Welcome…for the next 100 days one particular facet of our rainbow life will be taking over this blog.
Since she was five, PanKwake has learned at home. I won’t go into the details of how or why at this point as those are whole blogs for another time. But I will say that as difficult as it is…
It is the absolute BEST thing I have ever done for my autistic 11 year old.
But today, I am beginning as one should…by introducing myself…
Hello, I am Tara Neale…
- Home educator
- …And occasionally blogger and writer.
I am lucky enough to have the best job in the world…making a home for my beloved partner, Cookie Monster, and PanKwake. She is actually the youngest of six and the only one at home still. Yes, four of the older children were also home educated…for five years. And they all turned out pretty good.
My eldest…Mister Stability…is thirty. OMG…30…THIRTY! He is engaged to a lovely young woman that he met at university. Oh, he graduated from Goldsmith’s with a degree in history. His claim to fame…he was a mentor to Princess Beatrice during her first year there. His first job as corporate manager for an international candy company merited him a mention in the dean’s commencement address. He now proudly serves in the U S Navy and works in the Pentagon…well, one of its annexes.
Mere-Mere is twenty-eight and in her final year at London Met. After almost a decade working as a teaching assistant with special needs children, she went back to university to become a teacher. But then she discovered her love of women’s studies…and plans to pursue a Master’s in that field.
Little Brown Man is twenty-seven. He works as a sous chef now. My former husband and I adopted him when he was seven months old. Like PanKwake, he has challenges…medical and learning. His social worker told us when he got him that he would never hold a job or live on his own. He does both.
Idiot Savant is almost twenty-six now. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in fluid dynamics at one of the top universities in London. He also spent two and a half years teaching in China where he met his girl friend. Oh, why the savant? Because despite graduating with honors from the University of Manchester with a degree in mathematics, he picked a fight with a Navy SEAL…and ended up with a broken ankle as well as black eyes. Stupidly smart?
Not too many single mothers can claim a 4 for 4 success record like that. So their home ed experience must not have been too bad?
As for the rest…autism moms don’t get much choice about becoming advocates. For me…I had just ended my second marriage and was working part-time as a chef. But I was being called a couple of times every week to come and pick PanKwake up from school because she was falling asleep in class…due to her seizures and those meds.
Every day had become an endless battle with the school…them blaming all her emerging autism issues on the home life and me fighting to get them to look for other causes…like her autism. In the end, I remember thinking…I can’t do it all. I can deal with these idiots and the fights. Or I can fight to save my child.
I choose to save PanKwake…and I have never regretted it for a moment. Even on the toughest of days.
Home ed has given my autistic child the best possible chance for reaching her full potential. And I honestly believe that it could for many others on the beautiful rainbow spectrum upon which we live.
Tomorrow…I will tell you more about PanKwake.