I have just rung the ministry for the application form for exemption for my 8 year old son. I imagine I will requesting input on completing this form to ensure that I provide all the information needed. Hope it's not too daunting.
Hi Natalie, well it's been a journey that I have tried to negotiate through the state school system and it just doesn't work. My lad is profoundly visual spatial and doesn't do well within the auditory-sequential world. He is not achieving well and finds social relationships challenging. When he started school I got 'behaviour behaviour behaviour' and was told he was developmentally delayed - if another educator tells me he is autistic I will scream - I had him assessed and that is where he was identified as falling within the top 5% and for perceptual and processing speed he fell at the 99.6th percentile. However the school was unimpressed and went back to 'behaviour behaviour behaviour' in the end I followed the advice of the educaitonal psycholgoist who had assessed him and did a 'schoolectomy' and placed him at another school. This has not resolved the issue and though they have more thematic opportunities he doesn't seem to be dong well and indeed his 'space cadet' moments as I refer to them are increasing. I am now in the fortunate position of being financially able to reduce work to teach him and I plan to give it a year and see whether there is any difference both academically and socially. I have resisted homeschool because of the anxiety of social isoaltion, however being in a large school has not guaranteed anything except there are more children who don't get him. The homeschool networks offer lots of social opportunities and we will also keep up the out of school clubs e.g., scouts as well. this has been a long time coming and I just feel it is the right thing for my son, I think as parents we just 'know' what fits with them, and I have tried to fit my son into a system that isn't working. Hope that made sense and isn't too waffly as you could probably tell I remain anxious that I am making the right decision, only time will tell.
We homeschool our nearly 8 year old very VS son who has a big discrepencacy with this auditory sequential skills. And we've had the 'autistic' line too. He's never been to school, and it may or may not be of interest to you, but by being able to develop at his own rate, his social skills, auditory skills, motor skills etc etc are all catching up, infact for him from 7 1/2 we started to see huge huge differences. When I read your description of your experience, I can easily imagine that that's where we'd have been if he'd had gone to school. And it's lovely watching him shine.
So I write this, really to say and there's someone else out there who homeschools with a similar sounding child who it's worked really well for.
All the best.
Anon, thankyou for your response, it reassures me that we are on the right track. He has come home from school today and the bullying has now become physical, the sooner I get him out the better, he is a gentle soul who accepts all for who they are and justs enjoys life and doesn't need to be hit by his classmates. Unfortunately it appears that the daily messages I leave in his lunchbox have left him open to ridicule and victimisation by others, though he still wants the notes to continue. Best get started on the exemption application.
We have just started to home school our son who has just turned 8 yrs. Our son is extremely visual spatial with a 'very superior' perceptual reasoning score but alongside that a very 'average' auditory sequential score. He was so bored in yr 2, yr 3 was better but he was so frustrated at the pace of lessons and in the end just disengaged and became quite naughty. We had a very sad and troubled boy on our hands and the next step was to seek counseling.
I just couldn't put him back into school this year after a conversation we had in the car when he asked how many more years he had of school, after my reply '10yrs' I just saw his face drop and he looked at me with sheer desperation in his eyes.
We have been home schooling for nearly a term and the change in him is nothing short of amazing. Now he can gallop ahead in Maths which he loves and study topics of interest but the most important change of all is that now we have a truly calm, happy, relaxed boy. So many neighbours, friends and coaches have made positive comments and most don't know we are home schooling. I do put it down largely to an increase in self esteem, he really didn't think very highly of himself at school but now he likes himself and it shows!
I feel that gifted VSL are just not catered for at school and why does GATES always focus on literacy?
Good luck and if you'd like to see a copy of our exemption form for the ministry that went through very quickly I'll email it to you for a reference.
