A beautiful delicate flower. Unfortunately it has decided to grow directly on the mad dogs preferred route to his watering zone. Given the unruly speed the four legged wrecking ball hurtles down this path it’s not the ideal environment for delicate beauty. Will it survive. Will it be crushed to a pulp. Who knows.

The new school year is looming. Will we start. Will we home educate. With all the emotions swirling around the house currently it’s not the easiest time to focus on crucial matters. But it’s decision time.

As our health service points out – The school system is failing our son. No additional support is provided in terms of his Aspergers. In terms of Dyslexia it’s the bare minimum. The assumption is that he can’t read, never will read and he will be shown how to use a reading pen for the final exams. Set low exam expectations and anything achieved is a bonus. Let’s be clear that’s not all the teachers. Some do see the potential. Unfortunately his biggest supporter has left this summer. It will be illuminating to see if the school move him up to higher sets this year. His effort, his behaviour, his results clearly highlight the correct answer. A number of teachers have also recommended that course of action. But kids with dyslexia are often just bottom classed.

Yet the evidence suggest that the school system is wrong. The Doctors continually state that it is far too early to give up on the reading. The work they do demonstrate much promise. A kid who has been written off now can read the subtitles which appear on movies. He can read text messages. Today he read a 2 line subtitle and only got one word wrong – minority. He’s achieved that progress without school help.

He needs a tailored approach to development. But to be fair the schools hands are tied by government policy and cutbacks. Tailored education does not happen unless you can afford to go private. Private like the entire Government has enjoyed. Home Education currently allows the parent to tailor the approach. You can develop an approach that best suits the individual. Unfortunately the government is keen to stop this as well.

The major obstacle to home education is having one parent. It’s trying to home educate and trying to bring in sufficient income at the same time. I just can’t make the numbers stack up. I just can’t find enough hours in the day (& night).

The bottom line is that I currently just can’t home educate and balance the books. Home education is the right option but it’s also currently an impractical one. So much frustration. If we still had two parents then it would be doable. It just feels like our son is being penalised again for something outside his control. That makes me angry. Very angry. What’s the line – you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Hopefully I don’t turn green. That anger fuels the desire to find a way. Our son deserves that. He deserves at the very least a parent who tries.

So in two weeks our son will return to school. Hopefully to a much improved education. But if it continues to fail then we will just have to find a way.

79 thoughts on “To be or not to be

  1. When I read of your heartbreaking challenges with your education “system”, which is replicated in nearly every education “system” everywhere, I mourn all that is lost. It’s not only parents, children, and families, it’s also all our societies. We’re not ensuring that every child – every single child – is prepared, encouraged, and supported in reaching his or her full potential. What can be more important?! You are so effective at articulating the frustrations and barriers. Are there any strong advocacy groups in Yorkshire? In the UK? Is there a research group or individual at York Uni or Leeds Uni that concentrates on these challenges?

    Liked by 8 people

  2. My God this breaks my heart. Is there not some kind of voluntary organisation to support special needs with children and this kind of stuff, it really is so so heartbreaking for your Gary. I wish I could offer something positive, I really do, your son is such brilliant kid its terrible if he is being failed in this way and its an added burden to deal with on your own. I wish I could offer more. Much love always ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  3. You do what you can with what you’ve got. The way things are with the Orange Idiot & his mini me Boris, there’s no expectation that help will be available. It’s not fair and it’s not right. With your love, patience and support you son will do just fine.
    Try not to beat yourself up dad. You’re giving him SO much, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Our three grandchildren were home schooled until the beginning of this year (when they were 12, 10 and 6). Our daughter’s decision to home school was based on the premise that the public school system is essentially a “one size fits all” where all children are expected to reach specific milestones at a specific age, but children best learn when they can set their own pace. Unfortunately circumstances have meant that it is no longer possible.

    Two examples:

    The oldest child was well behind her peers in reading ability age age 8. In fact she was no better that a typical 5 year old. But then she discovered the joy of reading. By the time she turned 9 she had the reading age of a 12 year old.

    The second child is still slightly behind his peers at reading, but this assessment is somewhat inaccurate. He taught himself to read and write Japanese before the age of six, and is able to read Japanese books designed for children his age and slightly older. He’s fascinated by mathematics and has a skill level of a second year high school student, and is bored silly at the level taught in class. I suspect his math skills are higher that his teacher, as apparently she is getting frustrated by the frequency at which he interrupts to correct her.

