Any decide NOT to homeschool their special need kid? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-31-2008, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always planned to homeschool, but I just found out that there is a school locally for kids with severe special needs ages 3 to 21. I don't want Juju to be "severe", but that might be where we're headed. I just can't keep up this pace of trying to do everything I can for Juju and trying to care for my other two too. I wearing out. I can't have my emotional stability invested in how Juju is doing either... Anyway, I was looking into this school, and it really made me feel alot better knowing there are some options. It might not be what I want to do, but it may be what I need to do. Anybody let go of the homeschool dream for their special need kiddo?
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:01 PM
 
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Anybody let go of the homeschool dream for their special need kiddo?
I'm starting to. And it really makes me sad. Part of it is her and part, I have to admit, is me. She really needs more socialization (and by that I mean more structured socialization) than I can give her either by playing with her or by arranging playdates.

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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I'm in this boat too. My son is only three so I still have a little bit to decide but I think he really will need that extra socialization during the day. He is in a preschool part day right now that has both neurotypical and autistic kids and he is doing really well. I don't think I will be able to give him the one on one teaching like the school can (I have two other kiddos) and at the same time provide the social aspect. It is definately something my husband & I have been talking about.

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Old 12-31-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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I have no desire to homeschool my kid, but if we can't get his immune deficiency treated, we will have to. I found out yesterday that the preschool/elementary next door assigns paras to any child who needs them, and they all know ASL. There is a child with Down Syndrome who also has celiac, so his diet is tightly monitored and his para is always with him in case someone else tries to share food. This has been my biggest fear- DS getting food from another child- so I would love to have this option if we can get him on IVIG.

We have another 18 months before he's even eligible for preschool, though, so some time to ponder.
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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I always wanted to homeschool, and we gave it a good shot. But even though I work with autism for a living, I couldn't give DS everything he needed. So, after a lot of thought, we put him in private montessori school and now he's thriving beyond what we ever thought possible. So at least for us the decision to stop homeschooling was a good one.

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Old 12-31-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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I seriously considered pulling my step son out and homeschooling him. I know it might have been better for him at the time education wise, BUT I think for the health and safety of the family, the public school was the best option for us.

I now work for a county school like the OP described, I work one on one with kids with severe behavior issues, so I see both ends, dealing with it at home and now professionally. I have to say, honestly, I am a MILLION times more patiences with my students then I did with my step son. I get to leave the kids at the end of the day and I ENJOY going back to work and seeing them the next day. I felt the same way with SS after he had been at school all day. It was a refresher and I missed him and was glad to see him, even if that meant I had to deal with 3 hour long fits and a physically demanding agressive kid. Now he is doing well and my students wear me out, but, I get that much needed break.

Anyway, my point is, at least in my experience of working in a school with exclusively special needs kids, I can tell you that EVERYONE I work with is there because they want to be and we truly care about these kids and work our butts off to do the best we can by these kids. I see a very different mindset there then in general education or even district run special day classes. We also are a little more realistic with our goals for the kids. There is a non verbal kid in the class who is brilliant, but has many difficulities as well. I deal with him like just about any typical kid and I expect a LOT out of him. And he lives up to it. There are other students who I know can not physically or mentally do many tasks, but we work every day to find a new thing they CAN do and focus on that, rather then what they can't do. We try to make school as fun as possible too. I see no reason, (and the teacher doesn't either), that these kids can't have a GOOD time while getting their education and life skills.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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I'm in this boat too. My son is only three so I still have a little bit to decide but I think he really will need that extra socialization during the day. He is in a preschool part day right now that has both neurotypical and autistic kids and he is doing really well. I don't think I will be able to give him the one on one teaching like the school can (I have two other kiddos) and at the same time provide the social aspect. It is definately something my husband & I have been talking about.
That's us, too. Brendon LOVES being with other kids, even if only to watch them play. Even with him at 28 months old, I can see that. I should have known, right? This is the kid who would be soundly sleeping in utero, and then I'd walk into a room filled with people and he'd get lively! And I don't have much of a social life myself, so it's not fair for my weaknesses to hamper his progress.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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I never had a dream of hs'ing any of my kids. Ds1 is in public school and thriving!! Dd was in public school but needed to be hs'd so I withdrew her and it's going well.

Doing this, I realized, was better than holding on to a dream or plan that wasn't working.

Following each child's needs is paramount. I had to adapt my thinking big time, but it's worked out ok.

