My son wants to go to college. Maybe my high-functioning, Autism Spectrum teenager will go to college eventually. Maybe he will be able to organize and focus himself enough to tackle the course load that college guarantees. But what if he can’t?
Talk in education circles always tends toward thoughts of rigorous curriculum and college readiness.
What if college isn’t the direction your student is headed? “College could be something they will look at eventually, so you still want to prepare them for college,” the experts state. And maybe so.
Students facing learning challenges need to have parents (or teachers) who are looking at their future with both sides of the equation in mind. College is possible but high school graduation is necessary. Will loading my son down with college-preparatory materials help or hinder him?
If he can’t handle the work now, while trying to graduate high school, there is no point to it.
Can I get an AMEN?
We choose to educate our kids at home so that we can work with them on their level. I’m not against pushing them outside of their comfort zones, to encourage them to tackle work that seems too difficult, but I do it carefully. Some subjects are worth pushing. For others, we use what works and just check the box.
[clickToTweet tweet=”If he can’t handle the work now, while trying to graduate high school, there is no point to it.” quote=”If he can’t handle the work now, while trying to graduate high school, there is no point to it. ~Dawn Perkins”]
History is an area which, although D1 enjoys learning about the past, he struggles with the work. D2 too, struggles—but mainly because he is not a fan of history in any form. This is a subject where we have decided that it is more important to get it done than to push rigorous learning. We chose to use an adjusted curriculum for history.
Never much of a workbook fan, I was skeptical when I first decided to try the PowerBasics series for US History. D1 needed US History, and I couldn’t find anything that he would be able to handle. Either the textbook was dry and at 800+ pages, overwhelming with just the sheer volume of reading required. Others are literature-based and again, just too much for him to take on when you add in the written assignments on top of it. Power Basics is a very basic, reading-level adjusted high school curriculum.
The day I handed him the US History student book and he flipped through it, I was worried that he would take one look at it and reject it, but I was wrong. He skimmed through a couple of chapters and looked up at me with a big smile. “This looks very good actually Mom. I can do this.” He sat down and completed the first couple of readings and the questions that went along with them.
Tenth grade US History was the one subject I didn’t worry about last year.
He completed the work, he passed the tests, and he didn’t drag things out for days at a time. It just WORKED. I was able to add US History to his high school transcript with a grade he had rightfully earned, and that graduation requirement was checked off.
This year both boys are going through the Power Basics World History series. There three volumes each consisting of 8 Units. We are nearly finished with World History I, and will begin II in a few weeks. It’s not rigorous but it isn’t dumbed down either. The information is in bite sized chunks, and they are forced to recall the information at regular intervals. The Student Workbooks have additional exercises and projects for them to complete as well.
Let me encourage you to use what works for your kids.
It doesn’t have to be rigorous if your student isn’t planning on following that topic in pursuit of college, a college major, or a degree. You just need to be able to cover the material and move on. Students with reading or comprehension difficulties, Autism, dyslexia and other learning challenges may benefit from locating high-interest, lower reading level materials. PowerBasics is just one series that handles this quite well for high school.
If you have one like mine, considered a 2E kid (twice exceptional—having an area of defined giftedness as well as a clear learning challenge) you need to tailor his education accordingly. Challenge him in that gifted area! Give him all the tools he is hungry for, to feed that desire to know everything there is to know about his area of specialty.
Don’t feel pressured to do the same in all areas of his education.
It’s perfectly fine to just check those boxes and complete the subjects that need to completed, in whatever manner and methods work best for him.