I sometimes forget that most of my readers want to know more about the writer. But I’m sorry to disappoint you – my life is very basic and that’s the way I like it as my past has been very dramatic to say the least – but that’s another story.
My life mainly revolves around my son. I’ve raised Charlie to be as “free-range” as possible, but he’s a struggling six year old and I’ve been winging it a lot. I then asked for help and support from his school, but as it happened, Charlie learned more effectively at home.
The problem is, a lot of schools struggle to source the constant one-to-one support a child like Charlie needs. The suspicion is he may be on the autistic spectrum, or have ADHD which means left unattended, Charlie will simply do what he wants. That said, getting answers for him has been an uphill struggle.
We put Charlie in the best school we could find for him. They assured us they had all the facilities and expertise to help him to flourish, but they completely failed him. Their “genius” idea in the end was to “flexi-school” Charlie – which equated to him spending the mornings in an office playing with toys and then being sent home to us at lunch time. Needless to say, most of the learning he got was when I took over.
We still don’t have the answers we need and Charlie was suffering for it in school. It absloutely broke my heart to see my child being made to feel the way he was by his school.
He missed out on learning and school trips and he barely saw any other kids due to his behaviour. If he could go on school trip I had to go and that was so uncool in his eyes, which of course made him play up. Oh and did I mention he is only six?
So I made the decision to take full control of his education and home school him.
It’s been one big challenge for me as I’m dyslexic. I plan to home school until either Charlie begins to struggle learning from me or he wants to go back to school. Now that could be next month, next year or longer.
It’s been nearly 6 months now since I’ve become his teacher. I think the first month I was mid-breakdown and praying for the clock to turn 7pm. It was full of stressful, hair ripping, losing the will to live kinda days.
The thought off having my only child around me eveyday was a beautiful picture at first. I also thought I would have the patience of a saint – it’s just like homeowrk right, but for longer?
Charlie’s attention-span is next to none existent and I found myself getting frustrated, wondering how he would know the answer to a question and yet within a minute claimed he had forgotten. I would have to chant to him to get him to remember the most basic bit of information.
I knew it could quite possibly turn into a full time job but I didn’t expect to lose my mind in the process.
And that was just the first week…
It very slowly got better. I found some sites online that have saved time in the evening for free print outs. I’m currently loving sparklebox
Also, there’s great advice out there from YouTubers who homeshcool as well. Besides this, I joined a Facebook group for parents in the area who homeschool their children too.
These resources gave me a number of diffrent approches to learning which helped me to understand better how to keep Charlie focused long enough for him to absorb information.
We’ve done lots of messy art, and cooking classes, and the good old science experiments and we’ve done our fair share of reading and work books too, as well as using a variety of educational apps and of course games.
We’ve had plenty of educational trips out too, as being at a table for the bulk of the day just doesn’t work for Charlie yet. Sitting still is something he finds very difficult and any opportunity he can find to throw himself about or jump on something, he takes without hesitation. So getting Charlie away from the classroom environment and into the world around him stimulates his sense of adventure, plus he can interact with things he may not get the opportunity to being stuck in a classroom all day.
He still gets to socialise with other children too. Charlie participates in swimming classes, rockclimbing and he even had his first sleep over not so long ago.
You see, the thing about Charlie, which is so typical of children on the autistic spectrum, is that he is extremely intelligent. His vocabulary is far more advanced than that of other children of his age and his natural curiosity has led him to become interested in things he will probably never get to learn about until high school, if he were to follow the curriculum. But being in control of Charlie’s education means I can teach him the things he finds interesting, keeping him motivated to learn for longer.
If you’re considering homeschooling your child, for whatever reason that may be, there will be hardships. I’ll admit, it’s very difficult sometimes for me to motivate myself to stick to a routine, but I always keep in mind what’s best for Charlie and the reason I took on this role in the first place – to see my son succeed.
Despite the hardships you’ll face though, you’ll get to be the one to actually share in all of your child’s achievements. You will be the one to watch them grow into an individual and when they go about their business, you can be the one to watch on with pride knowing your child has all the skills they need to thrive in life.