To cut a long story short Main Stream didn’t work, the ASD Unit was too far away and we weren’t eligible for the local special school. Home Education was the last resort at the time.
This was a huge step. I had to give up work for a start, but we had no other options available to us.
I was given lots of advice from other people. Some said “don’t allow the local authority into your home they will try and force her back to school”. Others said “don’t follow the curriculum you don’t have to”. I was also advised to “un-school for at least 6 months before I decided what we were going to do”.
I decided to follow my own instincts and my child.
We started Home Education in the summer so it was a great opportunity to get out and about and experience the parks and beaches while they were quiet. On wet and cold days we worked inside or enjoyed soft play. Every Friday we went horse riding regardless of the weather. We did a mix of formal education and life skills.
School was such a stressful environment. Every day was a battle for her and for me. From the moment I brought her home, everything changed. She was calm and relaxed. She was happy.
The great thing about being at home with my daughter as we worked at her pace. She is a very bright girl in some areas and other areas she really struggles. I found a formal lesson that would maybe take a whole morning in school could be achieved in 20-30 minutes. She was getting one to one with no distractions and soaking up this knowledge willingly.
In the areas, she struggled with, such as timetables and telling the time we were able to adapt to her learning; which is something they wouldn’t have done in school with 30 other children to think about. We broke everything up into manageable sessions and worked at the times where she was at her best and willing to learn. This worked really really well.
Finding things that we both mutually enjoyed like history was a lovely way to bond. We spent hours reading together and had lots of discussions and debates. When things got too much we simply had quiet time for as long as we needed.
One of the great things about home education is that I got to learn things too. Even though it was Primary School stuff some of it I didn’t have a clue about. So when she was learning so was I! I found I really enjoyed it. I also found that she taught me as much as I taught her, it was definitely a two-way street.
When you have a child that doesn’t sleep school can be very very difficult to manage. At school, she would be getting off to sleep at 4 or 5 am and then needed to be up at 6 or 7 am (depending on which school she was at the time). This was very difficult and I think contributed to her problems at school. She is more sensitive when tired and so her SPD is at it’s worse.
When she was at home I could let her sleep a little longer depending on when she had fallen asleep and so she wasn’t overtired when we were doing our learning. Sometimes we would do our learning at night, which suited her better (I mean 7 pm not 2 in the morning BTW).
It also gave me the opportunity to address her sleeping pattern and start to get her into a better routine. This worked really well because we didn’t have the stress of having to be in school for 8.45am every morning. It also meant that when she was having a lie in I could too! Sleep is so important.
But as they say, all good things come to an end and eventually I couldn’t satisfy her learning needs. She requested to go to Main Stream Secondary School. That is a whole other story …
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