Thursday, January 20, 2011

I envy you

After a gut-wrenching mental tug-of-war, we've decided to take a step back from homeschooling. We're not quiting, we are "suspending until further notice". When we decided to homeschool Caleb, he had no diagnosis. We weren't even aware of a lot of his problems. I still feel that I know my child best, and can teach him with understanding and love that no one else can't. But currently, I don't feel equip to deal with his Autism in the school setting. I will learn, but right now, we are just trying to implement strategies into our daily lives to ease the stress for both boys. We feel like we need to focus on generalizing the picture scheduling and the sensory diets before implementing that into curriculum. It has always been our strategy to evaluate each child individually, every year, to make sure we are giving them, academically, what is best. Whether that be homeschool, public school or private school. And right now, for Caleb and Andrew, they have the best resources, and the most intensive help at this pre-school. The school has "structured" classrooms, where they structure their day to suit children on the spectrum. Down the line, after studying and practice, I may be ready to take on homeschooling again, with one or both of the boys. But for now, we feel like this is what is best for them. This choice doesn't mean we'll be any less involved in their educations, and I understand my role as their advocates. They will get what they need to flourish, and we'll make sure of that.

Another major reason we have chosen pre-school for Caleb is his current anxieties about leaving the house have worsened. With picture scheduling, I think we can relieve a lot of the stress, but he needs more consistent exposure in the community. I AM NOT saying that he isn't getting proper socialization, the stereotypical argument against homeschooling. This is a problem rooted in the Autism, transition anxiety. I don't have the means to be out of the house all day with all three of my kids. There's no way I can do that alone with 3 kids 5yrs old and under, 2 on the spectrum and the other is still under 1 yr old. Planning day-trips, every day, or multiple times a week could send me straight to the looney bin (sorry that's not PC).

I would be doing Caleb a true disservice if I played to my pride and ignored my shortcomings in special education... A realization I've had to come to, is that being a good mom, means doing what is best for your child, even if it isn't you, and even if it wasn't part of "the plan."

For more obvious reasons we are sending Andrew to the preschool, he needs more intensive therapy. He is so young. He just turned 3 and I'm not ready to give up both my babies all at once, but that's what will happen Monday. Most Mom's go through the tear-jerking process of sending their kids off to school for the first time, I'm doing it with both boys, all at once. I'm going to be a mess.

Learning your child has Autism triggers a grieving process. And with any grieving process, you are forced to reevaluate your life and your future. It's very hard to accept that our lives will look drastically different now than our "plan" just months ago.

Like I said, this has been a gut-wrenching process and decision for me (and Dave). Many Americans probably won't understand my struggle, as their kids attend day-care or their plan has always been group schooling. But that wasn't our plan. Right now my life consists of hanging out with three of my best friends, all day long. I get to share their lives with them, all the little moments, all the victories, all the teachable moments, all the little joys that I'll miss while they're at school. 

To Caleb and Andrew's new teachers, I hope you see what makes them special and appreciate the beauty and sweetness of their quarks, I envy you.

Homeschool Top Sites - Best Homeschool Sites on the Internet
Homeschooling Blogs
Powered By Ringsurf
Homeschool Gold