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Still unsure....

Last post 10-16-2008 1:22 PM by Stormio. 4 replies.
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  • 08-12-2008 1:17 PM

    Still unsure....

    Hi, I am a single-again mom of two boys, ages 3 and 5.  They both have ADHD, the 5yo has bipolar disorder, and the 3yo has global developmental delays.  I see SO many positive things about homeschooling, and now that I am planning to stay home for a while, it seems like a good time to do it.  However, I am worried that I might NEED that time away from my boys to recharge and get things done at home.  They both have such high needs, school would really be my only respite.........  My family thinks I am crazy to even consider it, the caseworkers/case managers for the boys think it would be too much for me.....  my ex is not as involved as he could be (sees them a few hrs per week).  My 5yo needs some OT - has an IEP for 1 hr per week at K, my 3yo is in a therapeutic preschool, getting OT,PT,Speech and Developmental Therapy - he may be placed back on the autistic spectrum soon, and has a lot of sensory issues also.

    I would love to try and balance a bit of both - but I know after 6+hrs at school, my K-er won't' want to sit and "work" with mommy!!  I think my 3yo should finish his program (2 more yrs) - its working for him and he is thriving.  My 5yo will be one of the oldest in his class this year, so I don't want to "make a mistake" on this decision - has anyone started in PS and then pulled out to HS, or vice versa?? 

     I would hate to take it on and have to stop because I am going crazy with them around 24/7 !!!  With their high needs, they require therapeutic parenting - which is exhausting on a good day!  Adding teaching and no time away might just be too much....???

     Any ideas??  Thanks in advance for any input!!

  • 08-12-2008 7:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Still unsure....



    I also have a Asperger boy starting in 8th grade.  He currently is in a special program for Aspergers/ASD.  However, we may be relocating later this year and I am concerned as well about the transition, and thinking ahead, I think homeschooling would be the best choice after we move.

    I would think seriously about special programs being offered in your area.  I don't know what state your in, but here the school districts offer some wonderful day treatments for ADD, and Bi-Polar disorder students.  When they get the theraputic component, it often helps them learn the coping skills to help deal with the stress and socialization in their environment.  Ask yourself if having both boys home now would benefit them more, or would they be happier making new friends at school? 

    I know with my son with a multi-diagnosis the day treatment class was great!  Now that he is older and "calmer", he is able to take on more challenges that otherwise 5 years ago could not.

    Good luck!





  • 08-12-2008 9:35 PM In reply to

    • a
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-27-2007
    • Posts 21

    Re: Still unsure....

    Hi there,

    Like many of us who walk this journey, you are certainly facing some tough decisions.  I would like to offer my personal experiences from taking my child out of PS (finished K and 1st gr. PS - before that we did private pre-school and pre-k).  Private school did not have the resources to offer specialized/ individual attention to our differently abled child.  We figured that PS would have the resources (IEP, Learning Support, OT,PT,Vision etc) so we made that transition.  We quickly learned (again this was our personal experience within our distrct) that although our child had an IEP and adaptations were to take place and therapies were to be given it still wasn't truly geared to our child's individual needs.  PS is a working system that must still meet the needs of  the masses.  Even though the resources were there they were limited on staff, funding and time to provide those resources that would have best met the needs of our child. "Group" therapy took place often, time was very limited and not all needs were being met.  It was like the job was half done...the needs were acknowledged and documented, but the individuality of the services were truly not in place.  It looked good on paper, but the reality was he was slipping through the cracks quickly.  Our son needed quiet space with less sensory stim. to focus.  School was a sensory overload for him.  Being isolated in a hallway was more like punishment and not necessarily meeting the needs of our child.  Being sent back to mainstream class b/c he had such high anxiety about his reading in front of his reading support "group" was not meeting the needs of our child.  Where was the 1:1 interaction and intervention?!?!

    These were just a few scenarios that we contended with.  We struggled through the inconsistency of therapists, constantly having to educated new teachers, therapists, etc.  So much was lost during that time period that this would have been the same pattern year after year.  These experiences and the constant bullying that our son endured created extreme anxiety about ever setting foot back in a school environment.  Those experiences along with personal philosophies brought us to choose homeschooling.  Were we scared?  You better believe it!  Could we make this work for a child that has different abilities and doesn't fit the mainstream?  How could we possibly know what to do???  These were questions that I think any homeschooling family who sits in the same boat will ask themselves.

     After great soul searching we came to a few conclusions.

    1. When we were handed this child at birth and told of the future that he may endure we never questioned could we parent him.  The answer was simple.  We will do whatever we need to do for him to give the best quality of life...whatever that needs to be...mainstream or didn't matter.

    2. We would attempt any intervention, program, therapy that we could learn about...constantly educating ourselves of the multitude of possibilities.  There are many paths that we could travel.  If one doesn't fit then we try something else and customize things until it works.  We have used integrative therapies, traditional/non-traditional etc.  We customize our homeschooling to focus solely on the immediate needs of our child in the moment which empower him for a successful future and allow us to move forward with his educational needs....this is all done in baby steps.  The beauty of homeschooling is you can customize things as much as needed.   There is no magic curriculum...only compromise and adaptation works.

