We have not been home educating long, Adam our 13 year old since March and Toby & Elliot since August 2019. We made the decision to home ed all three boys after seeing the massive difference it had made to Adam.
Here is our story first….
Adam was always a high achiever, 100% attendance from year 3 to year 6. He would come home every week with awards in various subjects. Soon to follow in his footsteps was Toby, however Toby battles with Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourettes Syndrome and Hypermobility Syndrome. Although Toby liked learning, he always hated going to school and would prefer to read or self teach.
Teachers would ignore the fact that Toby was different and would need extra support. He even got a telling off for hiding under the table when he had a sensory overload. The amount of times we went into school to speak to staff was getting out of hand. What really threw me over the edge was the Headteacher at the school they were in in England, spurted out “If I can do my job with my bad legs then he can do his”. Come on! Totally different circumstances.
It was then Elliot’s turn to enter Nursery, he absolutely hated it. Elliot is also like Toby, he has Sensory Processing Disorder which is different to Toby’s. Elliot HATES socks and I mean HATES them, really doesn’t like wearing anything on his top half and likes loudness and needs to be talking or making a noise of some weird but wonderful kind.
Anyways, skip forward to 2016, Craig and I talked about moving to Scotland, which is something that we had spoken about for a few years and never got round to doing. When we were looking into every aspect of living in Scotland, it was great! The schooling system seemed much better suited to our needs and that is what pushed us to do it. We moved in October 2016.
Lots of things were changing, the one I didn’t like was Adam starting High School. How in the heck did that happen? We were not worried about his performance in High School or fitting in because he has always got along with others really well. BUT this all changed.
Every day he was coming home upset, angry, telling us he never wants to go back to that school. This was not the Adam we knew.
Honestly we put it down to his hormones at first. Then when we started looking into it further it turned out to be a teacher who had taken a disliking to him and was making his life hell. After that he started getting bullied by a child who would constantly get away with it because his parent worked in the school. The final straw was a video that was posted online, it was Adam and another pupil fighting.
And that is where our home educating fun started.
We started to look into different styles of home educating and settled on semi autonomous. Adam quickly went back to himself, the one who loved learning and wanted to achieve those goals he set.
Toby & Elliot were still in Primary school and, as far as we were concerned, happy. They had friends and were doing ok in school. But we noticed small things at first that set us thinking about home educating them too. We have always had the same answer to what did you do today question. “I don’t know” or “Can’t Remember”. Elliot had issues reading and writing and was not getting the support he needed at school, Toby had become the one hating school everyday due to more staff changes which was becoming a regular occurrence. Home Educating was the answer for us.
We made the final decision close to when they were finishing school for the year so we sent in the letters and everything else the local authority wanted. We bought a caravan and converted that into a classroom. Bought tons of books and supplies and we were definitely going on this journey.
Semi Autonomous means that we have some rules and structure but not too many. We do Maths and English and some kind of science most days and they read everyday anyway, so I don’t need to “make” them do that. But we have given them the say in what they would like to learn about, explore their interests in more depth. The difference in all three has been amazing. We have three very happy willing to learn boys who are loving their new style of normal.
“Shouldn’t they be in school?”
The question that we have heard the most so far is, shouldn’t they be in school? Why? Why should it bother anyone else? It is always in educational places that we get these questions and we even got questioned in a place where the owner actually home educated all 15 of his children, very successfully!
No, my children should not be sent out of the house in the early hours to go and sit behind a desk for 6 hours learning absolutely nothing. Be forced into games with kids their own age, have 20 minutes to eat lunch that the school have to approve. Forced into socialising with children the same age instead of a mix. When you go to school do you remember the teacher telling you to be quiet because your not at school to socialise.
My children have learned more these last few months than they have the last few years in school and can actually recall what they have learned, days or even weeks later, never mind later the same day.
They are not missing out on those milestones. Milestones that are set for everyone instead of the individual.
My teenager was let down by people that were supposed to be looking out for him, setting him up ready for his adult life. Instead they called him a liar.
I don’t want my children being thrown into a system that is already struggling. I want my children to firstly be happy and mentally healthy and secondly I want them to achieve their own dreams and goals no matter what they might be.
The boys have gained friends and have gained more confidence in themselves since they left school. They go to regular clubs, home ed meets, where they socialise with a mix of different ages and enjoy their own and each others company. Not only are they learning and enjoying themselves, but another benefit is that we as parents are learning too. We are not qualified teachers, so we find ourselves doing a lot of research on the subjects we are covering.
Home educating is the choice that we have made, so far it has been the right choice.