Homeschooling

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by compassion, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. compassion

    compassion Member

    The medicationthread was sgetting so long, wanted Occupational Therapist (OT) start a new one.

    I agree with Maurgerite concerning many advantages to homeschooling difficult child. There is more flexiblity. More meovement/more stimualtion, accomodations can be made lkie brawaing stuff down in short segments. Someitmes my son would bounde and fiddle while doing academics. My daughter can sketch while she is read to. There is less pressure to conform. Strenths can be addressed. Individual attention can go far. We have done much adventruing. Intersts can be pursued. healthier eating and sleeping and exercise are more easily facitated. The fosu of advocacy can be on the child.

    I have found this more challenging as they are older. Currently, daughter is doing online high school and son is in community college. Daughter plays competive volleyball for large high school. I have been committed t homeschooling and still play a huge advocacy and supportive role in their educational and other pursuits.
    Compassion
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although I did homeschool my ex-druggie daughter to try to keep her closer to home (and away from her scummy friends), I don't believe that homeschooling is good for every kid, especially kids with social deficits and delays and those who need therapies and interventions. Actually, each state is different. Check yours out. In Wisconsin, if your child is not in public school, you can not utilize their special services and you are very limited as to what sports or classes your child can attend. My son would have been a mess if I had kept him home. He's on the autism spectrum and would never have learned how to interact with other kids, to the extent that he did, without daily exposure and his social skills classes. For my daughter, it was ok. We used an online school. She is very bright and, even on drugs, she graduated early and then went to tech school for hairdressing and got all A's (and this was on Cocaine). But it didn't keep her away from her friends, like I'd hoped, and she didn't stop using drugs just because she wasn't in school. She found ways anyways. If you have a child, say, on the autism spectrum or any child struggling with social skills in my opinion Special Education/small classes are better than homeschooling/keeping them in only a familiar place. This is JMO!!! I did homeschool my autistic son one year, and he made much more progress when he went back to school with a good IEP (and since we hire advocates, we get what we want). We did need to scout out the various school districts and he ended up going to one that was not in our district at THEIR expense and THEY transported him (they still do). I'm sure homeschooling works for many children, but in my opinion the ones I've seen thrive in it the most are those who are "typical" kids who are motivated learners. I think our "labeled" kids need more than we can offer then at home, UNLESS you live in a state that offers the same interventions to homeschooled kids as you get in school and if the child is exposed to his peers every day. It's in my opinion NOT a good thing to isolate kids who already have trouble with other people. Again, I am NOT criticizing anyone, and this is only my opinion. Academically, the kids can do well in a homeschool--it's the other stuff I worry about. Again JMO ;)
     
  3. compassion

    compassion Member

    Good point MWM about assessing your individual situation. There are many resources and ops . Some archived posts on this forum are excellent. Compassion
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Not here or in Illinois. If you homeschool, then you PAY for all the interventions. And the type of social groups we had when I homeschooled didn't really do anything for my son.
    But every state has different laws and all of our kids are individuals ;)
     
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Homeschooling Miss KT would have ended with one of us killing the other. No kidding. Homework was bad enough.

    All the sports and activities she was involved in at school would have been nearly impossible to duplicate. Although she still has difficulties relating to people, I believe she would have been much worse had I kept her at home.
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Mary, it's not necessarily a matter of turning your home into a police state. What we have found, is that by allowing the students more control over what to work on and for how long, the student becomes the driving force and all I have to do is keep the education bus steering straight.

    Online lessons are brilliant - difficult child 3's correspondence school is increasingly using these. However, there is a school for him, it's based in the heart of Sydney's CBD (a little oasis down near the navy docks). There are teachers there he can telephone and they have study days about once a month (sometimes more often) where we can choose to go and participate.

    Although it's mostly difficult child's work, I am still needed as supervisor (not teacher). difficult child 3 could take himself in to the study days alone - difficult child 1 used to - but I go too, because on these days I function as an aide. I have also seen the way the teachers work as a team, on study days, often one will step in and sit with difficult child 3 if I'm not there (I could be in a meeting, for example). I can also request individual tuition sessions (we organised a lot for difficult child 1).

