I'm at the point with DD1 where I'm considering giving up homeschooling (we were unschooling for now). it's not a for sure thing.. if you've BTDT and have had to give it up due to your child's medical/special needs, can you help me out and help me feel better about it?
DD is 4yo. She is going in to the OT tomorrow for her first re-eval in a year (she was evaluated a year ago and put on a waiting list). We suspect some sort of ASD thing going on- she is a very bright child with serious quirks and behavior issues. She has social anxiety as well, and is just "different" in general. She'll be seeing the OT weekly.
I'm worried she'd be labeled the "shy kid" by teachers and not be eligible for an IEP (not sure how that works- we don't have a diagnosis other than sensory processing disorder, at this point), like I was, and struggle in a classroom environment.
I'm worried she's not "academically" ready for preschool or kindergarten. Her birthday is in December, so this school year she'd be in the second year of preschool. She doesn't know how to read, but I'm not sure when kids are taught to read. She knows all of her uppercase letters and some lowercase ones. She can write them just fine. She can't count in order to 10- she has always, always struggled with numbers (though she can recognize numbers 1-9). She can count to four. She has done some adding on her own with blueberries but that was the extent of it. She'd rather build a blanket tent or a tower with blocks, or color. She colors all day long... and she memorizes books.
I've been reluctant to put her in public school because we've been very media free.. no TV, no character stuff, nothing like that. I like it. I know things would change. I'm afraid of it but willing to accept it, I think. Our local school, where she'd be going, has nickelodeon listed and linked as one of their resources for pre-k students to go to on their website. That worries me.
I want to put her in school because I feel like she needs the socialization part. I feel like her behavior issues are control oriented and she needs to learn how to work with others. I feel like she's going to need an IEP. Her issues IMO will most certainly affect her education.
And then, I sorta feel sick to my stomach, and feel like I'm institutionalizing her.. I just don't know how I feel about it. I know my husband will oppose it (even though he wouldn't be doing ANY of the homeschooling and always says "it's up to you" implying that if it backfires it's all my fault). Family members will say "I told you so!", and I'm just.. ugh. I don't know.
I don't have experience putting them in school but I do homeschool and I have a 6yo son who has ADHD and has high-functioning Autism. You wouldn't be able to tell but he does some things that stand out and he has a hard time with social situations like reading cues. I wouldn't put my son into school because he would be eaten alive. I know he would. I don't know all of your daughter's quirks so it could be completely different. Is there other homeschooling families in your area? Any groups you could join? With my son I prefer to go to outings that I can be there for. I need to make sure he is ok. He would bother a kid so much and the kid could hurt him to make him stop. I feel I need to be there to intervene and help guide my son.
If you are wanting to homeschool I would search out play groups for socialization and you could still have your child go to someone for help. They don't have to be in school. I haven't decided if we are going to get help for my son or if I am going to continue to research about him and help him myself. The answer doesn't have to be school if you don't want it to be. I guess it all depends on what you really want and make it happen. I want to homeschool so I do all that I can to make that happen. If you would rather school or think that may be best then you could do that. Follow your heart and instincts. There is also a lot of places on the internet (like groups for parents) that you can get support from specifically for your daughter. Good luck. :)
I think academically, she will be fine if you put her in Kindergarten next year. They really aren't expected to know much and it is mostly play and circle time and stuff like that. If it doesn't go well you could always pull her out. The services a school could provide might be beneficial. Can you find out if any school type services would be available to you as a homeschooler?
I also think she would be fine if you don't do school. Connecting with the local homelearning communities would be big help. If you aren't already involved you could look for a yahoo group or something. Where I live (BC) there is a very supportive community and I'm not sure I could manage without that. LLL often has other home learning moms too.
I think the real question is: Which environment would best meet both her need and your needs as a family. She's soon going to have 2 younger siblings. Are you going to be able to give her the level of interaction that she needs? It's OK to say "no, I can't do this right now, I need to have help from people who are skilled in dealing with quirky kids." Would she thrive in such an environment? A lot of it depends on the set up. It's also OK to say "I don't think this set up would be good for my child and she'd be better off at home." It's also OK to try school and decide to homeschool later if her needs change.
But... you can't tell without investigating all the options. Given what you've said elsewhere about your income level and her developmental issues, there's a good chance she'd be eligible for Head Start or another developmental preschool next year. Now is the time to start investigating those services with your school district.
Then go visit the elementary school. Talk to the teachers and the principal. Observe how things are run. Get a feel for the place. My kids are in public school. While we're not TV free, I've seen very little (if any) influence from TV in their classrooms or their materials. Yes, some of the other kids wear Mario Bros tshirts. Some of the valentines are commercial characters. Every once in a while, as a treat, they see a movie (as in the day it was raining an inch an hour with fierce winds -- they had the option of seeing a movie in the library for recess.) That's about it. Our kids are well aware of our family values because they live them the rest of they day. They still choose to spend time with us over anything else (and they're 7 and 10). We're active at school. The teachers know us and we can go to them when there are issues.
If you're going to be doing the educating, than this is your decision to make. If your husband isn't going to support you in homeschooling, then you need to do what's best for you, your daughter and the rest of the family. Personally, I'd see what the school system can do for you. If it feels OK, do it. If it doesn't, then you've made your decision based on knowledge and not fear.
