We decided to home educate our daughter for a couple of years when she started to disengage from her learning when she was still in primary school.
I did love the argument that we were denying her the opportunity to learn to interact with others. No, if my daughter needed to be teased, bullied, harassed, pushed down stairs, sworn at and ignored to learn how to interact with others we were quite capable of doing this in the comfort of her home,
I also liked the argument that it was important for her 'natural development' and for growing up. There is nothing natural about the school environment. Where else in life are you forced to mix with others based on nothing more than they are approximately the same age and expected to be able to get on with everyone and 'fit in'.
While we would have welcomed contact and support from the LEA, especially as the intention was for her to return within a couple of years, we heard absolutely nothing from them and was left to our own devices.
Returning her to the system was a joy in itself. Only two schools said they had places for her. We arranged a visit to the school with the better reputation first. All the headteacher was interested in was getting our details so she could report us to the LEA. An assumption she would too far behind for them to have the resources to give her the obvious help she would need. At this point beyond us there had been no concern that there might be something underlying causing her problems with others. At the end of her rantings I thanked her and told her that there was no way I would allow my daughter to go to a school with a headteacher so narrow minded and bigoted.
She went to the other school, which was very different and in special measures. It was also thanks to the staff at this school that we learned our daughter had Aspergers. At the end of her primary years she had one of the highest SAT results in the borough. Something I had great joy in informing the head teacher of the other school. Including her 12 GCSEs 3 A levels and First at university. I got to know the headteacher later on through my voluntary work, and while I usually remained civil I never forgot her attitude or the way she spoke of my daughter in front of her.
When her secondary school became an academy we had to sign a home, student, school agreement. I refused to sign it. The agreement said they could keep the children at school for up to an hour after they were due to come home for detention without informing us. I pointed out that the school had been associated with several children being stabbed and our daughter had been chased all the way home on more than one occasion and I would not agree to sign it. I said I would agree to sign if the school agreed to call us and let us know she was being kept in. The change was signed by the head teacher and we signed it. During her GCSE year the English department decided to keep the children behind for an hour everyday for two weeks. My daughter called us and was distraught at this. I told her to attend the class but she would not be there long. I called the head teacher and asked if they had decided to do away with the home contract and had to explain what was going on. My daughter was delighted 15 minutes into the extra lesson the head teacher walked in, told her to go home and the teacher was told to go and see him after the lesson.
There was a little bit of ire towards my daughter about this, but as she pointed out her dad had actually read the agreement and got it changed. It wasn't her fault if their parents just signed the agreement.
Why do schools have to be such hard work?