Should You Home-School Your AS Child?

In short, I am a proponent for home-schooling in certain situations. Home-schooling is a popular educational alternative for many families with children on the spectrum, especially if parents are tired of nagging school officials to accommodate their special needs child. However, there are some important issues to consider before making the decision to home-school. 

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  1. We were in the same boat last summer when we received the Asperger's dx. After much research and soul searching we decided to homeschool. It's been quite a journey. Our 8 yo was initially very excited and gobbled up his schoolwork. But, over time, he became more defiant regarding the material I felt we had to cover for 2nd grade. By the end of the year, he was no longer reading independently (as he did in public school) and he spent most of his day playing outside in our backyard. The best thing about hs is that his anxiety and depression has completely disappeared. His anxiety and depression was so severe in 1st grade that he would need to be medicated to continue in public school. Our son also did an excellent job on his 2nd grade CAT test, so at least I feel he is learning even if it is for only about 3 hours per day. As his parent and teacher, I do feel very burned out. This may be also due to caring for a 1 yo. For more support, we're going to try online public school for the coming year. I may also consider child care for part of the day for our youngest.

  2. I have 3 kids that I have been homeschooling for 6 years. It has been the best thing I have ever done for them. It's not sunshine and lollipops everyday. But, the good days outweigh the bad ones. And that helps me through the days when I feel frustration. It has allowed my kids to build confidence and learn in a more productive way.
    We are apart of a great local group and between that and separate interests of each child we have more Quality social opportunities then most public school kids.
    I have found if you homeschool for the right reasons you can have a positive experience. And there are sooooooo many homeschool programs, curriculum and study aids available that the opportunities are endless and the sky is the limit.

  3. I have two Aspie children, with a third that I know is also on the spectrum, but not officially diagnosed. We have loved our homeschooling adventure, although it has definitely not been easy. We take it day-by-day. We began as unschoolers, but have moved toward a boxed curriculum (Oak Meadow) for the past few years, when it became clear that we needed more of a guideline to follow.

  4. I have homeschooled my Aspie from day one and have never regretted it. He's 8th grade this year. It's not easy, but where else would I want him learning social skills?

  5. We home-schooled this year for the first time, and I am so glad we did. By the end of her last year in public school my Aspie daughter was waking up screaming several times a night, would cry - or more likely meltdown - nearly every morning before school, had horrid purple circles under her eyes, and was just so miserable. We were called by the school nearly every week to come take her home because her anxiety was making her physically ill, and she just couldn't manage in the chaotic class with 30 kids. Three weeks before school was due to go back in she started vomiting every time the subject of school came up. I couldn't justify sending her somewhere that made her so miserable and was very obviously not helping her. We chose an on-line school for this year (Centre for Learning at Home), and it has made such a difference. The anxiety is so much less. We are waking up with smiles and giggles instead of tears and vomiting. So many of her stims are reduced or just gone with the reduction of stress on her system. There are home-school groups that meet regularly for outings and field trips. Try a few out until you find one that fits. If something isn't working try something else. Do not keep flogging a dead horse just because it worked for so-and-so. The two best lessons I have learned this year are to not take anything personally, and to be flexible. If your child is fighting math tooth and nail, put it away for a week. Go to the zoo. Try again. Follow your gut; you know your children best and what will work for them, and you have a vested interest in them. Certainly much more than the over-worked flustered teacher with 29 other kids to manage. It has been a huge adjustment and way more work than I was expecting, but home-schooling is by far the best choice we have made for our family. It is not the right fit for everyone, but I certainly encourage anyone who is considering it to at least try for one year and then evaluate it. If it doesn't work it will not be the end of the world to miss one year of public school. If nothing else you will gain perspective, and an appreciation for how hard teachers work (they have up to 30 budding personalities to your one). It has been so worth it for us.

  6. Our homeschool adventure starts in a few weeks with my 9 year old Aspie. It is hard to put into words how it feels to know that I don't have to send him into a school that refused and is unable to accomodatehis needs. To know that he will not be bullied on a daily basis and can learn in a safe environment is already bringing us tremendous peace. Nice to hear from others traveling down the same road, it is encouraging.

  7. You will need to make sure they have plenty of social activities to practice their skills. Being out of mainstream school means no social skills past that they need at home with a family who understands them. They need to be social to learn social skills, get him into a club or sport, into a social skills group or something that will give him the practice he will need. Eventually he will need to have a job etc and will need these skills.
    13 hours ago via mobile · Like

  8. The home is the best way to learn social skills. Who said kids should only socialise with kids their own age. Home educated kids often have better social skills, and you can always go to home ed groups.

  9. i think it depends on your child i thought a lot about home schooling and opted to give school a chance and for my son it has been wonderful for him however i have a niece and she cant function at away school so i believe it is all about your childs needs

  10. We were forced to homeschool mid year of grade 5, after spending a lot of money on private schooling! You can be creative, we wrote a book "aspergers can be fun!" and we went on a world cruise, where there are not many children and you get to learn on both sea days and port days - a great experience and the easiest way to see the world. There are also many resources available and you can turn anything into a school excursion or learning. We have tried a public school for one term since then and it was a nightmare - back to home educating now in a different State, which poses it's own problems.(change) Your child's passion or obsession can also become a great learning tool. Oh, we have our hard days with defiance and I need my sanity break which is going out for coffee! If only there were plenty of aspie schools but while there isn't, home educating seems to be the most effective. Good luck!

  11. We started homeschooling halfway through this school year, even though it has affected greatly my ability to focus on my career.... after dealing with the public school system meeting my HFA child's needs and after they cut regular communication (via the principal of the school stating it would be "limited") it's been the BIGGEST relief ever knowing he's in the right environment where he's not being bullied by kids, and within a system that it set up to fail him from the get go. He was in a classroom where he could never get "good behavior" points and a treat from the box every week like all of his classmates. The school would not change that policy or do anything different for him.
    We're never looking back. I'm a single, full time working, homeschooling parent and while my schedule is difficult, it's soo worth it!

  12. Homeschooling is worth it for an Aspie. Mine has 4 siblings to expose him to the real world and all those annoying people situations. He is also in turn exposed to the friends of his siblings. We attend a coop one day a week so he gets a "school" experience but in a much smaller setting with other Catholic homeschooled kids who are for the most part very kind. He is learning things like how to take tests/quizzes and work in groups on projects. He was not thrilled at first at the idea but he's doing great now and at least doesn't hate it ;-) As he goes through puberty now, he is agitated more easily and needs more structure and things to keep his mind active so that's a challenge since he doesn't really like to read and when we find him a book he likes he devours it! Volunteering is also an awesome thing to do with him, and he goes to a religious education class. I think it gives him confidence knowing he can get along just fine for small periods of time. I work from home and my husband works so we can afford for me to stay home with the kids. It's the best decision we ever made. As for his future, you can't assume your Aspie will work in a regular job, go to a regular college. They could do online college and work from home. So many opportunities these days so think outside that boring box!