homeschooling difficult child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by luvmyottb, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. luvmyottb

    luvmyottb Guest

    Does anyone homeschool difficult child? If so, what are your experiences? I am just trying to setup another meeting for an IEP and it is so exasperating to get things done in a timely manner.

    Maybe it would be a better solution for her...I don't know.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I homeschooled my difficult child for grades 3 and 4. I am homeschooling my 12yo for (last year - 7th) and this year - 8th grade. No telling if it will be something we do with thank you.

    There are a lot of options out there. If you google "homeschooling laws" and your state you should get the state requirements. Then you can search for curriculum. It does take time for each of you to adjust to it, and it can be great or horrible or both!

  3. sandman3

    sandman3 New Member

    I am homeschooling my difficult child 1 for now, he was getting good grades in school but the social aspect of it was awful....he was actually making himself sick (literally) just thinking about going. We've only been at it for 2 weeks, but so far so good, and he hasn't complained about his stomach once!
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I kind of homeschool. difficult child attends a public charter school that is internet based. So, she has teachers and a curriculum, but she learns from home.

    It's a much better environment for her than traditional school. Her anxiety got in the way.

    Now, for me, on the other's a lot of 'quality' time with difficult child if you know what I mean. When she's having a bad day there's no escape. :whiteflag:

    I would say that you need to have a really good plan and a solid schedule. It can work, but it takes a lot of dedication.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We're in a similar situation to Heather, only difficult child 3 gets most of his lessons in the mail. He has occasional study days at the school in the city (optional, but he earns credit points for going).

    I have found this works so much better for us - difficult child 3 was spending so much time home from school because he was sick (turned out to be extreme anxiety masquerading as stomach bug, or ulcer, or something - plus this kid can get so worked up he gets low-grade fevers just from anxiety!) that I couldn't organise my life. I would beg work from the teacher and also bought books etc, for him to work on when he was home. No way was I going to reward "I'm sick" with relaxing play time. Instead I brought in the rule, "School work during school hours" and the only way he could get out of schoolwork was by sleeping - which he would only do if he was genuinely sick, often not even then. He could be in his pyjamas sitting in bed, and I would get a clipboard for him to do his work on.

    When I tried sending him to school (and he loved school, he wanted to go) I would get a phone call from them to come fetch him. Often I would be on the way to a doctor's appointment, or to do the shopping, and have to cancel my plans. Sometimes when I had an important appointment and I wasn't sure about sending him, I would choose to keep him with me, because at least tat way I wasn't going to get called to come collect him from school.

    Now he's in correspondence, the situation is much more stable. I can even leave him on his own, and find completed work when I get home. He still does better when I'm home, with some subjects.

    To do this, you need discipline and motivation. I use reward system, I don't punish or nag (not too much nagging, anyway). It's HIS work, but sometimes he needs to bounce ideas off me.

    If you have the opportunity and mainstream is a big headache, I would seriously consider this, if only to see how he goes and if it's a lot better.

    Th big argument the schools used on us to stop us - "what about his social interaction? Because he's autistic, he NEEDS to be with other kids, to learn appropriate social interaction."
    I told them, "APPROPRIATE - that is not what he's getting now. He is learning some very bad habits socially, and suffering. Even at school he's alone at playtime most of the time anyway. Autistic kids do not pick up social skills by osmosis, and he's actually not learning any positive social skills at school that he couldn't learn even better from home."

    What has happened socially - difficult child 3 comes shopping with me sometimes and interacts with members of the pubic, with shopkeepers. He observes how I interact and models his behaviour on me (instead of on the snot-nosed bullies who were getting a lot of enjoyment from his misery).
    difficult child 3 finishes his schoolwork which is also homework, with plenty of time to go visit friends nearby. When other kids are doing homework, difficult child 3 is ready to go out riding his bike.

    We're never going back - this is working for us!

  6. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I'm homeschooling my 13 yr old difficult child. It was just for this year as I really want to see if she can make it in a high school. There are plusses and minuses and everone needs to decide for themselves, but I have found many advantages to include getting to know her learning style first-hand. I no longer have to worry about the phone calls from school or the torture of the daily bus ride and teasing by the other kids. For me, I 've had good days and bad with difficult child, but the amount of stress eliminated by homeschooling has been a blessing.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    We decided this year to homeschool our difficult child (4th grade). Two years ago he was placed in a self-contained classroom for children with emotional and behavioral problems. His behaviors did not improve and his academics went downhill drastically. I am a teacher myself and I knew that he was slipping further and further away from grade level. There have been pros and cons.

    He has made huge academic growth.
    Distractions are limited.
    He can't escape work by throwing a fit and getting placed in the support room (this was his usual way to get out of work)
    I have been able to tailor assignments to meet his special needs
    Really easy to schedule dr. and counselor appts.
    I have been able to closely monitor his reaction to medication. changes
    No worrying about what trouble he's getting into or what mood he will be in when he gets off the bus

    24/7 difficult child duty, we are always together
    He misses the kids (even with extriccular activities like social skills and tae kwon do)
    Services like speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) are not provided to homeschool students in my state even if they are iep goals

    We are glad we decided to homeschool this year. We are deciding whether to continue next year. He would like to go back and we may send him on the contigency that his gets his work done and makes academic progress. If this does not happen, we will pull him again because I think he is at a critacal age for learning basic academic skills.