Well, we've been HSing for a term now. I think that for a while I'll be continually reassessing what we're doing, tweaking it here and there trying to get it right for us all. Although I don't want it to be a school away from school, I do feel the need to teach the basics in phonics, spelling and maths. However I also want the kids to have the chance to choose their direction and interests. I realise that it takes time for the children to 'get over' school and relax. Although J was only in school for 6 mths, C was there for 2 1/2 years. I certainly don't regret the decision - far from it! I enjoy being with my children and often they astound me with what they come up with. C has started to take the initiative in her learning and has asked about learning about France. Her ideas include building the Eiffel tower out of ice-block sticks; cooking french food; speaking and writing French; dressing like a French person and learning French dancing! I guess it's just how I go about fitting it all in! I've also found that my daughter in particular LOVES history! Her reading is improving and I've noticed that as I haven't been forcing her to write, she is writing more and more often - lists and notes to me! Her spelling has also improved quite dramatically! Instead of just being given spelling lists, I've taught them phonics and blends etc as well as the rules that apply. A Step at a Time programme - developed by a lady who used to write frequently on this forum has definately been a huge help in that!
J on the other hand needs little 'teaching'. He tends to learn so well on his own! It amazes me that at almost 6, he'll sit down quite happily and read to himself! Quite the opposite from my LD daughter!
Both children are very VS, and so I'm using programmes that work best for visual kids, and are fun and interesting.
I feel very priviledged that I find myself in this position. A very steep learning curve - especially when learning patience!!
I am busy reading extensively on homeschooling (though wish I hadn't read about classical education as it made me feel totally inadequate.. until I picked up another book:-) )
My son expects to go to school so I will send him for awhile and see how he goes. He is already tuning out in the intro classes with the writing as he can do the basics so I am not sure what will happen. He has Aspergers so I feel eventually (within the year) he will be at home.
I suspect he is VS as well and although I will do a lot of unschooling, maths is an area I can see myself getting some help (for my own confidence) so am wondering what people here use? He struggles with 1+1 but can read numbers in the hundreds on letterboxes without being taught. I asked him 8/2 the other day and he blurted out 4... could be good guess. So, what I am saying is that I think he won't learn sequentially the 'order' schools recommend so I am not sure what to do.
I know I haven't started yet, but I do like to have it all in my head organised.... :-) So any thoughts appreciated.
I can highly reccommend 'Math U See' programme. It comes with dvd - where the lessons are taught by the man who developed the programme, workbook and teachers book.
You will need to purchase the manipulatives that go with the programme, but these are excellent for the children to hold and work with. Also helps them to visualise when calculating.
You can have a look at the programme at:
It can only be bought through Learnex Edcuational Services who coincidently are a fab HSing resource supplier who recently sponsored our national conference!
Also, a good book that I've just read (borrowed from a HSing friend) is;
Free Range Education. It's a compliation of about 20 different HSing families in the UK. How they came into it, how they are doing it and how it's worked out for them. Very interesting!
Congratulations on all those who've either just plunged in or are dipping their toes around the edge of the Home Education pool! Whether or not you choose to go ahead, at least you're considering options and hopefully thinking outside the squared education process most of us grew up in.
I don't have much time at all these days and, as I've 'aged' with homeschooling, I admit to being somewhat intolerant of misguided, uninformed misconceptions such as socialisation, qualifications, etc. That's not at all a dig at newbies but a continued astonishment at how we, as adult products of an institution, can continue to be fearful of allowing our kids to be just that ... kids! What is socialisation? To me it means an ability to communicate and relate to people from many walks of life. To me that means not limiting my child's exposure to his age peers. To me, home ed is a preferred route to a great social life ... in the true sense. Homeschoolers liaise physically and over the internet quite easily. If there's no group or trip or activity you need or think you need... make one! You'll be surprised to find that you actually have freedom - especially timewise. That in itself can be scary, I guess. R-E-L-A-X - it's a marathon not a race!
I have to say that, in my years of homeschooling, I've find a higher incidence of gifted children and adults in the home ed community than in the general population. However, in that community, it almost become irrelevant because, in the main, you're not having to fight some bureaucrat, or principal or teacher or system. There's no need to say, "My child's gifted" ... it's very obvious from my dealings that they're all around us!
Sure, there may not be as much access to the some things - no utopia here - but you are much more free to explore and make decisions on what's right for you and yours.
This forum isn't the place to deepen your home education (aka homeschooling) understanding. Google search 'homeschool' plus your location and see what you come up with. Try www.nchenz.org.nz for nationwide info. If you're in Auckland, there's Auckland Home Educators Inc at www.home-education.org.nz (for which I do info sessions for prospective home eders when I have time). Other centres have regional groups. It's almost a right of passage to find some smaller groups in some areas. Librarians often know of homeschooling families, too, since they are high users of public libraries.
