Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflections...


We're now 5 months into being a homeschooling family.  Our plan was to homeschool Kindergarten, and then drop him gently into grade one next year.  But I feel as though I have unearthed this beautiful gem in homeschooling, that I knew nothing about.  Turns out I love it.  And I don't feel as though we exist in a bubble, I feel like we are a part of a vibrant, lovely community.  I though homeschooling might be isolating, but it is actually quite the contrary.
I wanted to homeschool so that Aiden could get the supports he needed.  I wanted to homeschool so that I could teach him in the way that he'd learn best.  I really feel that both of the goals are being met, and surpassed.  But now I see how homeschooling affects families.  I see families where siblings are growing up together, not seperated from each other all day long.  And how learning isn't seperate from family life, but a natural flow, teaching your own child math and language arts is as natural as teaching them to say please and thank you.  It just feels right. 
I attended an autism support group last night, and the whole meeting was everyone talking about their school concerns.  For us, sending our special needs children to school feels like throwing them out of an airplane without a parachute.  And I'm not complaining about special service teachers here...remember, apart from this year, I am one.  It's just that our kids need a lot of support, and it's not just how they learn, it's also how they cope with the obstacle course of transitions and sensory input of a school environment, I think for  a lot of us, it's their anxiety.  Autism is an anxiety disorder, and our kids are happiest when they feel secure.
They feel secure at home.  I'm not suggesting our kids never leave the house, I work really hard at good socialization, and go, go, go a lot.  But we have a home base, this is where we leave from and go back to.  this is the sacred safe place.  Is that so wrong?
Homeschooling is a valid, valuable option.  It puts the focus on families, and it allows for truly individualized teaching.  When done within a community it provides ample opportunities for socialization and friendships.  I love it.  I love doing it.  I feel so good about being able to put my own experiences and knowledge to work for my own child.  And something that I've heard several times now from parents who have switched to homeschooling, is that it takes the stress out of the children, and out of the entire family.  Because when school isn't working out well for your child, it's not working out for anyone.

4 comments:

  1. Do both of your children have autism?

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  2. My sister's son is severely autistic, he's 10 now. She is always having to advocate for him in the school system: aides, teaches, bus time etc., however she is very glad she's not homeschooling....this is something she thought she wanted to do. I think/know with her personality she would not like it at all and with her sons needs it would add more stress to their lives. He is more stressed and acts out more on the days when there isn't school. But, this is also a good year for him. Last year was not a good classroom setting/teacher for him and he was a mess many days....still the break for both son and mother were much needed.

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  3. Good point Rebekah, I certainly would not say that it is for everyone! It takes a lot of time, a lot of organization and a lot of dedication. Also, it means not being able to work a full time job, which is a MAJOR obstacle.
    School can work out well for some children, I truly believe that too. I'm just saying that this is a very real OPTION for people who feel as panic stricken as I do about school. Our goal has always been to transition to school, it's just that now, when we do that, I know what we'll be missing out on, and it breaks my heart.
    Also, my daughter is just under 2 and not showing any signs of autism.

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