    Good luck in you decision!
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I homeschooled for several years. If you are going to do it, I would follow the model WyntersGrace outlined.

    As everyone said there are pros and cons. Overall, on any given day, if I had it to do over again, I would do it, or not. It just depends. My jury is still out.:sheepish:

    Good luck.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Another point on avoiding work - we found with difficult child 3 in mainstream, he was always getting out of work because he would be in the sick room, or sitting outside the principal's office, or he would just not do it and I wouldn't find out about it. By the next day the class would have moved on to a new topic and the old incomplete work was never dealt with. So he learnt that if he just put it off enough, he wouldn't have to deal with it. So especially with topics he's uncomfortable with, he still tries to stall, but he now realises that THIS work isn't going away.

    It's taken a while for this message to really sink in, but so far this year he's doing great, in terms of working well independently and just knuckling down and getting the work done.

  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    This is not going to be a simple answer...but I do have experience and its been on my mind.

    Ironically, I overheard a mental health professional say recently that moms should NOT homeschool their difficult children. In fact, it is the worst idea. in my humble opinion, I think it should be an idea used if all else fails and should be done temporarily. HOWEVER, I DID partially homeschool our daughter and it was a positive experience. AND I recall having her IQ tested at that time and that psychologist commented that it was a "brilliant idea." (Sorry for the brag). She went to her local public school for two classes in the morning. I picked her up at 11 a.m. and we did the remaining classes at home. We did this for two years. One of the classes she did at the school was math. It allowed me to easily get a really top notch math tutor (retired) early afternoons.

    She was able to interact socially with her peers, was not overly stressed in those two classes, had plenty of time for homework and I worked hard on her remaining subjects. Academically and even socially it was excellent. Most school districts will allow homeschooling families to take two classes, but it isn't always easy to align them (beginning or end of day). I was lucky, that I got their cooperation.

    The psychologist that I heard speak against homeschooling special needs children implied that they will AVOID learning how to behave appropriately in school and even if they are being radically difficult, LEARN is what they must do. To a certain extent I agree with her...although there are many PRACTICAL aspects at play here. I do think my partial homeschooling solution was a good one. After two positive years, we put her in a private school.

    I think partial homeschooling is something most folks don't think about and I know from experience can be beneficial. I also like WG's situation, especially if the child can do the majority of their work independentally and there are regular opportunities to socialize with peers (even if the child needs to do this at his or her own pace).
    (Sorry for such a long reply! :redface:)
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Nomad, you said, "The psychologist that I heard speak against homeschooling special needs children implied that they will AVOID learning how to behave appropriately in school and even if they are being radically difficult, LEARN is what they must do."

    One problem I have with this psychologist's statement is that it implies the special needs student is CAPABLE of learning how to interact appropriately, and that if removed this will feed a RELUCTANCE to learn to interact. This is not the case with difficult child 3, at least - first, he simply hasn't been capable, but he has very much wanted to learn to get on with other kids all the same. His desire to learn to get on has not diminished since beginning correspondence; in fact, he makes good use of every opportunity he does have, and in the smaller doses he now has, is doing much better.

    An argument to put before that psychologist - if the social problems at the mainstream school are age-related (such as a lot of bullying - I found that by senior high school, for example, there wasn't the same problem) then taking the special needs kid out of the loop for that period of time when they are most a target, did help. Also, when a special needs child is older they often have more skills to cope - certainly that is our experience. The bullying hasn't stopped with difficult child 3 at home, but his exposure to it is greatly reduced and at times when it isn't impacting his learning. And he IS coping with it in a much more mature way and thereby less of a target.

    Also, if you realise that the school environment is NOT a typical or normal environment and that nowhere else in life are you put with a group of other people the same age as you, with one more senior person in charge, then you can see that learning to fit in at school can be rendered entirely unnecessary, should you be choosing to never send the child back to a mainstream setting.

    However, if you intend only doing this for a short time then a child who is being home-schooled for social reasons or anxiety related to poor social skills, then some preparation for re-entering mainstream will need to take place.

    What finally convinced us of the speciousness of the "he needs to be in mainstream to learn appropriate social interaction" argument, was the writing of an Aspie teen called James Williams.

    It made perfect sense to me and was the final nail in the coffin of the arguments used by admin to block difficult child 3's application for correspondence study.

    Even if difficult child 3 goes to university, the classes (tutorials at least) will be much smaller and there is far more support available. The maturity and age range of students is far broader and he would be much safer than in the playground of his mainstream primary (elementary) school. By then he will be better able to cope as he is constantly getting more self-control of his Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), distractibility and anxiety issues. His social education is now much better directed and giving us much more positive improvement. In general, he is learning appropriate social interaction from adult models; and since we're not letting him back into a mainstream education setting until he is an adult, we feel this is appropriate for him.

    I was a child in an adult family. We did a lot together as a family and as a result, I blended in with adults rather than children. I had social problems as a child mostly because I was unused to 'getting on' with other kids. One of my sisters had similar problems. But as adults - neither of us have any trouble at all. And we are spending a lot more of our lives as adults, than as children.

    I just figure - we skipped a stage, that's all.