Neurodivergence · Radical Unschooling

Not Again!?!?

I feel like I have written and re-written this post in different deviations for years now. A dozen or more times. Like some broken record, repeating the same lyrics over and over again.

But there is a reason. Actually there are many reasons. #1 among them…

People need to hear it.

So yet again I am going to tell ya’ll WHY I am so glad that we home educate PanKwake.

Schools CANNOT provide the individual education that every child deserves, but some children NEED.

I am sorry to burst some bubbles out there. I can hear them popping now…

  • That’s not right/fair.
  • Every child deserves an education.
  • The schools have an obligation.

Yes, they do. To society. To conformity. To the median.

This clip from Star Trek says it best…

Do you understand the history and root of PUBLIC/STATE schools? They were created to 1) provide FREE child care for factory workers and 2) train up the next generation of workers in the things that were important then like time keeping. doing what the boss told you, and enough reading and math to operate a machine. That is it. And here is the truth….over a hundred and fifty years later, they are still doing THAT job.

The problem is that the world in which we live has changed. It is more complex. The skills that are needed now is different. But schools have not changed with the times.

Now add to that recipe a child whose brain does not function the same. Someone who needs different methods to take in, process, and assimilate information. A system that is already sluggish, over-worked, and out-dated cannot handle this additional strain.

So what’s a parent to do?

Well, you can try fighting the system. Good luck with that one. I won’t and can’t comment further as that is not the route I took…or the one I believe in.

Or you can accept the full responsibility of educating your child, equipping her for ‘real’ life, and giving him a solid foundation for decision making. The truth is…that is your job anyway… YOUR RESPONSIBILITY…whether you send your child to school or home educate.

One thing I do like about the UK (England and Wales) is that it actually says just that…

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(2) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996

Mind you, if you go that first route of sending your child to school, I would not try to mentioning that one to the school…that you STILL have the responsibility for ensuring your child receive a SUITABLE education. They don’t particularly like being told how to do their jobs. Heck, they don’t even like being reminded that our home ed is not their business either. But I love the point of this law…

Education is the parent’s responsibility.

Not the local authority’s. Not the school’s. Not the teacher’s.

YOURS as a parent.

I accepted that responsibility almost six years ago…and have only looked back a couple of times. Yes, even I have considered putting PanKwake back in school once or twice. Know why I didn’t? Because…

1) I would require a signed legally binding document GUARANTEEING my child a bully free environment while in their care (know ANY schools that will do that?) and

2) I knew that schools COULD NOT educate her in the way she needed anyway. I recognized that basically they would be keeping with that original remit of providing me with free child care for a few hours each day. Heck, when we attempted to acquire a personal budget through the disabled children’s social work scheme, we were told basically the same…if you want respite, send PanKwake to school.

Rock Climbing Featured
Executive function i.e. planning and organizing in a practical, real world situation of rock climbing. That is RadiCool Unschooling at its best.

So for us, it was simpler and better just to home educate…give her that SUITABLE education at home…and keep her safe from bullies…than to delegate that job to a school without the resources to do so.

And that is also the bottom line, folks. Schools do NOT have the resources to provide a SUITABLE education under this law to any child…let alone a multiply neurodivergent one with Pathological Demand Avoidance (autism), epilepsy, dyspraxia, dyslexia and likely ADHD.

Look at that law again…closely this time…

(1) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(2) to any special educational needs he may have,

Schools are realistically only doing the first one these days…age appropriate (and trust me that is ALL they judge home ed on either). In a system where standardized rules, individual ability and aptitudes are not even accommodated for. Let alone…additional educational needs. Education in schools have become…one-size fits all…or no one.

So why my rant this time? A few things…

  • This article about what a teacher said on a five year old autistic child…”you’re going to have to grow up and do what you’re supposed to do in my school.” He only took his shoes off (sensory issues probably).
  • A tweet that said…”Parents tell me that the school wouldn’t have so much trouble if they just let him do what he wants. But schools can’t.”
  • This blog written by an #actuallyautistic person wishing she had been home educated.
  • And spending time with a child who is bullied at school…which made me appreciate my choice to home educate.

The truth is that home educating…and specifically RadiCool Unschooling was the best thing I could have done for PanKwake’s PDA. More importantly…she thinks so too.

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