John Stossel – The School Revolution (with Ron Paul)

I had seriously considered home schooling my kids, but was advised against it on the grounds that as an Aspie parent of Aspie kids, I would not be able to teach them the social skills they needed to get along with the mundanes neurotypicals.

This was, indeed, true – to a degree.

‘School’ did not give my kids ‘education’ as the educators would have perceived it.  Every day, I would tell my kids that even though they are not learning new ‘material’ in school, and that while ‘learning new material’ is the goal for most kids going to school, they, as Aspies, were in a slightly different category.  Obviously, the material would not be new to them, nor difficult to master:  their one and only goal in going to school was to learn how to ‘present’ their knowledge, how to PROVE to the mundanes muggles neurotypicals that they indeed have mastered that knowledge.

So, that is why my kids were not home-schooled.

Well, when I say they were not home-schooled, I do mean they attended actual official schools – from Montessori (I really, really do not recommend this for Aspies) to highly structured, incredibly expensive private schools, to public schools.  They still learned most things at home long before they encountered them in school because I firmly believe that many concepts cannot be fully assimilated and become ‘natural’ unless they are taught at a much, much younger age that at which they are introduced in any formal schooling setting.

The best results we have found were actually in the ‘gifted’ program in the public schools.

Having an Aspie kid go to a Montessori school means he will learn everything about his narrow field of interest, but his horizons will not have been broadened.

Having an Aspie kid go to the most expensive private school meant that he was bullied by really rich people’s kids – so rich and influential (from politicians to the Russian mob) that the school was afraid to tell the parents their kids were being bullies.  Sure, the classrooms were small – but that only meant that there were fewer kids willing/able to stand up to the bullies in defense of the Aspie.  And, it meant a much more intimidated faculty…

Having an Aspie kid go to public schools means that they can see there are kids with much greater learning challenges than their own and makes them protective of their teachers.  From other, less disciplined kids.

Actually, the ‘gifted program’ in the public schools has been the best, most accepting, environment for my kids.  The kids who were not in the ‘gifted program’ in grade-school would not dare to bully the ‘gifties’ because they knew these were going to be their future bosses.  As a matter of fact, girls from the non-gifted classes saw it as a status symbol to be seen with a boy from the gifted class…and it worked for the gifted girls, too. So, there was a lot of tolerance to accept the ‘differentness’ of the smart students by everyone else in the school and this worked to let my kids learn and grow to their best potential.

Sure, most new material was learned at home, years before it was introduced in the school.  It was the social aspect, the ability to present their work in a way that neurotypicals would accept and to interact with other neurotypicals on the school playground that was the important lesson my kids went to school for.

But, had they been born with  these neurotypical abilities, had I and my sons been more comfortable interacting with neurotypicals, I suspect I would not have wasted their time with the academically slow and questionable public schooling.