Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Home Education: Williams Progress

I’m really proud of Will and how well he is doing in his schooling. 

Looking back it hasn’t always been easy to educate him at home. 

6 years ago we took Will out of school and started our Home Ed journey. 

Before he joined school he was a happy child. There were no concerns and educationally he was bright; in fact, his teacher placed him in the top ability group in the class. 

However, William didn't take to school. A whole academic year passed and everything had changed.

He had made no progress academically in that year and was subsequently near the bottom of the class. We could see he had signs for ASD but the school wouldn’t listen.

So we decided to home educate and get that diagnosis ourselves. 

5 long years later, we finally got the diagnosis we suspected; High Functioning ASD, Hypermobility, behavioural difficulties as well as learning difficulties; especially showing educational barriers within Maths.

With these diagnoses it helped explain why Will was behind for his age in certain lessons, sub-topics and skills. Despite this the Paediatrician was being positive. 

He said "Home educating William was the best thing you could do. We gave him a tailor made education in a 1:1 set up which a school wouldn't have been able to do for a long time. The gap in getting William the help he would need would subsequently have been made larger in a school setting; something that home education corrected”.

This was and still is a comfort but it doesn’t help Will with the actual work.

Will started the Year 7 term this week and would, if it was not for home educating, have started secondary school. 

However, ability wise he is still struggling. 

Will can write now with joined up handwriting if he needs to. However, due to his Hypermobility, and despite his exercises, his hands hurt. Subsequently Will has handwriting close to what a Year 1 would have and when it comes to spellings he still depends on basic phonics.

In addition to this, he still writes some letters and numbers back to front. 

Mathematically Will can recall several types of sub – topics but with others he just can’t process the functions. 

This has been the case for the last 6 years. 

As a primary school teacher I’ve had access to all the work and teaching sites available. 

In that time I have tried absolutely everything to help Will in these areas and there are still educational gaps. 

The Paediatrician said “when it comes to these areas there is a possibility that due to his multiple additional needs he may always have these difficulties”.

He then praised Will’s education once again, “If we look past these gaps in understanding the fact that he is above or level with his peers within other sub topics and subjects it is incredible". 

Since that appointment we've spent extra lesson covering a lot of areas he struggled with. Sometimes he would flourish and thrive and others, well they were a bit frustrating.

Then lockdown happened and the Home Educated child was here setting an example to the other 3 children what Home Education was like. Yet, it hit him a bit.

He started seeing "his ability" and the issues his additional needs highlighted in comparison to Arty and James. 

At the time we could see the frustration on him but we didn't draw any attention to it. Instead of digging in and denying he pushed to improve and thrive.

He sat and watched the way that Arty and James moved their pencils, how they presented their work and how they take each lesson on. 

He wanted to “compete". He was clearly holding his own when it came to comprehension, grammar and retaining methods. In numeracy he was showing his speed in calculations, able to identify and understand patterns and sequences with work and just some understanding on topics that he had done where they hadn’t. 

In all of the other subjects he showed his understanding and pre-existing knowledge. 

In the weak spots mentioned above he kept his head down and worked hard to catch up and not allow it to knock him back.

With the other 3 children now back at school and Will returning to solo learning I thought he would struggle with the change, that he would lose his focus he had gained during lockdown and back down from pushing to be more. Worst case, I thought he would relax and relapse a bit. 

5 days into the new home educating school term and he's carrying on with that positive attitude. 

He's working incredibly hard to work, learn and grow with no pressure from us. Seeing his progress and attitude makes my heart burst with pride. 

He is still doing some of those common mistakes but he isn’t stressing about it. Instead, he’s getting a rubber and correcting those mistakes. 

It might not be 100% perfect in every aspect but it’s far better than it was this time last year. 

Hopefully with the right help here and the right help once he does go to school again the Paediatrician won’t be correct and those problems will go or Will would at least have found a way to work with them. 

No comments: