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I never thought I would ever say this, but please come and talk to me about HOME SCHOOLING!

(33 Posts)
pinkytheshrinky Sat 23-Jul-11 12:26:46

I had two DD - DD1 is 10 and she is dyspraxic - just finally starting to be able to read (suddenly and very well) and my other DD is 7.5 and has dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit and is showing signs of mild Asperger's. School have been helpful but are trying to get rid of DD2 into a special school as she is about to go into Juniors and cannot cope in her peer group and the older one although now reading at a low average level is not by any means fulfilling her considerable potential and is finding the social elements at her school problematic.

We have gone to see a very well respected Ed Psych who apart from diagnosing the issues for them has fundamentally said your DDs need something else. We cannot afford full time private schooling for them both and she suggested home schooling...... not at all what I thought she would say. Apart I am raising children who are 'exceptional' of course being like this when you are a child is a problem for fitting in but she said it is what will make them successful as adults - provided we get this bit right and not allow them to be crushed by their current provision......

We have found a small school to which they can go part time and I am thinking of home schooling them for the other part of the week.

Am I bloody bonkers? Without the prompting by this lady I would never have had the confidence to make that decision but given all the other options presented either sending DD2 to a residential special school and splitting up our family it seems like a great idea. There is also no provision for my older DD to get help with her dyspraxia because her scores are low average to she will not warrant a statement. DD2 will get one but the school she is at have said even with that they cannot help out with her social interaction stuff and she is already being bullied because socially she is awkward.

I know it is a big step, I know I will have to up their extra curricular stuff and keep them socialised, but am I mad as a bag of spiders or can I do this?

pinkytheshrinky Sat 23-Jul-11 12:35:55

bump

ragged Sat 23-Jul-11 12:44:39

There is a HE section on MN that might help you.
You could try Mothering.com, too, they've got oodles of HSers.

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 23-Jul-11 12:44:46

What particularly would you like to know?

Socialising has never been a hard part for us, even though we aren't part of our local home education group (we tried, wasn't a good fit for us). Look around for activities or interest groups they might enjoy or general groups like Badgers/Cadets in St. John's Ambulance which cover a lot of things and tend to be smaller groups which may help the social situation (my eldest loves it - the small group setting has been wonderful for his social skills compared to larger groups).

NedSchneebly Sat 23-Jul-11 13:28:57

No experience at all, but wanted to bump for you- you sound like you really want to help your DDs

Good luck! smile

crumblequeen Sat 23-Jul-11 13:46:05

Hi, I am planning to HE my two boys - 3.5 and a baby and its not bonkers at all to think you could do it. The mumsnet HE forum is fantastic - have a look and maybe post there - the threads there definitely turned my wondering about HE into a final decision. My eldest son is not a "fit" for the school environment and I am sure he would not thrive in school - he has thrived so far at home so we are going to continue as we are!

VeganMummy Sat 23-Jul-11 13:48:34

We home educate. We also found our local home education group wasn't really suited to us (no-one of DD's age group, mostly teenagers there). DD has her friends from her time at school and has made other friends through the activities she does during the week, such as Rainbows, swimming lessons, dance classes etc.

insanityscatching Sat 23-Jul-11 16:39:56

Have you thought about making a request for a statutory assessment anyway? (if in England of course) For both children? Obtaining a statement is based on need rather than academic achievements (or should be) and with a good independent ed psych report isn't as difficult as you might imagine. FWIW my ds and dd are both well above average academically but still have statements, dd's focuses entirely on social interaction and works because she has friends and enjoys the interaction with her peers and has never been bullied.
The school they are at doesn't sound brilliant tbh, where is the anti bullying policy? what strategies are they using to help with the dyspraxia? why aren't they doing social skills training? A different school may be all your dd's need to have a more enjoyable and rewarding time in school.
For me home school is great if that is your first choice but I believe passionately that parents shouldn't be pushed into homeschooling because of a school's failure to meet a child's SEN.
Far better in my opinion to make yourself familiar with the SEN code of practise get advice from IPSEA and or SOSSEN and secure the help a child needs in school

Takver Sat 23-Jul-11 17:31:33

I don't HE, but I've known a lot of HE children & parents, and I don't think you're bonkers at all!

Definitely post on the HE section here, you'll get loads of useful advice and help. I doubt you'll find much problem with 'keeping them socialised' - the HE kids I know have a much more active social life than I do smile

insanity has a good point though - HE is a fantastic choice for those it suits, but it shouldn't be something you have to do to save the LEA money.

CareyHunt Sat 23-Jul-11 17:45:49

Hi Pinky,
We home ed our 3, including ds2 who has Asperger's, ADHD and dyspraxia.

