So today, we continue with our look on what is ‘suitable’ education…
3.15 In their consideration of parents’ provision of education at home, local authorities may reasonably expect the provision to include the following characteristics:
- consistent involvement of parents or other significant carers – it is expected that parents or significant carers would play a substantial role, although not necessarily constantly or actively involved in providing education
- recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations
- opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
- access to resources/materials required to provide home education for the child – such as paper and pens, books and libraries, arts and crafts materials, physical activity, ICT and the opportunity for appropriate interaction with other children and other adults.
Yesterday, I explained how PanKwake has the consistent involvement of three adults…24/7/365 for years. As opposed to 1 adult to 10-12 additional learning needs #LittleHumans for six to seven hours per day…five days per week…for 42 weeks per year. Two of those adults are extremely passionate about her success and happiness.
Which ties in nicely with today’s subject…
- recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations
This is fairly close in fact to one of my favs from the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)…
Article 29 (goals of education)
Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.
Notice neither of those mention literacy and maths. Nor do they adhere to a one-size fits none National Curriculum.
It is an ideal about learning tailored specifically to the #LittleHumans. Their talents, needs, attitudes, abilities, personalities, and aspirations. Their DREAMS. Not the systems.
What school public/state/private or otherwise do you know that actually manages to provide this type of child-centred learning?
When the Artist was in school in America, he had an IEP. Individual Education Plan. What in the UK is called a statement or EHCP or who knows what else. Every single time I went for one the annual reviews, I always thought…but isn’t that what every child deserves? An INDIVIDUAL Education Plan?
When we can all stop laughing…or crying…or both…as the case maybe, I will make the argument that the only possible way to meet the stated purpose of Article 29 is home education. Yes, I said the only way.
I am a HUGE X-Men fan. I see a parallel between the struggles of the mutants and the #neurodivergent community. I actually explained autism to PanKwake as being Dr Jean Grey. We just needed to ‘train’ her super brain. Oh, my innocent misconceptions. Harness its powers…let it go…is more accurate, of course.
But I have a love/hate relationship with Dr Xavier…and his school for the gifted. I most definitely identify more with Raven/Mystique’s views on things…when she accuses Charles…
Raven Darkholme / Mystique: I used to think it was going to be you and me against the world. But no matter how bad the world gets, you don’t want to be against it, do you? You want to be a part of it.
Still I have toyed with the idea of a school for the #neurodivergent taught by the #neurodivergent. But I always come back to one question: HOW!?!?
A school tailored to capture those ‘teachable moments’ that we talked about yesterday. A physicist sitting waiting to explain dark matter at 3 a.m. An artist hanging out to demonstrate some wonderful technique whenever the urge hits PanKwake. A philosopher willing to listen and expound upon her ideas…at midnight. As she bounces happily from room to room, gleaning from each that which she seeks.
It is called the Internet. And as I said yesterday…it and some encouragement from other #LittleHumans and a granny-cloud is all any #LittleHuman needs to teach herself.
But back to today’s topic…KNOWING your #LittleHuman. Recognition of the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations.
I am going to admit another of my own prejudices here…but I no more see traditional home education with classes, curriculum, and worksheets as this than I do schools. If you are deciding what, when, and how your child needs to learn, then in my opinion, you FAIL this one as badly as schools do.
ALL #LittleHumans deserve an education custom fit to them. The UNCRC says so. As does this ‘reasonable expectation’ of Local Authorities (even if they fail to meet the same standard in their schools ironically).
Of course, no person can truly know another. Not completely. But I’d stack my understanding of PanKwake in those three areas against any ‘expert’ they threw at us.
So let’s look at PanKwake’s NEEDS:
Her single biggest challenge in life is SENSORY regulation. As with most on the autistic spectrum, how PanKwake takes in, processes, and reacts to stimuli is different than other people. This includes ALL of her senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, vestibular, proprioception, and interoception. (If you are not aware of some of those terms and are curious, check out this article.)
To complicate things even more, her needs are not consistent. There are times when her tolerance to things like bright lights and loud sounds are almost ‘normal’ and others when even a whisper will set her off. Misunderstanding around this have set many #LittleHumans up for abuse by teachers who blame them for ‘faking’ or being ‘attention seeking’.
Even the best schools cannot accommodate for the individual needs of the #LittleHuman. Just let her get up and run to her quiet place…without explaining why or being supervised? Not if they are going to meet health & safety standards while educating twenty-nine other children.
And sensory regulation is just one of PanKwake’s many complex NEEDS.
As for attitudes…
PanKwake would be doomed in our LA who does NOT recognize her type of autism…Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). PDA is why #RadiCoolUnschooling works so well for her. And I believe that #RadiCoolUnschooling is the ONLY way to ‘educate’ some #neurodivergent #LittleHumans, especially those with PDA, ADHD, and dyslexia who have reached the point of Cognitive Death.
That is why I am fighting these proposals for stricter regulation of home education. Especially Kirsty Williams, Education Secretary for Wales, emphasis on ‘literacy and numeracy’. Impositions of those type of random standards and especially the call for home educators to bound to National Curriculum that her Lib-Dem party has endorsed would negate this portion of case law. Bind my hands and prevent me from providing PanKwake with the education that is most ‘suitable’ for her.
To force PanKwake to sit at a table or even a computer, to complete workbook or even computer games, to tick some random literacy and numeracy box for Ms. Williams and the LA would result in an increase in the frequency and violence of PanKwake’s meltdowns, a decline in her mental health and self-esteem by forcing her to do something that her brain is not yet ready to master, and ultimately will result in Cognitive Death for one of the most brilliant minds I have ever known.
Again…that is just scratching the surface of PanKwake’s complex attitudes.
And for what?
When it comes to aspirations, PanKwake has one…to be a YouTuber.
And before you laugh or dismiss that…Dan DTM was the highest paid YouTuber last year. He made $12,000,000. In one year! That is several times even Cookie Monster’s net worth. And Dan made that in just one year.
What is more, there are ever constantly evolving opportunities. Live Stream video game players through platforms like Twitch can make a decent living. And that does not even include tutorials or competitive gaming revenues. Yes, people, you can actually make a living playing video games. Many people do.
But PanKwake’s dreams do not stop there. She has ‘back-up’ plans, including art, animal rescuer, extreme sports, and even perfumer. #RadiCoolUnschooling rather than preparing her to take a test so she can get a minimum wage job and spend the rest of her life working for someone else focuses upon ENCOURAGING, ENABLING, and EMPOWERING her to reach for her DREAMS. Her aspirations.
And perhaps that is what scares the educators, ‘experts’, and politicians the most. I love this George Carlin quote…
#RadiCoolUnschooling @HomeCrazzyHome most definitely fails to meet that low standard of ‘suitable education’. No, we are much, much more interested in meeting PanKwake’s unique, complex, and individual needs, attitudes, and aspirations. And in developing her personality, talents and abilities to the full.
Almost 1500 words in this blog to demonstrate that we meet the ‘reasonable expectation’ to recognize the child’s needs, attitudes and aspirations. I have buried LAs under 30 to 50 page reports detailing how I meet those standards. But to do so takes time away from the real work of educating PanKwake.
And that was just one #LittleHuman. What if you had to write annual reports for six of them? No family should be burdened with a standard of proof that schools fail to provide to families that have delegated the education of their children.
Which bodes the question…
WHY are home educators being held to a higher standard than schools?