    Otherwise, what we do is very similar to home schooling.

    As the work gets more complex (and beyond my ability to teach/help) my role changes to one of facilitator. I don't teach, I let the curriculum material do that. But I do help with essay-writing skills, for example. The Special Education staffer at the correspondence school sent me a fabulous link for students to use in any type of writing task - it is like a template that can shift depending on what sort of task is needed.

    Here it is:
    http://www.writingfun.com/

    I help my child follow the template. I show my child how to use a mind map, and we practise this over and over. I also keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to get out and about, but still learn.

    Social skills - I strongly feel, in our case, that difficult child 3's social skills are MUCH better taught OUT of mainstream. The situation was so bad, that all that was happening for difficult child 3 in mainstream was BAD social interaction. He was learning the wrong social skills (how to hit someone; how to shout at people; how to be a bully) instead of positive skills. He also had less time for healthy social interaction while he was in mainstream; he would be sent home with loads of homework, form all the work he didn't complete during the day. This happened actually with difficult child 1 as well.

    The result in mainstream - the boys would get home from school, tired, angry and sometimes bleeding. They then had to settle down to do homework, which required my ongoing supervision, support and nagging. It took hours, went well into the night, aggravated because their medications had worn off and they took much longer to do what should have been easy. With difficult child 1 I was medicating him with extra, short-acting medications as he walked in the door and he would keep working until 10 pm or more. It was purgatory.

    Working at home - the student gets to work on schoolwork when school hours begin. If he's still not dressed or breakfasted, so what? He works anyway. He can get dressed at recess. He can eat his meals while working. And we found that the work got done much faster, more efficiently and to a greater extent, than either at mainstream or after hours. Result - school hours finished, most of the work was also finished. Far more work completed per day at home than ever was done in a week at school. So when school hours finish - he's free to go socialise with friends. Or go to a class in something with other kids. Or go play a team sport somewhere. Or come shopping with me.

    In summary - mainstream, the kid was miserable, bullied and learning bad interaction habits at school then having to come home and do more work to make up for what he hadn't done during the day. No good social contact happening. Out of mainstream - the work gets done, then after school he has MORE freedom than other kids.

    The social contact at school - the kids are stuck there. If someone is being mean, they can't walk away because the bullies will often follow them. Telling a teacher often backfires. But after hours - if difficult child 3 visits a friend, and someone is mean to him - he can walk out of there and come home. Even THAT is a good social skill.

    Of course it depends on the child, on the range of social opportunities available, etc. Also on how good is the mainstream setting you can access.

    A close friend of ours has chosen to pull her boys out of the local school and home-school them. These boys are PCs, bright and talented. There was no real reason for her to do this other than her own social mores being very different. She's a pacifist, a vegetarian, a New Age hippie raising her boys in her mould. Their hair has never been cut, for example. Her eldest looks like a girl, but was still accepted by the other boys at his school despite his waist-length blonde curls and delicate features. Her kids were fending for themselves. But she decided she wanted more freedom and more control over what they were taught.

    Socially, her boys are doing well. They still play with schoolfriends more freely, if anything, because they don't have homework (the biggest advantage of home schooling). They get to see a lot of people across a wide spectrum of social strata. They have a self-confidence when it comes to speaking to people of all ages and walks of life.

    I'm seeing similar things with difficult child 3 - he is confident when it comes to speaking to people. He did the bulk of his Christmas shopping entirely unaided, he did a lot of comparison shopping to get the best deal, he negotiated discounts where he felt it was warranted, he will willingly ask for help form a shopkeeper and will also help a total stranger if he sees that help is needed. He is polite to strangers, courteous (often too chatty). And when it's a bit too much for him, he has a key to get into the car and will go back there to take a break. That is something he was not able to do at school and he needed to. Knowing he needed to but couldn't was aggravating his stress levels. Knowing now that he can, actually makes it easier for him to soldier on.

    It deeply concerns me, that so many people hear "home schooling" and IMMEDIATELY think "The child will suffer for lack of social interaction."