    3.  We kept in mind that the goal of therapy was not to have him in it is to build skills and implement them in the home, school, community setting...empowereing him and us so that we ultimately have the therapeutic control...the therapists give us the tools to implement therapeutic techniques-  ultimately we are the one's that need to do the real work.  Therapist have been our consultants.  We take breaks as needed.

    4. We realized that our child will do things in his own way and in his own time.  As long as we see forward development things are going to be OK!

    5. We must take time for ourselves and stay healthy in mind, body and soul.  With a worn out or sick parent there isn't much to offer our child.  Taking care of ourselves must take top priority.

    You're gut instinct is probably a good instinct when it comes to recognizing that your K'er will not want to do school and then come home and sit w/mommy for more "school" time.  From our experience my child tried to hold it together all day and then melted down after school and decompressed for hr's afterward.  If your 3 yo's program is working and things are going well...maybe it would be best to not try to fix something that isn't broken. 

    Just b/c you pull one out and start to HS doesn't mean that it is what is best for everyone.  Maybe you could transition into full fledge homeschooling by starting out with the 5 yo and keep the 3 yo in their specialized program.  This will give you time to really work 1:1 with your 5 yo and establish your homeschooling.  Get to know your child's learning style before moving into curriculum purchasing/implementation.  Take some real time for observation. Can you request for any services to cont. to be implemented by the PS while HS'ing?  This is the law here...the PS is required to offer therapies if a homeschooler requests it and there is a determined need for it.  Sometimes this therapy can take place in the home environment.  Sometimes you may have to do things at the school.  Often times we get what we pay for and if you have insurance that will pay for private therapy...well, that is generally the better option.  Either way, you are still addressing your child's needs and gaining the tools and education to implement things in the home.  There are in-home therapeutic programs that many use and that is part of meeting the homeschool requirements.

    Join support groups specifically geared toward homeschoolers with special needs children.  You will be amazed at the support and resources others have to offer.  Just b/c you don't have a teacher certification in special ed. or a therapeutic background does not mean that you can't homeschool your children.  There isn't a special certification that we needed to be parents of these kiddos...but we still qualify to be their parents right?!?!  Who says that we can't know as much if not more about our children and their needs than what some of the "experts" have to say.  You know your children better than anyone else...a certification does not make someone know them better than you.  They just specialize in the field.  Use them for what they are worth and work with them as a team when necessary. 

    As far as what others have to say...such as family members...keep in mind that they are just voicing the own personal fears.  You have the same fears but they have just verbalized them out loud directly to you.  In the end you are the parent and you have the control to make the best possible choices for your children.  Thank them for their concern and leave it at that.  Try not to feed into it or get defensive.  Many are just not educated about homeschooling so they have nothing to compare it to other than mainstream.  You are taking the road less traveled (although becoming a more common road these will be amazed by how many homeschoolers there really are!).  Travel the journey as you need to for your family.  You set the speed.

    Homeschooling is a lifestyle.  Learning takes place in common daily events 24/7.  Some days will be great and others days not so great...take one day at a time and eventually you will get to where you need to be.  Keep posting here in the forums, reach out to others for they will be your lifeline some days.  Read the columns is titled "Special Needs, Special Joys"  Great ideas can be passed around and knowledge can be gained from those ideas if you just inquire.

    Most importantly, when you do get some alone time and get a break savor it and use it to your benefit.  Can you apply for any type of respite care through your county services?  Try to set-up a support network and give yourself the time to re-group and recharge when necessary.

    I know this is long, but I do hope that it has helped somewhat.  We are here for you so keep on posting and get empowered along the way!

    Best of luck,

    ~ a


  • 08-17-2008 1:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Still unsure....

     I am a single mother too and it can be very tiring to work at home and home school too. It is rewarding and I love it, but I have an 

    easy child who loves to learn. So I applaud you for considering it, yet if it's too much for you don't feel like you have to do it. It

    may be better for you to enjoy your afternoons, evenings, and weekends with your kids instead of having them all the time.

    You can still teach them on their time off from school and see how it goes. You can always try next year when your life is settled 

    down a bit. Don't bite off more than you can handle especially if you are newly single. Maybe as time goes by they will settle down

    and homeschooling will be more of a possibility. Take care and just remember only you know what is right for your kids no mater

    what family and friends may say. Good luck!

  • 10-16-2008 1:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Still unsure....

    Still unsure,

    Where do I begin? I am a divorced, single parent raising 2 boys ages 10 & 12. (going on 2 & 20 simultaneously... one minute throwing temper tantrums like 2 year olds and the next demanding "adult priveleges" (like visiting with their friends without mom hanging over their shoulder or not telling them to wash their face, but then they get exasperated because I asked, when they hadn't done so to begin with). I work full time from home and 1 part time job out of the home. I am looking online to see whatelse I can do to financially take care of the 3 of us as well, because my ex feels his needs supercede that of his children's and we receive no child support.

