Friday, 4 September 2015

What shall we learn this year?

So often in the home educating community I hear parents (particularly those new to home educating) worrying that they don't know what to'teach' their children or where to find resources.They don't want to fail their children and worry when their children are unable to read or do maths . Nowhere is this more poignant where children have special needs.

The first thing I often point out to worried parents is whether the child would be learning those things at school? So many parents (like me) took their children out of school because it was failing them.The turning point for me was when I realised that when Google went into melt down when I tried to encourage him to do a simple sum and an hour later he was still sitting there vacantly looking at it ( or worse still, yelling and swearing at me and punching the furniture) was that he would have been so much worse at school surrounded by noise and being told off by teachers who thought he was doing it deliberately.

Roll on  seven years and we no longer do formal maths or english, or anything formal at all for that matter and he's thriving.Google learns what he wants to learn and I don't know many school children his age who are clued up about the Syrian refugee crisis,the current austerity measures and their impact on society in Britain and who is capable of programming in C+ and doing higher maths when necessary.

Home education has you see, taught him to think for himself and know where to look when he wants to learn something . He uses You tube, Khan academy, Wikipedia, books, videos, DVD's and documentatries and to be honest, academic learning isn't a problem at all.

At an age when his twin sister will be focussing on her GCSE's this year we will be concentrating on what is really important in life.Things like being able to make yourself a simple meal ,being able to leave the house, thinking of ways in which we can build on his skills to create an independent income (because the way things are going he is unlikely to be able to rely on the state for support)- not that we want that, but unfortunately we have seen far too many autistic adults fall through the net as the powers that be don't recognise the extreme challenges  they face with changes of routine and  in Google's  case, lack of sleep.

One criticism of mainstream school is that it doesn't teach life skills.The same can't be said for home education.I just hope when it comes to it that my son is better prepared than many autistic teenagers when it gets to the stage of living in the big wide world.Only time will tell!


  1. Thanks so much for this post. My Aspie son is almost 13, and we have become more and more unschooling in our approach over the 3 and a half years or so that he's been out of school and, whilst I can see that he is learning, he continues to show very little interest in the stuff that society thinks he should be learning - like writing and maths! And life skills too, are an issue for him. So I can't help but wobble a bit. But posts like this reassure me that he still has time and will hopefully come to it when he is good and ready, so I will continue to support him as much as I possibly can. Thank you

  2. Only tonight Rachel we were saying to my son how his empathy any understanding of others feelings has grown I am sure it is because we have the time and space to help him develop these skills without the judgement and ridicule he would no doubt have received at school. I think things just take a little longer with our kids but if we have patience we often find that they can do the things we never thought they would achieve!