    It's a myth. It's wrong. Especially with a child on the autism spectrum, mainstream alone DOES NOT TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS. Mainstream is NOT a natural social environment, and while "normal" kids can eventually pick up social skills in a mainstream setting, they will pick those skills up anywhere simply because they ARE normal, their brains are designed to understand it all far more naturally.

    I'm going to have this printed onto a t-shirt -

    AUTISTIC KIDS DO NOT LEARN SOCIAL SKILLS BY OSMOSIS.

    You can't surround an autistic kid with lots of other kids and expect them to absorb social skills. It's BECAUSE it doesn't work that way for them, that we need to actively teach social skills to autistic kids. We rehearse, we role-play, we write social stories, we arrange practice sessions, we go out in public and stand back to watch how well they put into practice what they have learned.

    As a supervisor of a correspondence student, I now have him under my nose much more and therefore have more opportunity to directly do all this, to see how well he is learning.

    It does vary a lot, from child to child and from situation to situation.

    People also get the chicken-or-egg situation backwards. They meet difficult child 3 and when they learn that he is home-schooled, they say to themselves, "THAT is why he is socially odd; it's because he is socially isolated. Homeschooling is bad for socialising." but in fact difficult child 3 is still socially backward BECAUSE he is autistic. He is as advanced as he is, because we work at socialising. In mainstream he was far more backward; partly because he was younger, mostly because he was not being taught anything constructive.

    it's up to the child - what sort of schooling do you want? Do you want the freedom to work in comfort and do your best in a distraction-free environment that is under your control, or do you want to go back to mainstream?

    And some kids will choose mainstream and probably do much better there.

    But some won't. Given the choice, I know I would have learned a much better work ethic, much sooner, if I'd been home-schooled.

    difficult child 3 is doing much better now. People ask us when we'll be sending him back to mainstream. For him - never. Not until university.

    But that's us.

    Marg
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, my son wasn't mainstreamed until he was ready. That way he got the social skills training in a small environment. But then he never hit anyone either.
    For him, he would not have had any friends at all if he would have stayed home. His tendency is to isolate. He really made some nice friends in the school's Special Education and those friendships carried over to mainstreaming. Now he does great in mainstream--it's never even suggested he needs Special Education anymore, except for Learning Disability (LD) services when he asks for them. It may be different in the US. by the way, you'll be getting an e-mail from me soon, and thanks. You know why ;)
     
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    As has been said, every kid is different. I do think having access tot he Special Education has probably made a big positive difference for your son, MWM. We never had that opportunity. For difficult child 3, the drama class has been the closest chance he's had, a lot of those kids are from a local Special Education unit.

    difficult child 3 hated drama class at first, he would fight it every week but I kept insisting. Then as he made friends there, he found it worth the effort. He would go purely to see his friends, and put up with the drama class stuff.

    difficult child 3 also tends to isolate himself and can get set into patterns of behaviour where he chooses to NOT visit his local friends but instead goes for a walk alone. However, his friends will also seek him out and often have come knocking to ask if difficult child 3 can come and play. That always gets him out of his shell!

    Interestingly, difficult child 3's best friend who is also autistic, is in mainstream (father in denial). Best friend DOES tend to isolate himself, we've dropped in to suggest a swim at the beach or a bike ride, and friend just wants to stay home. However, he does get a lot of kids visiting. His mother keeps an open house of sorts, many friends, often with kids, visit all the time.

    I suspect by high school the boy will be home-schooled (or correspondence). I don't think they'll cope very well, due to the father being a bit erratic with his moral support and understanding. For this boy, he needs the Special Education class at the district high school. But I don't think he will get it (father won't allow it). It's not going to be pretty...

    Marg
     
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Very intersting assesment Marg. One thing I have been saying for years is that difficult child would be so much better in a homeschooling enviornment. He gets bored, he gets anxious, then he gets frustrated at school. Although he has made tremendous strides since 2003, it's still a struggle. He is a smart kid, but learns in a different way from the majority of his peers in school.