    My 10 yr old son has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. He is very bright but is physically challenged and thus I think that plays a huge impact into his behavior. He is 200% emotion. Even though just 2 1/2 yrs away from those teen years, our life is very roller coaster. He is much like his father (verbally and and physically abusive in a very minor way (I know many who may read this automatically visually jump to the bruised eyes/broken wrists thought process and that is not at all what I mean. (his demeanor worries me even more because he spends very little time with his father (another one of those fathers that the kids don't see often). But when he is rolled his emotion meter the other way, he is all love, kindness, thoughtfulness, etc... My other child on the other hand, the 12 year old, is a clam. Thoughtful, generous, great christian, but doesn't have a whole lot to share... good or bad (much like myself when I was younger).

    I had no intentions of homeschooling. However, I felt God really pressed it upon me. We have been homeschooling a month (So I am no pro... but we have now experienced both worlds). As another mother mentioned on another response, it is new to us so it is challenging at first. And we are STILL learning and figuring out our routine. However, each day is a little better (or at least I keep telling myself that...LOL). It really is. It is TIME-CONSUMING. There is no doubt about that. I never had any spare time before, b/c as you mentioned with your children, we too have lots of dr's appts, we have therapy appts, our routines take us a little longer for it is hard for my son with CP to move about as easily as most of us. I am up at 3am most mornings to get my company work done, showering by 7 and getting the kids up and ready, school begins at 8am for us, ends on some days by 2:45 (others earlier) so that we can immediately leave for their afternoon activities (wheelchair basketball for my 10 yr old and orchestra for my 12 yr old (this consumes 5 of our 7 days on a regular week not counting the weekend tournaments and concerts that are out of town)

    I spend my weekends planning their lessons, cleaning etc... I basically have lost all me time (please keep in mind, my kids are also jr high age too... I don't know how difficult it is to HS 3 & 5 yr olds b/c I never have... I'm just giving you the viewpoint of PS to HS)

    POINT 1 - NOW, I realize that this may all sound overwhelming and OMG, BUT I promise you when I say this... I woudln't change it. I LOVE learning with my children. Getting them excited about something. Following along and understanding what they are working on in school. Keeping them a little more tuned into God vs. Gossip. Their friends come over, or I speak with my fellow friends and hear about their children in PS and I am so glad God is helping mold my children in their base-foundational building years, instead of the peers in school.... all the teens going through their very typical, but very disturbing rebelious stages. I am not saying my boys won't be pressured in some of the same areas, but it is curbed to a limited amount of time that they are subjected to a constant of peer pressure, negativity, and rebeliousness.

    POINT 2, that being said, I am also GLAD my children went to PS. They learned social skills, they made friends, they've been involved in school projects (band and choir). It's kind of like they have had the best of both worlds. They have had the opportunity to learn how to sit in a structured classroom setting. They have had to learn how to sit under the tutelage of a variety of teachers (at least a different one per grade). They learned they are capable of following rules or suffering the consequences (no playground time, or sit in the principal's office, etc...) and capable of being on time (my oldest son's jr high punished with afterschool detention after 3 tardies... he only received detention once before he learned never to be tardy again. (This does have to be established in the house for homeschooling that obedience/disobedience will result in good/bad consequences... depending on the if they did or didn't.... you must be consistent with this or they will walk all over you.... just like the PS is consistent)

    POINT 3 -Having a challenged child in school is a tall order to fill as a parent. Bottom line, there are some schools that support you and your child in the way he/she should be supported. ALOT of schools however, try to get away with as little as they can. Yes, I realize that resources are limited, but bottom line, they are provided the funds for your child.... regardless of whether he/she falls under IDEA 504, the ADA or the IEP. Actually I think the ADA might be our state thing, but every state has plans for challenged children/adults. If you decide to PS, be prepared to put forth (possibly) as much effort in battling the school as you might battling your child in  HS. The difference... there is an element of satisfaction when you finally get what you want from the PS meetings, but it is so emotionally exhausting it can leave you overwhelmed and in tears all because you had to fight a group of grown adults (who are not challenged) for needs to be met on behalf of your (challenged) child. However, the real difference is, that you may battle your child and you may have a lot of battles with him, BUT it is a LOT MORE REWARDING between his acknowledgement of understanding, his excitement of learning and your shared hugs and kisses throughout the day.

    I'm glad my children and I have been lucky enough to experience both....  but in the end... would you want someone else to tell you about your child's first word, first step, first bite of grown-up food, or first tooth coming in? Schooling is much the same way... .it is way more exciting to do it with them (not to mention how much I am learning all over again).

    I do not know if you are a christian or not, but if you believe in God, I highly recommend just trying to listen to Him and be intuitive to the message He is trying to send you either way. You and your kids can be happy either way... nothing comes easy, especially happiness. But I do believe you can pull through, be thankful of all surrounding blessings and with perserverence, diligence, motivation, determination and prayer... you and your children will succeed in whatever route you choose.

    I know I gave alot of overwhelming challenges, but the main paragraph of everything I said can be summed up in the paragraph above this one.

    Have a beautiful and blessed day! I wish you and your family the best of luck (by the way, everyone still thinks I'm crazy for homeschooling... and i am more and more glad every day to be homeschooling (or at least most days))

    If you have any questions, I will be glad to help in any way I can.  










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