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Old 12-31-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I had always wanted to homeschool my children, so when Breanna was transitioning from Sooner Start to EI in the school district, it was so hard for me. We had just had baby #4, and Josh was kindie age, so we put the two oldest in school. Broke my heart....as well as my plans.

Five years later, I realized that the schools know very little more than I did at that point, and they were screwing her up worse with the stress and everything, so I pulled out our kids to homeschool.

I don't regret the time they spent in school (well, some of it, Josh and she both had a lot of destressing to do after leaving) and I'm not regretting the homeschooling at this point. It's all about what works for your family, right? EI was really great for Breanna, and I did get free parenting training from the school and had time to figure out what I did and didn't like about PS. And free babysitting while I attended autism conferences and training sessions. Once first grade started and it was a OR b, autism room OR mainstream, it just wasn't working anymore. By that time, Josh was diagnosed and we'd spent two years fighting with the school about how to help a kid with aspergers (how can someone SOOO smart need SOOO much help?) He was stressed, Bre was stressed, *I* was ready to kill someone, and I was pregnant. Emily and Rachel both disliked most of school...the rules seemed arbitrary, the whole idea of not peeing when they needed to, not getting drinks when they were thirsty, being told how to color and write and what to read, they were done. It's that much harder when they're being treated like people at home

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Old 12-31-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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All ours are in private schools/private daycare. Here, everybody goes to school, basically. Hardly anyone is homeschooled, that's a very rare exeption, hardly ever happends at all.
Our SN-child is in private daycare, and will be in private school, she has a full time assistant to herself. But neither her daycare or her school is specialschool/daycare, regular private ones.
We are very happy with the daycare and school, they are so great and our kids love it.

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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I never wanted to homeschool my kids, so my SN kiddo is in public school. I'm a pre-k teacher, so you'd think that I'd want to school my own children. It came down to knowing my kids would do much better getting an education from someone other than mom. I think its awesome that others can do it, but my kids have a completely different learning style and I don't think we'd mesh well. I think they do better in public school.

So, instead, we found a public school that was willing to work closely with us as parents and take our input into consideration when coming up with plans for his education.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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Old 01-01-2009, 04:49 AM
 
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I really really want to homeschool DD but for financial reasons it's not feasible for either one of us to stay at home at this point. Maybe a few years down the road, we may rethink the homeschooling idea. I feel a little sad about not homeschooling DD. My SIL homeschools all her kids so we have family support if we wanted to homeschool however I think DD right now is learning more in a school than in a homesetting. We've noticed a change, a postive change, in her since we started sending her to a private preschool of our choice. There aren't any kids on the spectrum at this school but DD likes it there. She comes home singing songs she didn't sing before and she wants to do creative things that she showed no interest in before even when we tried to get her to do those things prior to preschool. She's also now starting to show interest in interacting with the other kids.

When it comes time to send DD to kindergarten, I have my eye on a school that focuses exclusively on kids with learning issues (dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, HFA). I've heard good things about this school. I think DD may enjoy the school because the classes are very small and they use multisensory teaching techniques.

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Old 01-01-2009, 04:54 AM
 
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I never thought I would HS but I also never though that i would have a SN child. If there was a good program here that I liked I would consider part time but it would have to be PERFECT, other SPD kids and stuff so they were all his speed. ( which is a mix of dervish and tornado!)

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Old 01-01-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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Following each child's needs is paramount. I had to adapt my thinking big time, but it's worked out ok.
This sums it up. We have homeschooled on and off based on our childrens' needs.
This year everyone is in school (except for Boo) and is doing awesome! Next year a few may be back at home....we're not sure yet.

I am sad that my dream of having everyone home and us all sitting around a "Duggar" homeschool type table is not gonna happen, but it really does boil down to each child's individual need.

Here's me I married then we had dd15 , dd11 , ds10 , and then and now we and I blog!
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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I've homeschooled or am homeschooling all of my kids except Gabe. When he was a baby, I planned on homeschooling him just as I was the other kids (I was determined that he would be treated as "normally" as possible), but the older he got, the more I had to accept that I could not meet his unique and intense educational and behavioral needs at home. Maybe, if I had no other kids, I could. But probably not; it's just not in me.

So, when he was just 3 years old, I did something I'd never fathomed doing---sent my teenytiny little guy off on a school bus to a public school, the county-run school specifically and exclusively for kids with "severe" disabilities. It was really, really hard at first. I felt like I was abandoning my ideals and goals, somehow letting down my son, and succumbing to societal pressure.

