I think my wife and I have had it. Our son, Aaron, will be 14 by the end of the month. He was diagnosed as autistic at age 3. He is high-functioning, and I would say that, compared to his "typical" peers he is roughly average in mental abilities, maybe smarter. Like any kid, he struggles with some things, and excels at others. After 10 years of therapies, dietary adjustments and medications, I think that he is about as "cured" as he will ever be. Meaning... hey, he is quirky, and people will just have to learn to deal with that, as he will have to learn to adjust to others. He also has a physical growth delay that the doctors just haven't been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for. He is at least 6" shorter than the average boy his age, and in fact still has many of his baby teeth. His latest growth rates indicate he may be catching up, but who knows? He is an only child, and has no cousins.
He is in 8th grade, and will pass it. He is in public school, and has a full-time aide who is there to keep him focused and find ways to help him (or the school) adapt when he has trouble "accessing the curriculum" as the teachers phrase it. There are behavioral problems here and there, where he will refuse to work, or insult his aide. At night, we (all three of us) are ruled by his homework requirements. At this point, he really hates school, and consequently, learning in general. Hates reading, hates math, etc. I believe the public school system has crushed it out of him, which angers me terribly. I am angry at the schools, and angry at myself for allowing them to do this to him. My wife is fortunately starting to believe I may be right.
I am very interested in unschooling, but I am worried that his desire to learn won't just recover all by itself. I have fears that if I just take him out of public school and allow him to find his own path that he will just play Sonic the Hedgehog/Pokemon video games all day, which is his tendency.I want him to be free and re-discover learning on his own if possible, but not if it means he will end up as a couch potato. I am researching homeschooling, online learning and unschooling currently. I wonder if the best solution might be a strategic combination of all three.
I would love any advice or comments from those who may have had similar experiences with a son or daughter, and maybe come out on the other side. Actually, any helpful advice at all is welcomed! Thank you.
Note: I originally posted this in Learning at Home & Beyond accidentally, but intended to post here.