You are not bonkers at all; without HE I don't believe our son would be the happy, confident boy he is today.
In many ways, HE is perfectly suited to children who have Asperger's/ ADHD etc. They are able to lead their own learning, which can be geared around the particular difficulties they may have ( ie. not so much dependence on hand-written work to demonstrate learning etc). Social interaction at school can be very challenging, and children who struggle can sometimes get lost in the mix. We are members of our local HE group and through that we have been able to provide a social life that fits in with the needs of all our children ( DS2 prefers 1 to 1 or more structured play, whereas Ds1 enjoys charging around in a big gang!). We also got to meet lots of other parents who had been there and done it, which inspired us and filled us with confidence!

HE is a great lifestyle, for kids and parents. I would say Go for it!
(PM me if you would like any more info. I'll be away for 2 weeks from tomorrow, but will get back to you as soon as I am back)

maypole1 Sat 23-Jul-11 17:51:14

i am confused the school has said your son cannot cope in main steam so you then decided to home educate

whats the issue with special schools these days most of the services are in house in the schools so if you home end he will miss out of speech therapy and all sorts

to be honest with a disabled child i don't think its a good idea unless their is no other choice

pinkytheshrinky Sat 23-Jul-11 19:09:39

Oh thank you everyone for all that so far. Apologies for not replying sooner, was out having my hair done <preen>

I will still be getting my dd's a stat assesments - the oldest will not get a statement for sure - her issues are too subtle and her low average will preclude her but I will try, she has other very significant health issues which come into play too - she is already on school action plus as is the other DD.

And being as my younger dd has been having input for 5 years and they have been unwilling to make even a diagnosis apart from 'speech and language disorder' (yea well I know that she cannot bloody speak!) I do not hold out much hope. I cannot believe how remiss everyone has been I have really had to bully and cajole to get the simplest thing. I do feel the school are trying to move DD2 out as she will completely screw up their SATs... cynical? moi?

I am not rushing into it - I do feel I need to do something quite radical - things are not working for them really and I feel like their uniqueness is being crushed under the weight of conforming to the 'norm'. The EP said yesterday that DD2 might as well not be at school at all she learns so little. I know that this is true - all her major learning leaps have been during/after holidays and the like. She learns in big jumps not in a linear fashion.

Point taken re. anti bullying policy etc - the school do have one of course but the stuff my older dd is going through is very subtle and she is a scrapper so is giving as good as she gets - doesn't stop her feeling isolated, fundamentally she feels that her (and our) values are different from the majority of children she is surrounded by.

I just feel that it is the right thing for us, I have no idea how we are going to make it work but I know we will. We are going to buy a bigger house and at least now we have a plan of sorts, before we felt we were ricocheting from thing to thing absolutely filled with despair and now we feel hopeful.

DD's school have already been very plain with me that they cannot provide for DD2 even with a statement, it is a peer group thing, a subtle problem with devastating effects on my DD2 - she is friendless although friendly and very young in comparison - no amount of hours of input from grown ups is going to make that ok. She does not fit in and that cannot be manufactured.

I am now going to have to get myself really organised and get some care in place for my rather rowdy 2.5 year old son and my littlest one (maybe an aupair?) so the ladies can have some space.

You have all been so kind and thank you all so much; you have made me feel very positive.

pinkytheshrinky Sat 23-Jul-11 19:15:19

Maypole1 - I wonder if you have read my OP

What they have said is they cannot provide for my youngest DD even with a statement but that she does not fit the criteria for a special school (which the EP agrees is a bad idea) - she has a very complex psych profile and finding a school to fit her would mean her leaving our family and living away

My older DD could manage in Mainstream but she is dyspraxic and there is no provision for her because she can now read at an average level - her writing and spelling is still bad but not 'bad enough'

Why would home educating preclude having speech therapy? Not that it does much for DD2 but I could still access those services surely?

ragged Sat 23-Jul-11 19:21:54

Yes you can access but there are all types of things you end up paying more for because of HEing or having to chase up yourself not really knowing how to chase it up (I have loads of friends who HE, they moan about this having to chase up & pay more thing a lot!). SALT for instance, tends to be done thru the schools, and you'll have to find the appropriate alternative channel if HEing.

teacherwith2kids Sat 23-Jul-11 19:23:29

Pinky,

Just to say that I HEd DS for a while. He absolutely didn't fit with his first school - at the point I took him out he was being horribly bullied, his learning needs were not being met (he's bright but with poor fine motor skills, the school refused to believe that he had any abilities because he couldn't write well so he thought he was thick) and he was a selective mute (didn't speak to any adults outside the immediate family).

His then head teacher thought that i would have to HE forever as 'he's not suited to school'.

Fast forward 4 months and a house move, and he went into a new school (not in any way out of the ordinary, just a good, large primary with a caring staff) and has thrived from day 1. He still has a slight speech hesitation and doesn't work well in a pair (the situation in which he was bullied) but academically and socially he has flown from the beginning.