    However, my difficult child is so socially challenged that I never considered homeschooling because he needed the social interaction. He needed to understand that it's not always what he wanted or when he wanted. There are always others to be considered as well. It was also my hope that there be some social interaction between he and his peers.

    The fact that negative social interactions and inappropriate behaviors may predicate a different choice was something I didn't consider. You've given me some foder to mull around.

    Sharon
     
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, Marg, my son still isolates!!! If he wasn't in school it would be worse. He DOES like having friends. And I know you weren't offered things like social skills classes and life skills training, but in the US, you are. And it made a big difference with my kid. So I often caution parents of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids in the US from keeping kids home for school. While they don't learn social skills by observation (although I think mine has, now that he's older), they can learn in social skills class and then apply it to their friends in their other classes, which is what my son did. He also became more comfortable with other people. He can handle being in a large room of people. He doesn't like it and won't talk to people he doesn't know, but at least he can BE there and if somebody talks to him first, he won't make good eye contact, but he WILL answer appropriately. Also, his Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) has gotten better due to the PT and Occupational Therapist (OT) and also from having to deal with stimuli. At first, he was horrible with stimuli, but he can handle it now. He knows his limits and will compensate when it gets to be too much, but he doesn't meltdown. For a long time we couldn't take him to the fireworks. Now he wants to go. If it gets too loud, he'll go sit in the car and watch them, maybe with headphones on.
    I do think it depends on what is offered in public school and what your state allows you to participate in if the kids aren't in school. Even if you text book teach social skills to an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) child, you still have to give them a lot of opportunity to practice what they have learned (as in all subjects). My son has become a leader in his study hall for Learning Disability (LD) kids. Because he's smart kids go to him for help and he is very willing and eager to help them. I wonder if he'd be able to burst out of his shell and be this way if he had stayed home (trust me, we thought of it!) He also is in choir which means he has to stand in front of an audience four times a year. He doesn't like it and often drives me and hub nuts as he picks at his clothes, but HE CAN DO IT! And he isn't really all that nervous about it anymore. This is a kid who would scream and cover his ears at one time if he was in a room with twenty people that he didn't know. We've come a long way, and I do give school a lot of the credit. We just didn't have the resources at home to help him that much. But...yes, all kids and situations are different ;)
     
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    "I do think it depends on what is offered in public school and what your state allows you to participate in if the kids aren't in school."

    So true.

    We have had access to a social skills class, but these are organised through the autism association, not through school. Maybe if difficult child 3 were in the autism class it would be different. Actually, you have given me an idea - I will make contact with the autism class to find out first, IF they are organising any social skills training with their class, and then IF we can get difficult child 3 to attend, purely for the social skills training. I've been wanting to talk to them anyway, for a whole host of reasons.

    We've also been looking at organising another social skills course via the drama class/social club kids. It's been three years since the last one, I think it's time for another.

    In the meantime, we work of difficult child 3's social skills by ourselves. We watch various TV shows designed to teach social skills, we talk about the shows and we put the stuff into practice.

    when difficult child 3 was in mainstream, there was far less scope for any of this. They won't teach social skills in a mainstream school, if there are only two or three autistic kids in the whole school. In fact, they won't even allow the other kids in the school to know that there are any autistic kids (confidentiality). As a result, it limits what help we can get.

    But anything we organise outside school, or privately, or whatever we do at home - we have a lot more control now, a lot more freedom.

    The TV show difficult child 3 watches has been really useful. It's Aussie-made and designed for slightly younger schoolkids, but it acts as a focus for us to discuss social issues. There IS a part of the curriculum which does deal with social issues, one of the compulsory subjects, and his correspondence teachers are gearing up to use that tio help. But it's fairly general. We'll see if they can make something more specific next year. I'll let you know if we get some useful material.