But Gabe has simply thrived. As another poster put it:" Anyway, my point is, at least in my experience of working in a school with exclusively special needs kids, I can tell you that EVERYONE I work with is there because they want to be and we truly care about these kids and work our butts off to do the best we can by these kids". That is absolutely my perception of the staff in Gabe's classroom. He is now in a special day class, operated by the county's "special" school but on a typical neighborhood school site. He gets a bit of inclusion, and he gets the kind of attention and dedication to his specific education needs that he has to have.

It's not a perfect set-up, but nothing would be, including homeschooling. You've got to do what's best for your child, yourself, and your family unit as a whole, and sometimes that's really different than what you'd expected.

Joni and kids, incl. Michaela :, 12, funky spinal cord, and Gabe :, almost 10!!!!, autism and Down syn.
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I briefly considered homeschooling and I"m open to reconsidering in the future, but my DD has made it extremely obvious that she thrives in a very routine, scheduled group setting with other kids her own age. She just blossoms into a totally different child in that environment. She is starting public school preschool soon and I'm very interested in seeing what will happen. I can say she is getting so frustrated and bored at home (no matter how many playdates, playgroups, library etc.) and I just can't provide enough stimulation on a daily basis no matter how hard I try. She's also an only child and due to her special needs it's difficult to sort of get other little kids to want to play with her- but in formal group settings she interacts much more appropriately because everyone is doing the same activity or project at the same time and it helps her relate.

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Old 01-02-2009, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate hearing about everybody's experiences with this subject! Since I allowed myself to start thinking about the possibility of sending Juju to school, I have really felt alot lighter. I guess I didn't realize how much my "I can do it all myself" attitude was weighing on me. I guess coming close to loosing him caused me to hold on really tight. Letting go a little - even if it's just in my head - has really helped lower my anxiety level.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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It would NOT work for us to homeschool. DS needs the routine and structure of the school day, and is way too oppositional with me. He will learn better from just about anyone. lol We have on occasion pulled him out for short breaks from school when he is in a major depressive episode and not functioning well, and we try to do schoolwork at home then, and while I am glad to do that I am not up for full-on homeschooling. I have to say, also, that while school is often a real challenge for him behaviorally it is SO GOOD for him to have to do it. He has made so many strides he would not have made at home because he's had to.

It also wouldn't be good for me. I need the break from his intensity. Especially with my others around too. In fact, I am really looking forward to next year when I can send my toddler to 2 mornings a week of preschool.

Homeschooling is not for every parent, and its not for every kid. And that's okay.
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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i'm not one who ever really wanted to HS. but the public school SN options around here are dismal. we've got ds in a fabulous preschool program at a wonderful private school right now and we're going to try to hold him back a year so that he can go three years instead of two and his tuition is covered by the state. but when it comes time for our son to go to kindergarten - it won't be at public school around here. so a lot will depend on our financial situation and where we live.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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I had always planned to homeschool my kids but I think with DD I might just start her in preschool as soon as possible. She loves other people and gets excited about leaving the house. Right now we only leave for doctor's appointments and therapy. I hope there's good programs around here. I haven't checked yet. Obviously I'd have to feel she was safe in order to drop her off at school and leave.

Part of it is that she likes to be out and about. The other part is I just don't think I can do it on top of taking care of her needs.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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I have thought about transitioning to PS when Seth graduates from Soonerstart, but I just don't know...my best friend from high school would be his special ed teacher, which would be nice, but the district is pretty awful (and the reason we homeschool!). I'm glad I have a couple more years to think aout it.

If I had an option of a really good program, I would do it in a minute!

wife to my BFF since '96, happy but tired unschooling momma to DS (12), DD's (10,8,6 & 4) and Twin DS's (12-07)
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:01 AM
 
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I do homeschool because neither of my kids would qualify for the type of school you are talking about. If one of my kids did though, I would seriously consider it. I've worked in/with 2 schools like that and they are awesome places! I totally agree with the pps who talked about how much the people there really enjoy being with the kids. The schools I worked in/with were like big families. Sometimes the teachers would babysit the kids after school so the parents could go on date nites or to other appts, it sounds weird but it really was an awesome, supportive environment.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:26 AM
 
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I would like to HS, but DS is in public school for now. There is more opportunity for him to generalize learned skills there. It just depends on where his best learning environment is and at the moment that is in public school. DS's teacher and aide are good for him, especially his connection with his aide.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh man, I just found out the special needs school is not county run - it is run by the nearest city. So we aren't in the district and they aren't accepting students from other districts. I guess we'll just have to see what the local public school offers... it's a small rural school and not that great. But they have sent out some specialists that I like...
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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I homeschool my Aspie kid and feel good about it--my more typical daughter insists on going to school, and we can't deny her passion for it.