There's heaps of info on the web but try not to get bogged down or daunted by it (someone mentioned about the classical approach). There are various approaches but the reality is that many families mix and match according to learning styles, family situations, etc. Tailor it to what's comfy for you.
Your search will will culminate in you moving towards a vibrant community of passionate people. It is not, however, for others to walk in your shoes so please don't expect them to have all the answers; each child's and family's journey is entirely different and often solutions are moving targets. It's not a journey I would recommend walking alone but rather to enjoy the company of at least a few close others, and more wider acquaintances and contacts, not having reliance on their presence for you/you children to manage.
What I'm trying to say (though not very well) is that you take (back) responsibility for your family by choosing to home ed. Education in the conventional 'school' sense is only a part. Life education is in the much wider sense of character building, responsiblity taking, caring about others, real-life application, etc, - aspects that you'll have time to 'practise' and instil outside convention.
Reading about how compulsory education started is of interest to some homeschoolers and can certainly lead to some 'Aha' moments. 'Dumbing Us Down' by John Taylor Gatto is a good example of questioning the current system. (If you're already struggling with getting to grips with day-to-day stuff, I wouldn't recommend launching into this area just yet! lol)
School-at-home was never my thing, opting instead for natural learning (essentially for me, using any and all teachable moments all the time, learning from real life, endless discussions and debates, etc, etc). I could not recommend any form of programme for a 5-year-old ... don't believe in it, I'm afraid.
The very best advice I can give is to R-E-L-A-X and L-I-V-E!
LOL about "Dumbing me down" . That is the one I have started and it is funny as I am a secondary teacher but I feel myself totally agreeing and getting more and more committed to the idea. I can see I am not into the classical approach although there are some good ideas which I noted.
Thanks for the recommendation on MathUSee. I have had a look at it online and I think it may be useful. My son is doing some maths work in his aba therapy (for his aspergers) and he really enjoys using cuisenaire rods, so I would certainly put this to the top of my list at the moment.
I find that anyone I test the idea out AUTOMATICALLY go on about socialisation and I am SOOOOOOOOO tired of it and having to justify it. Having watched teenagers socialisation whilst teaching, I don't see any advantage of sending my asperger son to school so he can better socialise- in fact the idea leaves me cold for secondary level!
In the term and a bit that we've been HSing my kids have met more families - adults and children of all ages, than all the time they were at school. Plus they've been able to see how different families work, different sizes, attitudes etc.
We've been on trips with different ppl - some whom we've 'clicked' with and some that we haven't. However isn't this how ppl learn tolerance?
We've met some fantastic families and as they must all at least be 'thinking' families for the mere reason that they are HSing, we usually find a reasonable amount in common. I love HSing - this week has been the best because I have relaxed. We aim to get certain things done, but if we don't oh well, we miss it for the day. The kids are learning so quickly and we're able to cover subjects that they LOVE! We started creating 'travel journals' today. They spent time making special coverings for the books. In these we're going to find postcards, pictures, stamps etc to put in as we 'travel' different countries around the world. We'll write stories, take photos of dress-ups, dancing and the food that we'll cook. We'll learn new languages and compare them to English, write down various words and illustrate etc.
There is soooo much you can do - you really are only limited by your imagination. And if that isn't much, there are stacks of books out there that will help give ideas!
I have read all your comments with interest as we are homeschoolers too (unschoolers) :)
It doesn't matter where you go people feel compelled to raise the issue of socialisation (like you haven't considered it already).
Rachel I understand how you grow sick of hearing it. You'll find eventually you will reach the stage where you no longer justify your families decision to homeschool. Afterall, you don't ask people you meet who send their children to school to justify that decision do you? (in saying that I've found that doing that works wonders in some instances). I too do not believe that socialisation is putting all the kids together in age groups. It's about meeting and interacting with all ages, all walks of life.
Dawn, I totally agree with your final comment about Relax and Live. Couldn't have said it better :)
I have heard from a parent recently of a child with Aspergers who found the local 'large' secondary school so 'not right' for her son, that she shifted him to Correspondence School and she has nothing but praise.
He has been moved along this year in maths so he will sit NCEA Level 1 a year early, and he now rarely needs the help of the tutor they first used with him when he started.