, the expectations and demands, the lack of flexibility for his needs etc.
He has been at home the last 4 weeks before Easter, he had 2 fixed term exclusions which we are appealing as they'd have been avoided if school had appropriate support in place for him and then I said I wasn't sending him back at present due to his own mental health surrounding school for which he's seen gp twice and CAMHS crisis team.
School have continued to provide some work for him which we have been doing at home, he has been working well (in general!) and completing work of a better quality and quantity than he had been at school! I suspect this is down to the environment at home, I've long thought home Ed would suit him and husband now sees how he is improving and agreed. However..... we also have a 7 year old and 18 month old, the 7yo is also an anxious child who doesn't particularly enjoy the new school school, he has friends and is quite bright but of course would rather be at home like his brother currently is! I genuinely don't think they'd both get on with work if they were both at home tho I feel they'd argue or muck about so I don't think it's an option to have both home educated. Also I feel my 18 month old is missing out now on a lot of the activities we used to do together as older children are not allowed at the toddler groups or the toddler swim sessions etc. She is missing out on the social aspect of being around others her own age and also missing out on a lot of the things we did at home together that I now can't do as I'm helping my oldest with his work - he needs supervision and support to remain on task so it's like a full time job on its own.
How do others make it work home educating a child with younger siblings too? Do you feel they miss out or am I being silly? We haven't found any local home Ed groups as not on Facebook etc but my oldest goes trampolining or swimming once a week and football twice a week and sees local friends after school so I'm not worried on him missing out just the others!!
Well, get yourself on Facebook. Lots of advice and groups and suggestions.
Lots of people home ed differing ages and it can work well
My pda-er very happy home ed and I have chosen to home ed younger children because it works well for all of us.
That wasn't that helpful - you're asking for mechanics of making it work.
I stand by my suggestion of Facebook though
Basically we unschool so pda ds chooses what work to do and when. A lot of people will come and say children don't choose work but my ds like maths and often nags to do it. There's no standing over him - we work together on things like Khan academy and younger dc play. Unschool does work especially well for pda but it's a huge leap of faith. We also put up displays on topics because he can go and read them when he wants - low demand, modeling presentation skills etc. We're very interest based here
He loves maths too, English based work is a bit harder tho but if I let him type rather than write he will do it. He actually loves topic work and is very interested in learning just not necessarily in a way schools want so that's why I feel home Ed could be very good for him. However, at the moment he needs/wants me constantly sat next to him even when he doesn't need my help eg with maths! Which means I can't get on with other stuff I need to do eg housework and looking after/playing with the toddler! He's very demanding of my time and wants the complete monopoly on me which of course where he's been so fragile lately he has taken majority of my time physically and mentally but in the long term I can't do that when I have 3 children and a house to run, so how can I make it work?
How do you manage the toddler to get to do normal toddler things if your time is taken up home Ed the most demanding one lol!
It's tricky. I agree that an unschooling approach - where you let your son take the lead on what, when and how to learn - may well be the way to go. If you do that, you don't have to "keep him on task" as such. That approach might enable you to have your 7yo out of school as well, because you don't have to make them get on with "work". They learn what they want to learn, and they won't see it as work. Preventing them from fighting is another challenge, but many parents report a huge improvement in sibling relationships after they come out of school, because they are under less stress as individuals.
Of course, your son may be feeling needy/anxious regardless of what educational approach you choose. Even if both you and he see the change to home ed as a positive for him, it IS a big change and likely to be unsettling. Also, kids take a while to process the damage they suffered at school and can be thinking that through at home in the early weeks and months after leaving school. You might find his outlook would improve if you actually completely deregistered him from school, so that being home isn't a temporary thing where he is worrying at the prospect of returning to school. Some kids' anxiety is little improved when they are "off school" but lifts when they are told they won't have to go back next week, next month, or next year.
Has your son always wanted a lot of your time - during the school holidays, for example? I can see how that would be hard to juggle when you have several kids. There are forums (again, most of them on Facebook) for parents who are home educating children with special needs, and people chat about ways to tackle these problems.
Many people join Facebook, not using their real name, and not using most of its features. You don't have to have Facebook "friends", for example. You can just use it to find information which can't be found elsewhere. If you were in touch with local home ed groups, that might provide a solution to your toddler's needs. We go to groups which cater for all ages: park play or soft play, for example. Other parents in your area will be HEing older children alongside toddlers; it isn't at all unusual!
I have a seven year gap between my two children and I never felt the younger one missed out. She loved having her big sister and other big kids around, and going to all the home ed activities to follow around after big children or play with the other little ones. We did used to go to some toddler activities which didn't object to an older child coming (have you been told that your son isn't allowed? some places do have bans on big kids, but some don't), and my older child was okay about being left home alone, so it was probably easier for me than you.
I'm not saying it's always easy, but it sounds like home education may be the only way forward for your eldest, so you might have to find ways to make it work.
@Saracen thank you for your reply it's very helpful. I agree that it may be better to officially de register him but I am anxious to do so at the moment for a variety of reasons but I guess the main being we currently have early help involved (she has been very proactive at pushing school and CAMHS) and I worry they'd get social services involved and think I'm pulling him out of school for the wrong reasons if that makes sense. He does also like his friends and a couple of the Sen teachers there and talks about going back in the future?!
I'm not sure about unschooling approach as he does like structure and timetable of lessons, he could do very well academically but would be very lazy if given the chance! How does unschooling work come secondary school age? Do they still study towards I GCSEs? I'm leaning towards an online school programme for secondary school for him.
With the toddler activities, he does come with me to my daughter's baby ballet class and he is well behaved there doesn't cause any trouble to the teacher, but it does distract my daughter and she shows off cos he's there 🙄 The other toddler groups older siblings of school age are not allowed to go which is a shame as she is missing out on the craft activities and singing in groups and general social skills/turn taking etc that she doesn't end up doing at home as her two big brothers spoil her lol.
I will look into setting up a Facebook account for this purpose only and see what I can find out locally thank you x