    He most likely has Asperger syndrome, and while our daughter has considered having him officially assessed, the advice she has received is not to, as in the education system each “disability” is evaluated separately, and none of them by themselves are at a level where assistance would be available. Besides, in an underfunded overworked environment that is called the public education system, the label itself would produce prejudice about his abilities, not to mention how he would be singled out for attention by his peers if they discovered his diagnosis.

    I don’t know how prevalent home schooling is in the UK. Here, there’s sufficient numbers for parents to form small groups to share in the task of schooling, so that the burden of supervision is not a daily necessity. In the case of our grandchildren, I undertook that task three days each week. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, at 70, I found it to be exhausting at times and am somewhat relieved that I am no longer burdened with the task. Now all I have to be is an after school babysitter 4 days a week.

    As an aside, we followed the philosophy of unschooling. In many ways it’s more difficult than a fixed curriculum because as a supervisor you need to be able to manage learning “on the fly”, but the enthusiasm engendered by the learners means that they’re always eager to discover more.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. As much as you might not be ready to hear this, your simplest solution is to find a live-in educator who is willing to work for room and board. This someone could be a mate, a housemate, or just a nice person (possibly self-sufficient) who wants to help out. The possibilities are many. But so are the potential problems. Leaving your son alone with someone you do not know well creates a need for mutual trust, and that is not always easy. In fact for this year it is probably impossible this close to the start of school. However, nothing us impossible, or you could aim for such a situation come next year.
    Or you could endeavour to search for an area that does well with children with Aspergers, Dyslexia, or both. Just thinking off the top of my head, I don’t think Canadian schools have much of a problem with Dyslexia, though not all areas are successful with Aspergers. You are probably not into a big move anyway, if you are into a move at all, but this is your son we are talking about, and sometimes that changes things.
    Anyways I would think this may need talking out with someone, professional or lay. Professionals can have great ideas, but they can also be blind to simple solutions. Lay people can come up with simple solutions, but in the long view may not see certain possible results. Some social workers are trained to look at both sides, but I find them few and far between (being a retired social worker myself). Shop around. Talk to people.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Being a single parent is not easy, specially when you know your priority… which is your child. You have to have “plenty of you” so you can work around to provide for you and him. I have to quit many things, and shifted to what I was used to, and have also opted for homeschooling for my child. But it didn’t work for me. Because, although my child is learning more in terms of academics from me, in his situation, social interaction helps him grow as a person. I wont be there for him forever and he will have to learn to interact eventually in his least ability but most possibilities. You have faith and a strong willed dad, there will be fruit for your hard work. I admire you.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Love the Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica) – the flowers may be fragile but the roots and seeds are hardy – the plant(s) will survive the Captain, i’m sure. 🙂

    Lots of good advice above!

    Maybe, for the time being, it’s best to treat ‘School’ as a socialising system and place where subject topics can be gleaned so as to allow you both to prepare for end of year exams. Then, in your after hours time together, focus on the learning he seems so good at!

    See if you can help him with the concept that it is not just the final result that is important, but being able to understand, identify and explain to others all the steps you took to reach the ‘final’ answer. The process of finding the ‘right’ solution is as important (if not more so) as the solution itself.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. A balance indeed, but don’t underestimate your lad’s brain. And always remember… having fun is the best way to learn! It is very possible to learn new lessons and be having fun at the same time, it’s not an either or proposition! 🙂

        Schools mostly don’t ‘get’ that, and it’s the kids who suffer for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I really feel for you being a single parent myself. Due to school refusal and increasingly aggressive and inappropriate ‘Inclusions’ strategies on the part of the school I was left with no choice but to home educate and had to sell my business and go on to benefits.

    It’s hard at times money wise and also being seen as someone who doesn’t work when at heart I am actually a workaholic and extremely driven. Seeing how my son has thrived though and feeling so much more confident about his future makes it all worth while.

    Is there anyway you can change direction with your work such as become self employed or go freelance? I am sure these are all things you have already thought of.

    Home education aside, have faith, children often learn despite their teacher and learning doesn’t have a cut off date at 16 or 18 or 21 like schools will have you believe. He has already learnt to read subtitles and he can always go back and improve his qualifications if he wants to.

    Two of the most brilliant minds I know and most successful people I meant in terms of their life dreams could not write a single world. One is an artist who exhibits at royal academy and sells his work for thousands and the other was a farmer who brought is farm outright in cash after making a small fortune from a small business he started at a young’s age.