    Marg

    Marg
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    They don't tell anyone that my son is Autistic, and he was in a Special Education class with kids who were all a little different. I don't know any of the diagnoses. All had social skills, life skills, OR academic deficits. He loved that class and was mainstreamed for classes like social studies and science and art etc. He learned a lot from both experiences. His teachers are shocked when I say he's on the autism spectrum (although it's in his IEP--I guess they can't remember all the kids). They always say "Oh, I thought he was just ADHD, I'd never have guessed." So it isn't shared and I don't think I'd want L. in a class of only autistic kids. The social skills classes are indoctrinated in the regular cirriculum AND the seperate ones include all kids with social skills problems, even some kids from typical classes. When he turned 12, he suddenly leapt ahead in social skills in a way we never dreamed. He also had the opportunity of learning how to take notes (his aide taught him) and to work at his own pace academically. Before he went to high school, his IEP was changed to Learning Disability (LD) only. He is doing fine in just Learning Disability (LD) classes. He still gets social skills classes and life skills. He loves school and often says, "I'd rather be at school then a thome, NO OFFENSE!" lolol. His reason is, "It's boring at home. I miss my friends."
     
  13. lillians

    lillians lillians

    my daughter also isolates,,, but unless i am missing a post i do not read anyone saying anything about their own tolerance,,, i love my children but all day all nite 24-7, would i in fact do them justice,,, ugh!! i do not have that kind of patience,, i hate what they see and hear at school,, but it is whats out there in the world after us,,
     
  14. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Ooh i'm jumping into this one lol. That's one of my biggest reservations regarding to homeschool or not to homeschool, is them learning tolerance and acceptance of the world as it is. Not the world conforming to what they need it to be.

    Listen, I'd love to change the world, the rules/and Special Education laws in our schools, have our teachers trained properly, an endless array of things i cannot even begin to list. Yet we all have the systems in which we have, and yes i believe with most things in time it will begin to change and become better.

    Yet, for me when I was at that point with difficult child where I contemplated home schooling her (wasn't sure how we'd afford it) my biggest thought was ok, it's 100 times better for her than the pressure of daily school life. All the reasons that were listed her and more, yet at the end of the day when she grows and hopefully spreads her wings somewhat life isnt' going to conform to what her needs are. She is going to have to learn to adapt to the world around her.

    I do believe it is all based upon our children's diagnosis and their inherent abilities where they lie, the severity of their illness. Yet if we adjust the world around them too much don't we at the same time set them up to believe that the world is going to treat them the same way when they grow and mature to some extent? As I said it is all depending upon the child to a large extent.

    Like I said different for all kids, yet with my difficult child I challenge her everyday I feel I have to. I no longer make provisions for her even here at home. I"ve stopped all that. I make my schedule the way it needs to be made, and she manages thru it. I no longer change my food shopping schedule to meet her needs so that she isnt' overstimulated, I no longer make certain provisions for her regarding various things.

    I want her to learn to grow and understand her own limitations so that she can find her little niche in the world whatever that may be. I find if I make too many provisions and cushion it too much she'll never be able to establish her "own" understanding of who she is and how to make her life fit her own capabilities whatever they may be as she grows.

    anyway just my thoughts. :)
     
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I found with my son, and in my situation (which is only US, not everyone) the kids who were homeschooled seemed to have pretty poor social skills, so it didn't really help my son when we got together (and that was only once a week). I think a lot of kids are taken out of school because they don't fit in and sometimes (not always) the parents don't want to face that there is something wrong so they'd rather take them out and keep them at home, where they function better, than maybe test them and hear a scary diagnosis. The kids seemed to be very sheltered and very different from their peers. I could see after one year that this wasn't going to help my son learn to deal with his discomforts. I hated to push him too, but, as you can see, when I found a good fit for him, he LOVED school. On the other hand, my son never had behavioral issues at school. We didn't get the endless phone calls, the "he beat up Johnnys", the complaints. But maybe part of that was our willingness to place him where he could do his best rather than insisting on mainstreaming him because that made him "different" or gave him a "stigma." The fact is, he IS different. He KNOWS it, and it really doesn't bother him too much, according to his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) therapist. The kids at school are used to kids with differences and are amazzzing with the Special Education kids, although my son is not considered one anymore. They are helpful and sweet and my son has never been teased in school (that's another thing). He feels very accepted in his little group.
    I don't know what I'd do if the teachers kept calling, if the kids picked on L., etc. But we did look around hard for a good fit for our son and we forced our school district to let him go to that school. We did it by bringing Advocates with us to our IEP meetings and it worked like magic. I think, all things considered, my son would have been significantly held back either homeschooled OR completely mainstreamed the entire time he was in school. This is the best fit for him. He really does miss school when he has time off, so I guess we did the right thing. It's so hard to guess sometimes.
     