This may sound more like advice than I mean it to be, but I'm just giving you a few things to consider. It's based partly on the experience of a friend who has had her child with more severe special needs in school and homeschooled. A big factor is what the community possibilities are for you and your child with either options--at least that would be big for me. A special needs school that is a good fit for your child would also be the place where you would be most likely to meet other parents who are truly comfortable around you and your kid or at least don't start avoiding you if they aren't sure what to say and do. So if I were you, I would probably be tempted to go to all the visits or info sessions even if I wasn't sure I wanted to go.

I would also check out what the homeschooling opportunities are. There may or may not be groups, playgroups, or classes that your child would fit into. My friend was able to find some activities because we are near wholechildren.org, but even though we are in a very active homeschooling area the majority of ongoing activities would not be things that would work for him or else it would require an adaptation that no one was planning on making, so it can be uncomfortable to approach people about it, kwim?

You'll also want to explore whether you get better services in school than homeschooling. It really varies from place to place, but I met a mom who wanted to homeschool, but in her state she could not get speech and OT through the school system while homeschooling, and her child's therapists warned that if she withdrew him and changed her mind later, he likely wouldn't get services when he reenrolled.

But I also love homeschooling. It is not, however, the homeschooling experience I dreamed of what I imagined homeschooling my then infant son. I think that most people's dreams die to make way for reality, and that can be necessary to seeing what the best options are.

Sherri
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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We had always planned to HS all of our children but alas it is better for all of us to have my son with autism in school. He is in public school and in an autism classroom with 4 other children at this time. He seems to like it and is making progress. I would love for him to be home with us but frankly its too hard on all of us. He is nonverbal and gets very frustrated due to communication issues, understandably of course but at school he is engaged all day and worked with one on one where at home that is impossible, especially considering his unique needs. We all enjoy each other much more when he gets home and we are able to hang out and relax together and he can play with his brothers.

It was hard to come to terms with not doing it ourselves especially when the old school we had him in was not helping him and frustrating him alot so we moved and are in a much much better place with lots of services and a school that I feel is helping him instead of just pretending to know what they are doing
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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My daughter who has aspergers goes to public school. She was so afraid to start Jr. high and begged me to home school her--and believe me it was hard to refuse. But I did say no for the time being, because:

1: I give so much to her (and she requires so much care and attention)--that the break is honestly good for MY mental health. I know, knock me for it--but parenting in itself is a big job, but there is a special kind of care and attention required to be a special needs parent. If you give yourself 24/7, you can empty your tank and go bonkers.

2: She tends to really be isolated. Getting her out of the house takes a shoehorn and lots of positive reinforcement on my side. She has zero social life outside of me--and that is the way she wants it (or so she thinks). When she goes out (to a movie, the library, etc..) she goes with me. I wanted to give her at least the chance to build relationships with others. They may not be perfect relationships, but they are learning experience for her, and I think it is beneficial to her.

So she went--and guess what? After hating many years of elementary school, she is "liking" Jr. High. I was shocked that it happened, but she has some teachers that she has really clicked with, and some of the students from the other elementary schools that streamed into her school are her "friendly acquaintences". She is not inviting them home or anything, but she does talk with them and building a small social network outside of me. This is progress! I am happy for my girl.

So those are my reasons. I give a whole lot to my kids and care so much, but I have to make it work for me as well as them. For me, homeschooling this particular child would not work. I feel like I am a really good mom, but I will never be perfect, unfortunately. I also see that as much as I love my kids, I need them to build their indipendence a little bit outside of me for their own good.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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1: I give so much to her (and she requires so much care and attention)--that the break is honestly good for MY mental health. I know, knock me for it--but parenting in itself is a big job, but there is a special kind of care and attention required to be a special needs parent. If you give yourself 24/7, you can empty your tank and go bonkers.
This is so true and hard to remember before your tank is empty
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LisainCalifornia View Post
I give a whole lot to my kids and care so much, but I have to make it work for me as well as them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaB View Post
This is so true and hard to remember before your tank is empty
:

Very true.

It's like they say in the airplane safety lecture. You need to put on your oxygen mask before you put on your child's.

Normal is just a setting on your dryer.
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