Why Home Education?

Page 2
You can find page 1 here.

sue's story

“E is partially sighted, dyspraxic and has Asperger’s syndrome. We decided to educate E at home after he was turned down for a statement of special educational needs. Firstly, E’s behaviour improved. The child who had been withdrawn and “spaced out” at school reverted back to the little boy we had known pre-school – lively, enthusiastic and eager to learn. Subsequently, we began to see progress in his intellectual and physical development.

We have experienced numerous benefits in home educating E. We have found it easier to tailor his education to his needs. Whilst some would say E has specific learning difficulties, I prefer to view them as specific teaching difficulties. E has few problems learning, given access to appropriate resources, a healthy smattering of interesting opportunities in the real world, and the option of retreating to somewhere quiet when needed. I see myself more often as his facilitator rather than his teacher. Although he does sometimes ask me to teach him something very specific, usually he find things out for himself and ask me questions when he gets stuck or does not understand something. He has problems with social skills and I can act as his interpreter when his communication skills let him down. Whilst his lack of co-ordination is cause for immense frustration at times, he has the opportunity to practise important life skills when it suits him. In the meantime, we develop alternative strategies to deal with everyday situations and this improves his independence. I am there as a playmate and companion rather than as an instructor.

E makes great use of the computer and the television. (Both of the large screen variety!) The computer gives him access to a wide range of experiences through CD-Roms, the Internet and email. In addition to conventional programming, television offers Ceefax, which E uses daily to keep up to date with news and sports results. These two devices give him access to written information in small chunks of large, clear print as well as useful graphical illustrations and video clips. Carefully chosen books, audio and video tapes are also used frequently. E enjoys board games and card games and these have helped him with maths, history, geography, science, problem solving and social skills. Physically, he has been able to enjoy several years of intensive occupational therapy and is now able to play cricket at a competitive level for a local disabled side.

Personally, I welcome the opportunity that home education gives me for nurturing the whole child. It has given me the time to attend to E’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs as well as the academic. We have found it much easier to deal with hospital appointments and therapy sessions since taking E out of school. He no longer misses out on other things because he has had to attend to his health needs. We can easily organise E’s days and weeks to accommodate his lack of stamina and frequent need for rest, food, drink and toilet breaks. We avoid organising consecutive busy days and frequently have “chill out “ days too, otherwise life has a tendency to overwhelm him. Whilst we attend small social gatherings, including those organised by the local home education support group, we avoid crowds and areas of high stimulation, such as shopping centres at weekends. For E, home education has given him, with support, the kind of control over his own life, the independence and self-respect that he would like to enjoy through adulthood.”

ann's story

“I'm not officially Home Educating yet as my eldest is only 3.5 but I'm open about our HE status. One of the main reactions I get is, ' how can you be bothered when the schools will do it for you and you can have your time back and work?' I think this is so sad.... Being with my girls is the biggest joy in the world and though I get nervous at times, I feel very positive about HE. My nerves aren't about HE working they are just about the enormous but fabulous responsibility to get it right for both their very different neeeds.

Every time I get a positive response, my heart lifts and I smile for hours. My little one is autistic.”

paula's story

“Why I home educate.

C has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome and has always been very clingy towards me (his Mother) he feels very insecure when separated from me so this separation has to be done very gently & slowly in order to increase his confidence.

He spent one term at a mainstream school who rushed this separation far too quickly, they just didn't seem to understand that it would take him longer to be happy to stay at school full time than the other children. Eventually he became school phobic and after a few months of being 'out of school' he started at a special school. I expected this school to understand him far more than the mainstream school did but I was wrong. They were even more pressuring, even more rigid. I witnessed verbal and physical abuse towards the SEN children during the five days I spent sitting in the staffroom of this school.

The Local Education Authority refused to consider another placement and this is when I started to look into home education via the internet.

If I'd known earlier what I know now I never would have sent him to school in the first place. C has taken to home education as if it were made for him. Friends & family are amazed at the things he has learnt and at his level of interest and motivation towards education. His confidence has increased along with his knowledge and he is a very happy little boy. Deciding to home educate C was the best decision I ever made. Four weeks after I started to home educate C, his elder brother, O, who is now eight years old, pleaded with me to educate him at home as well. He had been unhappy and lonely at school. He is a sensitive boy and takes regular ballet lessons which he is very good at, this had resulted in him being teased and subsequently his confidence and love of learning was overshadowed by worry and stress. He loves being educated at home and I am surprised at how much he has learnt especially as we do very little in the way of formal lessons. His knowledge of most subjects supersedes that of his peers as he studies everything with far more intensity and enjoyment than he ever did when he was at school.

I truly believe my children are receiving a far better education than they ever could at school as they are now free to study the subjects that interest them and they enjoy their life and their studies without pressure. They can also eat when they are hungry and go to the toilet when they feel like it!

If I had to make this decision all over again regarding their education, it would be the same one.”

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