After a lot of thought, I’ve decided to have a trial period home schooling my daughter. This hasn’t been an easy decision but after the difficulties I’ve had trying to integrate my daughter into her new school, it seems that this is the only option left. There comes a point where the never-ending battle becomes too exhausting and you start to ask yourself why you’re doing this. I mean why put all my energies into fighting a broken system when that energy could be used more positively to help my daughter.
I know this is a bit of a sea change for me because for ages I’ve been arguing that parents shouldn’t be forced into home education because of the lack of suitable educational provision. In a way I still think this. Parents shouldn’t feel forced into home education particularly when it’s not suitable for their child. Certainly for my son home education was not an option because he adamantly refused to be taught by me. Part of this was due to his compartmentalisation, that is school is school and home is home and never the twain should meet. As a result I’ve had to use a combination of home tutoring by the LA and part time schooling at special school to help my son but even now I’m not sure we have it right. In part I think this has been due to an inadequate assessment of his difficulties and lack of integrated working between the mental health services and education. More of this another time as I have lots to say about this and the currently painful process of finding a college for my son.
My daughter is different however. She has asked me to teach her and that is the main reason why I’m going to give it a go. Of course I have my reservations about this not least whether I’ll be able to manage teaching my daughter alongside looking after her brother, running a family home and working part time. There again with several years experience of working in community education and supporting adults with specific learning difficulties I’m already in a reasonably good position in which to help her. However whether I can apply my experience to my daughter and whether she will respond to me remains to be seen. There again I was very pleased that she was able to do a piece of writing for me the other day. This has given me a good idea of what she can and can’t do and has provided me with an idea of the areas we can work on in the coming weeks.
For now though this is a trial. I haven’t told the school or the LA and I don’t intend to until I’m absolutely sure this is the right way to go. It could be that school could still work for her if we can provide more specialised support as suggested by the head recently. With this in mind, we’re now waiting for a CAMHS appointment to check out whether our daughter has additional difficulties that might explain her school refusing. This will, I hope, provide the medical evidence needed to stop her school absences being recorded as unauthorised which is something we are very keen to do. Unauthorised absences are not something you want as a parent as it puts us at risk of court action and a hefty fine! Unbelievably harsh isn’t it but that’s the system for you I’m afraid. You just have to work with it and find the medical evidence needed for the education system to believe that its not your parenting that is the reason for your child’s school absences. For now though, while we wait for an appointment, I’ll continue to work with my daughter at home until such time that we have clearer idea of what to do.