Looking back on my original list, I feel like a lot of those reasons were based more on not having to deal with public school issues than why it’s great on it’s own. So I wanted to add to the list.
Following Special Interests
Did you know that all people, not just autistic people, learn best when they are interested in a subject? This is at least doubly true* for autistic people. This is why I base Lady Bug’s Themed Joint Activities around what she’s currently interested in. We actually “Unschool” science for the most part (meaning we don’t teach it formally as part of our homeschool day) instead providing the kids with resources for them to learn on their own. (I will list and link these resources in a separate post.)
Builder Boy for the past year or more has been super interested in chemistry and particle physics. So we got the boys resources that allowed them to learn and explore with that on their own. As a result, just the other day Builder Boy sat down and started drawing the Periodic Table of Element and started filling in the symbols for the ones he knew, in their correct placement. From memory. For fun. He filled in over half of them accurately. He can tell me which ones react and why. He will info-dump on me more atomic knowledge than I’ve forgotten from high school He’s currently writing a 5 paragraph essay on particle physics that I don’t even know enough about to know if it’s right or not. He is learning amazing stuff because it is fun for him. Will he have some gaps in his general knowledge? Probably. But so do all public school students, and rather than being bored and not really learning what he’s being taught he’s self engaged with a higher retention rate.
They’re so interested in fact that a gift that was intended for me, the book What If? got completely taken over by my boys. Who at the time of writing are 12 and 9. They read and re-read and re-read the book (remember, Builder Boy is a reluctant reader!) until we got it on Audible (read by Will Wheaten, yes, that Will Wheaten) and now listen to it over and over again. I am now being bombarded with talk and questions about orbital mechanics and Feynman’s Equation and discussing neutrinos and arguing over the definition of an atmosphere before I’ve had a chance to engage my brain with the magical substance that is coffee.
Because we homeschool their interests are not blocked by sticking to what is considered correct for their grade level. They can go as far as they can understand and want to go, and take a year learning that if that’s what they want. They can’t tell you which cloud formations are called which (neither can I, thought I know that was taught repeatedly in the public school I went to) but who cares when they are excited about what they are learning?
*I don’t have an actual citation to back up this fact. But ask any parent of an autistic kid, or an autistic adult for that matter, and they’ll provide enough anecdotal evidence to become statistically significant.