We actually decided to homeschool “Buddy” long before we knew that he had Asperger’s Syndrome or any form of special need. Our daughter (who is twelve and a half years older than Buddy) was in public at the time. Even though we were fortunate to be in one of the better school zones, we could see how it was definitely a more troublesome environment than when we were in school and it was only getting worse.
We could already tell that Buddy is a bit stubborn, extremely talkative, and never likes to sit still. My mother-in-love had told me about how similar he was to my hubby and about all of the trouble they had as he was going through public school.
My hubby was always getting into trouble for talking in class when he was done with his work, fidgeting when bored, looking out the window and/or daydreaming instead of listening when he grasped the concept quicker than the other students, and resisting doing repetitive work that he already understood. Because of these behaviors, he was continually tested for ADHD throughout the years. There were a couple of years that he was actually tested more than once. He never tested positive for ADHD, because he did not have it. It sounds like his teachers really wanted him to be diagnosed and then handled accordingly.
My mother-in-love (even though she worked full-time out of the home as a nurse in delivery rooms) had to spend a lot of days in the classroom throughout the years in order to keep him on task until he finished all of the school work required and then occupied with additional seat work until the rest of the class was ready to continue.
Although my hubby is extremely intelligent, he hated school so much that he did not even attend his high school graduation ceremony. It is a shame that he hated school so much that he only got his high school diploma. He truly thrives when he studies for courses or trainings. He grasps all of the concepts quickly, thoroughly, and almost always gets 100%. We did not want Buddy to have the same experiences with public school.
ADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING OUR SPECIAL SON… AS WE SEE IT
- We believe that if we can keep Buddy from hating school, so that he can learn to his fullest… we will have succeeded tremendously. This objective has been our main reason for homeschooling him, but there are also several more.
- We can go at the proper pace for our child. He is more advanced than his age level in a few subjects, but slightly behind in math. That is ok in homeschooling. While we are working to improve his math skills and get him more caught up, he can easily move ahead in the other subjects. There have also been some times throughout the years when Buddy had been stuck at a certain point and then all of a sudden it clicked. We were then able to pick up the pace and accomplish quite a bit in a short period of time. This is very difficult to accommodate in a group setting.
- Buddy is often hyper-focused (as are many children who have Aspergers, ADHD, and some other diagnoses). Hyper-focusing is much easier to incorporate into one-on-one learning and used in a positive way.
- We can encourage his creativity and individuality. For example: He hates coloring in pictures he has not drawn himself. This is often seen as being stubborn and defiant, but in reality it should not cause a problem. He would much rather draw his own map (for example) and then color that in. In our homeschool… we can do that. He is actually learning more by taking the time to draw his own.
- We are in control of what our child learns when it comes to values, morals, politics, and controversial issues.
- We can organize our homeschool around his personal learning style and favorite ways of learning. These can even include things like making worksheets into funny games, listening to a read aloud while building something related with Legos, laying on the floor with his dog and his feet in the air, etc.
- We enjoy learning as a family via road trips, studying something new just because, and often while acting goofy and at high volumes 😉
- We know of several individuals who graduated from our local school system with good grades who still had to take remedial classes in math and composition before they could take any other classes in the local community college. That is totally inadequate.
- We do not have pressure from teachers and/or a school to medicate our son.
- We can keep bullying down and when it does happen, we can be right there to teach him how to respond/deal with it and step in when necessary. Buddy is quite tall for his age, just like we were in our childhoods. When you add in the fact that he is socially delayed about two years (part of his Asperger’s), he appears to be acting four or five years younger than he “should” be. He is currently twelve years old, but he looks about fourteen or fifteen and acts about ten. We did not want him bullied like we were in school. Buddy is extremely sensitive, too. Some people believe that those on the Autism Spectrum always have trouble with feeling emotions. That is not always true. In Buddy’s case, he is overly sensitive and then has a lot of trouble understanding why people can be mean and not always be his best friend. We have had a lot of issues with Buddy being bullied at parks, events, and even with some of our fellow homeschoolers, but he is definitely bullied much less than if he was in public school.