My DD (ASD, extreme sensory issues, anxiety, gross motor and fine motor issues, etc) homeschooled until she was 12. Then we made the very, very difficult decision to put her in school. There were some good things about homeschooling her when she was younger, but we had absolutely exhausted every option and possibility. Trying school was a last resort. I lost friends over this decision, and between admitting that I was trying so hard to do wasn't working and others acting like I was letting down "the movement" it kinda broke my heart.
School brought some issues to a head with her. I feel that homeschooling had masked how behind/different she was. Denial is sweet with a special needs child, and homeschooling makes it easier.
My DDs first year in school was rough, and we ended up switching her from a traditional public school (which was a wonderful school with a very caring staff) to a private alternative school. My DD is currently thriving. We will never go back to homeschooling.
You asked how I came to feel better about it -- and for me that was realizing that it is my job to be the best parent possible to the child that I was given to raise. The question isn't about me, or what I think, or my philosophy of education, or what books I've read or anything else.
What it is about is being willing to just do what is right for my kid for now. That's all I've got. That's all any of us have. We may differ on what we think is best for our specific child in this specific moment, but that's all it boils down it.
For her the advantages of being in school have included:
- having other adults working at interacting with her.
- access to professionals who trained and experienced at teaching things like math to a kid with a slower processing speed
- a chance to develop independence
- the opportunity to meet other kids who are like her.
- having a mom who gets real breaks, and is therefore more emotionally available
Ultimately, what helped me feel better about putting her in school was seeing her thrive. It took a couple of years for that to happen, but it is happening now.
For me, sorting out what was best for my child was tough. Each of us has a different kid, and we each have different options for schools. Even homeschooling is really different from place to place. My comments are not meant to imply that *all* children would be better off in school, just to state that *mine* is.
but everything has pros and cons
That was extremely helpful, Linda. Thank you!
It's just a tough place to be in. I'm not a part of any homeschooling groups (yet.. none too near me) so there's no peer pressure to homeschool. Our local elementary school isn't too bad. I worry about high school. I made another post about that in the Education forum.. but our school system sucks past grammar school.
I'm going to talk to the OT tomorrow after she does her reassessment, and see where she thinks DD is developmentally.
High school is SO far away, don't even think about it now. I know all about planning and worrying but really, please take it one year at a time even month by month. I'll agree with Linda and Lynn on just about everything. I HSed DD1 until she was 6.5 and then she entered 1st grade. It was not an easy decision at all, she did not want to go to school. I also had two other children, she was the oldest, I could not meet DD1's needs anymore. And frankly, after being with such an intense child day in and day out, I need some space from her. I has reached a wall where quality won over quantity. It has been 3 years since and while she is still a very intense child, she loves school, does quite well there considering all her challenges. It was a very good decision for us. I do lose some friends over it and felt like I had to eat some words. I had been home schooled and swore for years that I would do the same for my children and then here I was, putting her in a school. At the end of the day though, you have to do what is best for your child and for yourself. DD1 would of remained very happily at home, it was her comfort zone, it was safe, she needed loving guidance to be pushed outside of it. Our lives are all greatly enriched because she goes to school.
I totally agree with this. There's really no way of knowing what your DD will be like then or what your options will be like. The way things worked out for my Dd isn't something that we could have anticipated at all. She's going to a very cool alternative school, but we moved for my DH's job. There wasn't a school like this in the last city we lived in.
Sometimes things just work out.
Focus on the now.
but everything has pros and cons
I have not read the responses, saw your original post. I am currently homeschooling dc who is dx'd adhd with anxiety and spd. DC has many tendencies that make us wonder back and forth about Asperger's. DC is 10. We did not go to public prior to homeschool, instead went to a small church school. DC had many experiences because they didn't do ieps that were pretty traumatic. When we looked to put dc in public due to problems, it was clear they were hesitant to do an iep because he was a)above 3rd grade b)functioning well academically c)only dx'd adhd. I have since looked into the public middle school and was told they almost never investigate a child for an initial IEP and would hesitate to do so. Yes, my school system is not great!
I honestly wish that we had put him in public initially. I think we would have had a lot more help figuring things out and seeing what worked/didn't work from that point of view. It would have given us as a family more time also to focus on getting some other areas in our lives (both personal and professional) more completely and quickly. Instead we have struggled with our (overall excellent) healthcare to deal with doctors and other professionals. We live in an area where there are many professionals in the cities (1.5-2 hours away) but almost nothing local (under an 1). Those pros are so overbooked that it creates hardship to deal with them due to appts, travel, etc. Utilizing the school early on would have given us much needed information and allowed us to find ways to work with dc in either a public, private or home setting.
As for homeschooling, it is actually going really well. We however homeschool in a pretty structured style. Most kids who are ADHD or ASD really need that structure so they can expect the outcome of their actions as it gives them much needed control in a world that can seem uncontrollable. He is not a kid that could completely unschool as he has very focused interests but not enough orginizational skills to direct the outcomes of his interest at this point. I see that now we are developing some as time goes on, but part of that is the routine he has been taught.
I hope your family can find a happy medium. If homeschooling is your eventual path, getting her the help she needs now can only help to make that successful in the long run!
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