    There are many, many paths to success for most people (doctors and lawyers excepted) it did not start with school qualifications. Happiness and good mental health are by far the best tools for success in my view.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That last line is so true. Part of my current job could be done alongside home schooling but the danger is both burn out and income dropping just too low. I’m convinced Home is the way to go in these circumstances but it’s the practicalities I just haven’t got my head round yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Get that completely and was the same, not sure if I’d of ever done it if I wasn’t forced into it by my son breaking down and no longer being able to attend. One thing I wil say though is the stress on reduced for both of us almost straight away once I deregistered and I had far more headspace than I did while he was at school because of the constant worry. I wish governments would look at the education system and make it a better place for all with sufficient funding so parents did not have to make these impossible choices.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So tough a situation. I feel for both of you. Wish I could do something to help. I can see how our dyslexic eight year old has benefitted from a specialist who was able to diagnose her reflexes and co-ordinations that need developing and prescribe the relevant exercises. And she is improving with her “extra school” with me one afternoon a week, boosting her confidence. If only something was available for you. Living in a rural area must be restricting your choices as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Oh my friend, you will find a way if you have to, you’re just hulking up to that right now. But I hope you don’t have to because I hope your son can be seen for the marvellous boy he so clearly is, intelligent, funny and all of this will work out for him and for you

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well.; I once said in a book, distance lends acceptance. And I think that is true. There’s things you think, now what? I can’t and all these etcetera etcetera thought but you work towards it even as you are going no no. Right now too you have a plan so you do that first knowing there’s a fall back option and you will find a way x

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh gosh. Most of “school time” is not learning time. I don’t know what your regulations are, but he knows so much already!! I know I could not do it even if I had the time, but maybe your expectations of homeschooling are higher than need be?? Just tossing this out without knowing much.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. So frustrating. I can feel your pain. My fingers are crossed that something different happens this school year for your son. You ARE doing your best – there may not be resources but your son has you and that says a lot.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Just reflecting…
        Lousy and as unfulfiling as school may be, it compels your son to be part of a community, it’s the real world where he cannot pick and choose where he wants to belong and what he can withdraw from. It’s far from pleasant but I think it offers valuable environmental conditioning.
        If you homeschool him, you will be doing much the same as you did during the summer hols – you’d be screening and selecting the environments and elements that you wish to expose him to.

        Maybe, just maybe, too much of that may not be such a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey lots of great ideas above. Athough of course only you know the way it is nice to have suggestions in case you hadn’t thought of them. The live in person is a great idea, I had only thought of teaming up with other home educators which I know I said before and isn’t your solution there or wasn’t at the time. Check out https://www.workaway.info/ we met lovely people travelling the world doing this, including teachers. Maybe you could find someone even just short term, it would also open up your lives a little as I know it’s been lonely for you. It’s your home so you set the style, and these people are adaptable travellers. Anyway, just a thought, inspired by a comment above. Or even just for a bit of help or interaction if not for the whole solving the education question. Good luck with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We never made a big thing of it and used audio books, the internet and he had a scribe and reader for GCSE’s. We also did lots of practical things and he learnt best by doing! He uses his iPhone for ‘writing’ and relies heavily on predictive text which can be interesting. He always needs time for his thought processes to catch up. Ben reads enough to manage and is a fount of knowledge from things he has learnt from television documentaries and You Tube!
        We went everywhere we thought he could learn things from.
        Everyone is very different but we have always tried to see a funny side to his difficulties and he chuckles over his “variations”.
        Ben has set up his own gardening business so all things are possible and he does quite well! He also does shifts at the hospice on evening reception, and security – he locks up etc.
        All I’d say is your son can do well and most kids find their own way as long as you give them opportunities to do so. Sorry if that’s not what you wanted, it won’t be easy but he will find his way!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. You do your best. That’s all you can do. Your son knows you’re doing your best, too, and any teacher, ANY ally in the school, is a bonus. I know what you mean, though–two weeks into term the social worker that’s been working with Biff and Bash for two years up and announced she was leaving. No forewarning, just “well, that was my last day.” The hell, lady?!?! So it’s almost like starting from scratch with their teachers. Hoping she at least gave her notes to the boys’ teachers so they don’t just think I’m talking out of my butt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sucks so much for you. Feels like one step forward and two back. Son lost his physio who has been working with him for 4 years. We had one introduction meeting with a nice young kid who looked like she had just left uni then we got the letter saying she had left. That was 6 months ago and still no replacement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! That’s how it was with the boys’ OT. They only managed to meet her twice, then we find out she’s left. We do have an appt with another one though, at the end of the month. Fingers crossed that goes well. And turning thrice widdershins you hera about that replacement. xxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

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