It may be absolutely that your children's current school does not meet their needs. It may be that HE is the best way to 'mend' them and move them forward in the short or even medium term. Do not discount the possibility of moving them to a more suitable school at a future date...

insanityscatching Sat 23-Jul-11 19:36:30

Pinky who is telling you that your older dd won't get a statement? why are school saying they can't meet younger dd's needs even with a statement? How do they know? Is it more a case that they are unwilling to try? With a statement you could have the pick of any school anyway so wouldn't need to put up with what sounds second rate at best anyway.
LEA's and schools aren't going to promote the statementing process because it costs time and money tbh. But a statement well written, quantified and specified ensures a child's right to an education tailored to meet their needs.
In dd's school there are children with numerous SEN and disabilities (autism, downs syndrome, deaf, blind, CP, PMLD and more) across the whole spectrum but they are included in the whole of school life. It's a mainstream school so inclusion can and is done every day in some schools. The trick is to get a solid statement and choose the school carefully tbh.

Saracen Sat 23-Jul-11 21:53:29

I think it's a great idea to give home ed a try. What have you got to lose? If it doesn't work as well as you hope, school will always be available to your children.

Since you feel that the time is right to do something radical, it sounds like you are up for it. You seem to have a deep undercurrent of positive determination in you about this. That will make all the difference.

Most people say that home education is easier than they expected. A very common sentiment is "my only regret is that I didn't try it sooner." Go for it!

If you want to talk to other parents who are home educating children with special educational needs, there are some very knowledgeable people on HE-Special

Love the hair, by the way. It suits you.

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 23-Jul-11 22:57:29

Yes, you can still access those services - my son was under the care of a SALT team for some time. However, you may need to chase these up more than if they were at school as the school has people to chase these things up and know all the channels. There are also from home education speech programmes available.

pinkytheshrinky Sun 24-Jul-11 14:45:12

Saracen - the hair comment is a bit stalkery no?

Thanks for that

Saracen Sun 24-Jul-11 23:20:05

Sorry, was meant to be a joke, clearly not a good one. blush You said you were preening, so I automatically complimented. Nothing to do with reality. I have no idea who you are. I won't do it again.

Gotabookaboutit Mon 25-Jul-11 06:26:32

I flexi school my oldest two - DS1 has aspergers adhd dyslexia dypraxia etc - Ds2 has I suppose, mild as above. One in high school, one in Junior. It works well for us. My Dd - 6 yr old is in full time school as she loves it and copes mostly at the momment - she has verbal dyspraxia suspected Adhd and again 'mild' aspergers . I can see myself flexi schooling her later.

The joy of flexi schooling is they still get the services they need and a good ''social base' but I can also adapt for things/services/activities they need that school cant provide. I get a few days a week ''off' when they are in school to work and recharge my batteries. My boys 'cope' much better with thier time in school as they are not as tired or stressed.

pinkytheshrinky Mon 25-Jul-11 08:15:38

Sorry to Saracen for being an arse an over reacting....blush

pinkytheshrinky Mon 25-Jul-11 08:21:46

Gotabookaboutit - are your children in a state school? I feel like part time is a happy medium between the two - I am worried about isolating them further that is the thing but particularly in DD2s case she finds full time incredibly difficult and I do know (as have been told by the senco and the ep) that the overwhelming majority of learning is passing her by, she doesn't even benefit from the social element because she is ostensibly on her own sad

Surely (even though I am a bit crap) OI cannot do a worse job than that - I am sure even going down the park and having a kick about would do her more good than staring out of the window in her class.

The older DD def needs to go to school part time - not sure I am equipped to take on the full gamut of GCSE teaching in the longer term with three other children. She needs the space to develop away from us too as she gets older. I am trying to help their self confidence and do no want to make it worse by reducing their ability to cope in the 'real world'

Gotabookaboutit Mon 25-Jul-11 08:52:54

lPinky - yes both state schools, oldest in in a Aspergers unit in MS - just really a common room for lunch. He is bordering on gifted and his maths is way better than mine but socially intollerant smile I have sort of fallen into flexi schooling but love it - both schools were reluctant but now I think quietly entusuasic as both boys behaviour/achiement has improved. Shame some LEA/schools see it as almost as an admision of failure rather than thier forward enlightened thinking.

pinkytheshrinky Mon 25-Jul-11 11:32:09

Yes feel I am going to fall into it too - the problem is I think my younger DD has a long way to go to get a ASD diagnosis - she is in the very mild category - she is not socially intolerant as such just subtly precluded from things - she is a sweetheart and I can see we are storing up for future problems if we just allow things to go on as they are. Although she is dreadfully behind she has never presented a 'problem' socially and behaviourally so she has been low priority and trying to make a child part of things is a very hard job even with a good statement and kind hearted teachers - she is in a kind of twilight, just managing but not really. At school she seems fine in herself but is started to feel the effects of being so marginalised. Knowing she cannot access the curriculum just makes it all seem so pointless.

So very very pleased we are at the end of term - I cannot wait to spend some time together.

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