Our son qualifies for special education services in the school system. We were surprised by the lack of support this actually provides. He was in a small charter school that is known for its emotional and social education programs. For him, in practice, this meant he left the classroom to go to a beloved teacher who had been moved to the office, for calming and re-focus.
I was grateful that they were willing to allow him to take these breaks. But he missed a lot of class time. He left the room so often his teacher refused to do a progress report for him. Too little work was being done. This was obviously not working.
This was our second attempt at kindergarten in a school setting. Our intention was to stay until the end of the year. But by March, with nearly three more months of school to go, things were going downhill. We realized he was losing ground instead of gaining. We needed to do something else. Enter homeschooling.
We find homeschooling is the most flexible choice for our child. We choose what he does within the day. We adjust it around appointments or activities. There is a set amount of “school work”, but it’s minimal. Doing what he can do, plus a small challenge to keep him moving forward.
Throughout the day, we tie in what he is learning. He likes math. Learning multiplication (without calling it that) is a favorite, as we see life in sets of numbers. He is reading now. He seeks out information on signs as we are out and about. And he needs lots of physical activity! It’s built into his day. If we have a day that he needs more, it can be accommodated without any hassle.
For myself, I relax knowing his days are largely predictable. Occasionally, I do insist on an out-of- the-house day. He goes to a drop-in childcare for a couple of hours. It gives me a much-needed break and it is also good practice for his nervous system to be in a large group. The only goal is to have fun and get along with others. He knows he’s there for a short time and he’ll have quiet time when he gets home.
Homeschooling can be a good option for parents with extraordinary kids. There is a lot of support that can be found just by Googling it in your area to connect with other families. As many kids as there are, there are ways to homeschool - find the way that works best for your child, just like we’re doing in all the other areas of their lives.
Learn more about the school choices for your child with a disability.