Imagine…looking in an iCloud to discover what your #LittleHuman learned yesterday. That is what I just did. And discovered these…
She had been at her photography and art again.
What about literacy and numeracy? I hear the voice of Kirsty Williams, Education Secretary for Wales.
If you notice the heart cat in the upper right hand corner, it has typing. But don’t get excited, PanKwake did not type that. She used voice-to-text to do so. Admittedly with a couple of mistakes.
You see PanKwake is multiply #neurodivergent. If you don’t know those words, neurodivergent means ‘a brain that thinks differently than most people.’ It is a more encompassing, enabling, and empowering term than others such as autistic, dyslexic, epileptic, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and ADHD. Rather than focus as the medical model does on all the things that the person cannot do, it recognizes the things that they can do. It relies upon the social model of disability which says…
Difference + Environment = Disability
In other words, being different or ‘impaired’ alone is not a disability. A disability results from an environment which cannot or will not accommodate those challenges/differences/impairments.
The Social Model of Disability is WHY we #RadiCoolUnschool PanKwake.
Let’s imagine what her life would be like if Kirsty Williams and Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, won. If Katherine Thomas, the Swansea council person in charge of home education monitoring, who has said she will NOT approve any unschool provision, is given the power to UNFAIRLY determine PanKwake’s future.
PanKwake will be placed in a school where she is expected to sit quietly for seven plus hours per day. Her ADHD makes this impossible. She will be given ‘extra help’ with reading and maths…to the exclusion of the wonderful things she does well. No time for art…or physical education…they must focus exclusively on the things that she CANNOT do. She will lose all or most of the self-confidence and self-esteem that we have instilled in her. And that is not even considering the bullying…not just from her peers. But the subtle and not so subtle bullying of teachers and staff too.
That is the reality of schools. Not just in Wales or the UK, but the US…and much of the world. They are not places where #LittleHumans go to learn. But to be broken. Few #LittleHumans, or big ones, thrive in that restrictive environment.
Instead #RadiCoolUnschooling has created an outspoken advocate for the #neurodivergent, a budding artist, a passionate animal lover, an extreme sports enthusiast, and an orator with logic and critical thinking skills which surpasses many adults. By focusing on what PanKwake is good at.
Will she learn to read?
Yes, probably. And never well. I have mild dyslexia myself which is why you will always find mistakes in this blog that spell check does not catch. But I once heard her father reading a simple children’s book to her. He struggled even then. Of course, he was educated in a time when dyslexia was not yet widely known. It was just assumed that because he was black, he was not intelligent. So he was shunted through schools without any help and into tech courses. That worked out alright in the end as he found a good job installing fiber optics early in the adoption cycle and has risen as far as he can…without those other skills to plan and manage installations.
I have taken online courses in dyslexia in order to understand and help PanKwake better. There are two basic issues…decoding and memory transfer. Decoding is as it says the phonics pathway that allows you to hear and break down then to rebuild the sounds into words. That is my deficiency. I cannot even hear the individual sounds which makes learning foreign languages almost impossible. But eventually I did learn to read by sight words. I still do. If I see a new word I have no idea how to pronounce it. And those little marks and syllables in the dictionary never made sense to me either. Of course, now I have the internet. Type a word into most online dictionaries, hit the sound button and hear it pronounced over and over again.
Of course, short to long term memory transfer was essential for me to master reading. PanKwake’s father has the opposite problem. He can decode words but does not store as many of those in long term memory as other people do. That was what was so painful…listening to him to decode what were even simple words.
PanKwake has BOTH. It will be practically impossible for her to ever read beyond the basics. Those words that she sees most often. It has taken six years for her to have mastered 100% the alphabet…and that came from using the keyboard to copy things on her computer games. She knows a handful of words. But she will not admit to ‘reading’ them. She says she recognizes them.
You see in my efforts to ‘impress’ those ‘school people’ back in London I pushed PanKwake too hard. Granted nowhere near as hard as they wanted or schools would have. But I used trickery. I bought dozens of picture books. She loved being read to back then. It was at least half a dozen bed time stories every single night. So in my mind I thought I would get her to ‘read’ those picture books to her doll Billy. Instead she stopped listening to bed time stories all together. Period.
I, the writer/blogger, turned my #LittleHuman off of reading all together…trying to please others, trying to meet literacy and numeracy goals that are not realistic for PanKwake. It is called Cognitive Death. I learned that word in the course I took too. It means extinguishing the flame and passion for learning that all #LittleHumans are born with.
Thankfully, I did not persist trying to please ‘educators’ who cause the cognitive death of thousands of #neurodivergent #LittleHumans every single year with methods that do not work. PanKwake may not like literacy or numeracy, but she has other passions. And she does absorb the reading and math slowly.
In the end, I keep coming back to this one…
By those standards, PanKwake is far, far less illiterate that Kirsty Williams and Sally Holland who do not even bother to learn the truth about home education, who are guided only by their own prejudices to deny #LittleHumans like PanKwake the education they NEED.