When your child has learning or behavioural difficulties, home schooling can provide the opportunity these special children need to learn the skills to live a productive life. As a mother and stepmother I have had four of my six children home schooled at different stages of their lives. Because each case was different I have briefly outlined them below.
In the first instance my stepson Ian started fighting at school when he was twelve years old. By the time he had reached the age of fourteen he was not learning anything and teachers at the school were at a loss to know how to cope with him. At that time my husband and I decided on the home school option, initially just to keep Ian from getting into further trouble. To our surprise though, we noticed that in a one-on-one environment Ian responded well in literacy, mathematics and practical science topics. Another bonus for Ian through the home school option was that he could spend afternoons with his father learning practical skills in mechanics and similar topics, which eventually led to him finding full time employment.
My second child, Peter, has Asperger’s Syndrome. Although he coped well with school during his early years, once he reached high school level he found the demands put on him too much to the point where his grades were slipping badly. By putting him on a home school program he could take more time to finish the work expected of him and his grades and self-esteem quickly soared again. Like his stepbrother Peter is also now gainfully employed and is doing well.
My third son, Thomas was a fighter like Ian. He had been subject to a lot of abuse from my ex-husband as a young child and this manifested itself in periods of anger during his teen years. An anger he did not understand or know how to control. By putting him on a home school program we were able to provide him with the knowledge and skills he needs to work and live as an adult, and like Ian, provide him with practical skills that he could use to get a trade as he gets older.
Finally my youngest stepdaughter, Chey, has ADD. We found that she was not learning at school because she was not able to focus on what she was doing. Because she had missed out on some essential learning skills as a youngster we home schooled her for 18 months until she learnt the basic skills she needed to cope in a mainstream classroom. She has now been back at school for the past two semesters and is doing really well considering her condition.
The main point I would most like to make to parents considering home schooling is that it does not have to be a full time, long-term thing. We appreciate the values children can learn at school and how important it is for children to learn to respect the authority of the teachers, work as part of a team and adhere to a regular schedule. What we found though is there are some things that schools do not have the resources to cope with, and so at different times we have found it necessary to meet that need at home. To us the results speak for themselves.
For further information about any of the issues discussed above please visit the following sites:
Asperger Syndrome Understanding the Student with Asperger’s Syndrome http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/Asperger/Karen_Williams_guidelines.html
Anger Management in Teenagers Anger Management techniques for teenagers http://www.iser.com/resources/anger-management.html
Attention Deficit Disorder Alternatives in educating the ADD child http://www.borntoexplore.org/addsvs.htm