Tag Archives: teens

My Autistic, Unschooled Kid is Now in College – and doing just fine thanks!

How Unschooling Really Works

My son Liam is 18. He just finished his first semester in college. I am very proud of him. So what? You say. So did a gazillion other kids this fall. Well, that’s true. But there is a difference. My son Liam is autistic – and he’s never taken a final exam before in his life. Or a mid-term. Or any kind of standardized test.

Until this fall, Liam was completely unschooled. He went to a few years of school when he was younger — kindergarten through second grade. Then it was clear that the whole school thing was not going to work for him. Without getting into too much detail, classrooms are too loud for Liam and he couldn’t do the school work. Also, he hated worksheets and sitting all day. What he did like was fixing his teachers’ computers. He was six and this was what he wanted to do. If Mrs. Reed was having trouble with her internet access or had a virus, Liam was her man. Again…he was six.

After meetings with special ed people and IEP’s and psychologists and three days of tests (that Liam actually liked), we decided that perhaps Liam would just be better off at home. I got all excited about being Liam’s teacher. In fact, my other son, Alex, wanted to stay home too, so now I had two pupils and I went a little nuts. I turned the dining room into a classroom and we said the Pledge every morning. I wrote things on the chalkboard and we read the books we were supposed to read and we did math and then science and then we had “recess.”

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