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I do think it's about finding the best fit. MWM, you sound like you've got a really great placement for your son and he sounds like he's happy too. I wish we had something like that. It's not that we're backward here (although it seems it sometimes!) but really, our high schools are absolutely the worst places for someone on the spectrum anywhere. Tertiary provides much more support.

    You said, "the kids who were homeschooled seemed to have pretty poor social skills..." and I do think it's tricky, "chicken or the egg" stuff. The kids who cope least and for whom there are fewer options that work, are more likely to end up home-schooled. But there can be other placements for some.

    difficult child 3's correspondence school also supplies curriculum for a few behaviour schools. One place has a very autistic, withdrawn boy that we met a couple of years ago. I met his mother, she had come along with her son and his behaviour school to an expo day. The boy was clearly struggling, he kept sliding off his chair to curl up on the floor and shut everything out. He had a 1:1 aide who kept getting him back onto his chair. He didn't appear to be taking in anything else. I felt angry at his placement in a behaviour school, because most of the other kids were there because they were bullies, or were disturbed (often due to discipline issues at home, judging from what I heard from them about their home life) and this kid seems to me to need a placement in a specialist autism class. ONly there isn't one, so here he is.

    And yet... watching him on Speech Day (it's the annual class awards day for the school) I saw this lad go up on his own to receive an award for excellence in technology. He did have his aide with him as he queued, but walked up on the stage on his own, with his classmates (the problem behaviour kids, remember) supporting him all the way and helping him. His aide walked below the stage and collected him as he stepped back down again.

    So although I feel he should be in a specialist autism class, he is actually doing well, and I think his presence in that class is probably a benefit to the other kids there too. So maybe I've been wrong all this time, at least about his placement. (Again, it's my own opinion, I've not expressed it to anyone outside family; and not even to difficult child 3). I think if he had been home-schooled then he would continue to withdraw.

    With ANY kid who is withdrawn and chooses to opt out, you have to work at it to keep them socialised, no matter what placement they have. Some placements make it easier. But it's always possible. However, it can be a bigger load for the parent, than that parent is equipped to deal with. The boy I've just mentioned - his mother is a very subservient type of person, she will agree with whatever she is told by a person who is in authority. As a result, I think she would be too easily conned or browbeaten by various officials, and you do need to have courage to stand up to people to some extent (including standing up to your own child, or at least successfully negotiating with him) if you're going to home-school. You need to have trust in your own instincts, the ability to think (and act) outside the square, and to find it an adventure instead of a chore.

    I am so glad we have chosen to do this, but angry that it has been necessary. If there had been a specialist autism class at the local school, for example, or even simply a Special Education unit that accepted difficult child 3, then maybe I would feel differently. But almost all the really good autism stuff in Sydney is on the other side, two hours' drive and more away. Just not possible.

    I did campaign for a good autism unit down our way, but it's got a long waiting list full of people who need it more than we do. However, thanks to you guys I'll contact them in the new year when school goes back, to discuss social skills courses. I might also fire off an email to my local contact list to see if anyone's interested. If nothing else, we might be able to organise a social outing for the group, most of whom have never met. We used to do this with another older group but most of them have reached adult status and aren't so interested in hanging out with teens. We have a wide range of abilities in the group - difficult child 3 is one of the higher functioning ones. His best friend at drama class has an IQ that is literally half difficult child 3's (possibly slightly higher than half, but only slightly). Yet they get on really well. I think it's because socially, they're equivalent. Another high-functioning lad is also good friends with difficult child 3 (and now attends the autism class).

    So it takes all kinds of kids, and all kinds of placements.

    But before you choose to never home-school, look beyond the myths and bad press and REALLY think about it. Often the bad press is wrong.

    Marg
     
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