Sorry, I missed a couple of days of blogging. That’s the thing with self-directed learning, though.
We never stop learning.
Even before we draw our first breath right up to our last, we are always learning.
Yes, some of us seek that out more than others. We embrace new things and change. We seek out new knowledge and deeper wisdom.
But even the most stuck-in-the-mud, old curmudgeon still learns something new, every day. I should know we are surrounded by those. But just think about it. Read the news – you learn something. Watch the TV – learn something. Trip over a wire – hopefully, you learn enough to move it or at least avoid it.
Think about all your little human learned – before you sent them to school. Walking. Talking. Running.
Can’t you see the learning in @PanKwake’s eyes and face in each of those photos? Just look at how much she had grown.
Yes, even our #neurodivergent ones learn. Maybe not at the same pace, or even the same things. But they learn nonetheless. Learn how to turn off the vacuum cleaner, because the noise bothers them. Learn how to throw the foods they don’t like. Learn what makes them feel safe. And what doesn’t. All those things that are behaviors, we are taught to modify are actually ways of communicating.
So, let me ask you this? Did you need to send them to school to learn how to walk? Yes, I realize that sometimes non-verbal will have had speech & language therapy. @PanKwake did. But like many #ActuallyAutistic, that experience was more traumatic than it was helpful.
Think about something else for a moment, too.
When did parents lose the confidence that they knew what was in the best interest of their child?
Yes, I do blame schools for that. At least in part. Doctors, psychologists, the media, and others have roles to play too.
Yes, I am the first to admit that I have learned loads about being a parent, home education, and self-directed learning by reading books on those subjects from those ‘experts.’ But I have also observed other parents. And learned to trust my gut.
The truth is that parents have raised children for… about a million years now.
Okay, so maybe you’re thinking… but loads of those children died of disease, malnutrition, and accidents. Those children did not live in the modern world. I just want the best for my child.
So, did they. So, do we all.
But is school and the education system part of that? Especially for the #neurodivergent?
Most sources I found for both the US and UK cited 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 as the incidence of bullying. Being an ethnic minority or LGBT+++ increase that percentage.
But I can honestly say, I have never known a #neurodivergent young person who was not bullied. If not in primary school, then certainly by secondary. Yes, that is anecdotal evidence. But 100% is a significant difference.
Bullying was the primary reason that @PanKwake’s father allowed me to de-register her. She was always challenged when interacting with others. But when she was younger I or one of her family was always close by to help. When she went to nursery, the staff were brilliant at supporting her. She had a key worker whose primary responsibility was to foster interactions with the other children. And she made strides.
When she left that nursery was able to sit and eat with the other children, wear socks most of the day, and her meltdowns were rare. Within weeks in reception, she was not eating, never had her socks, and melted down on me the moment I picked her up, if she was not already.
I knew something was wrong. But we were told she was doing fine. That her problems were our fault because of the separation. Until @PanKwake began asking me if she was dumb/ugly/stupid. I told her no, and asked why she thought that. I discovered that she had been bullied for months.
Nine months of school was all it took to destroy my child’s mental health. And her physical as well, since her seizures increased significantly due to the stress.
The only good things to come of it were the support that we received from the school to get council housing and the fact that this experience convinced her father that #homeed was the best option. I knew that all along.
But even for me, this road to self-directed learning has not been smooth. Shaking off all those societal strictures and ‘expert’ advice and learning to trust the process of exploration, self-discovering, and happiness that SDL affords was not easy for me, either.
More about that tomorrow…