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homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

Last post 06-07-2009 8:41 AM by Moemax. 5 replies.
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  • 01-22-2009 4:41 PM

    homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

    Hello, I am new to this site, and have not yet started homeschooling. I really want to homeschool my children and have for years but my daughter kinda complicated that. I've sent her to school for the past 2 years because I felt inadequate, she has cerebral palsy. But I have already questioned the "learning" she's recieving. I've taken her out of school on Fridays for outpatient therapy she misses the whole day because we go to speech and physical therapy about an hour away and school on top of it is too much for her. They did not like that very much but I feel I need to be a big part of her therapy and if I'm not there seeing what they are doing how can I continue it at home? She used to get at home therapy... physical, occupational and speech. But now that she's in school they see her there. Only about once a month each too. That I feel is not enough. So I've already started to I guess basically teach her at home, by going to each of those therapies once a week and we continue what we work on thoughout the week. But I'm not sure about doing it all at home.

     I also have a 5 year old, very bright and very eager learner. She taught herself so many things and they all come naturally to her. I think we'd have fun teaching her at home and she'd learn much more here. But I don't want her to miss out on anything. I know about the associations and everthing, and am waiting to speak to someone from my area right now.

     And I've also got a 17 month old who is so clingy, hopefully she soon gets less attatched. My husband is currently deployed to Iraq also. So I've got a lot on my plate at the moment. I'm not complaining or anything, but I want to know if there are other mothers out there who are going through kind of the same things and are able to homeschool. To know if homeschooling a special needs child, a "normal" child and having a toddler can be done all at the same time. I understand that it will be work and time consuming, but I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to give my children the best I can give.

  • 01-27-2009 9:31 AM In reply to

    • a
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-28-2007
    • Posts 21

    Re: homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

     HI there,  I just finished reading your story and I can relate to this in many ways.  I have 2 children w/a rare genetic syndrome.  Both of my children have had early interventions, many therapies to help w/muscle tone, balance, coordination, speech and vision therapy.  My oldest is 12 and we have been hs'ing him for the past 4 yrs.  At first we tried a private school for pre-K and K.  They did not have the resources to help him where he struggled the most.  Things went ok while he was in a smaller class, but as he progressed the class size got larger and he regressed.  During this time pd. we sought out private therapies for everything!  When we realized that a private school could not help him specifically with his special needs we began to consider hs'ing.  When we announced this to family and friends we got negative feedback.  How could we do that to him and not give him the "specialized" education he deserves?  This was a disservice to our son everyone told us!  No One supported our decision and we were lead to believe that we could not possibly do this on our own!

    During that desision making process my DH needed to re-locate due to his job.  I found out I was pregnant w/baby #2 and pregnancy and I don't get along very well!  While my Dh left to find us housing and get settled in his new position I was selling a house, struggling w/pregnancy and a special needs little boy.  How could I possibly take all of this on myself?  I was already struggling and exhausted.  We decided to try out the public school (which was ranked #2 in the county that we lived in).  We put him in K again.  The 1st yr. went ok.  We had a seasoned teacher.  He made it through that K yr. w/half-day schedule and small class size.  We were introduced to the IEP process etc.  All the while we cont'd to seek private therapy for him.  We quickly learned that the therapy they gave him in school was NOTHING compared to what he received in Early Interventions or privately.  He ended up having group therapy sessions for 30 min. 1x/wk.  The group consisted of at least 8-10 kids at once.  He received NO one-on-one time w/any therapist in PS.  

    After the first yr. in PS we decided (b/c of life circumstances) to try 1st gr. in PS.  We had a new baby in the house and he too was diagnosed w/the same genetic the process started all over again w/baby #2...Early Interventions etc.  Again, we re-evaluated the PS situation and since K wasn't too terribly bad we tried again and put our oldest in 1st gr.  Long story short, It was a NIGHTMARE!  He was now in a lger class, a newer teacher etc.  He was constantly struggling academically, physically, socially etc.  We had MANY mtgs. w/the teachers, specialist etc.  So often we felt unheard in mtgs.  In their eyes we weren't specialists...just clueless parents.  At the end of 1st gr. (we somehow made it through that yr?!?!) there was NO question in my mind where this child needed to be.  He needed to be where he was most understood and respected.  He needed to be where his needs were being met...not the needs of an institution!  We decided enough was enough, we watched our child regress in PS, lose his self-esteem etc.  We then decided to follow our instincts...NOT everyone elses opinions (which were based on ignorance and fears!).  The following school yr. we began hs'ing.

    During the 1st yr. of hs'ing we had moved and between both children we were working with 8 different therapists!  A new town, new tharpists, no extended family support.  We were literally on our own or so I thought.  Then I started to find local hs groups, we reached out to other hs'ers in similar situations etc.  We were suddenly not so alone or clueless.  And after watching our son relax and not be so stressed out all of the time he began to learn again!  

    He is old enough now to explain to us how K and 1st gr. made him feel.  It does break my heart when I hear those feelings.  His wish is HS forever!  He has made great progress, often taking baby steps and then suddenly it's leaps and bounds!  I will not lie to can be draining w/out the right support.  If you have any friends or family that can help (even just to lend an ear for you to bounce things off of) take the help!  The 1st yr. was mostly spent unschooling and in therapy.  It was an adjustment yr.  It was hard teaching a lesson while having a baby that wanted mommy ALL of the time!  But, we didn't give up, we worked around difficulties, adapted curriculum and unschooled often.  Playing educational games, taking some field trips w/other hs'ers etc.

    This CAN be done!  Listen to your gut unstincts about the choices you must face.  The specialist may be trained in a specific area of development, but they are NOT trained in caring for your whole child.  Only you are the specialist in that regard!  This is coming from a mom who went to college to be an educator, realized before she had children that something was calling her to do something different w/her own kids when it came time for them to go to school.  That is why we inititally chose private school.  I personally spent time as a teacher in both the private and public settings. As an educator I don't ever want to step foot again in a PS!  For us HS is best!  My son has freinds that respect him now and understand him.  They support his differences.

     I wish you much luck with your future endeavors.  Please, know that the HSI community is here for you.  HSI can help to educate and guide you with the process.  It is good that you have contacted your local HS community too!  Keep in touch with us here at HSI!

    Best Wishes,


  • 01-27-2009 12:44 PM In reply to

    Re: homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

    Thank you for replying. Your advice is very helpful. I havn't told many of our family yet what I'm planning to do. Some of my family knows and is very supportive already, but my husband's family and all our friends do not know yet. I've said things kind of by chance before about wishing I homeschooled and they laughed it off. Hopefully this will open their minds a little. But this is something I feel strongly about and thank you for the encouragement to listen to my gut instincts. I wish I had listened a year ago! And yes, there are many specialists, but they're only specialists in one feild... I'm the one who knows her and every aspect of her.

     Thank you again!

  • 03-04-2009 4:08 PM In reply to

    • mgipp
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-04-2009
    • Posts 1

    Re: homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

    Hey there, I am also thinking about the homeschooling for my son. He is also special needs. He is 13 years old and in grade 7 and goes to a regular school. I have not been happy with his learning progress there. He has not progressed at all in so many years. I deal with the same problems each year and he hates school. He always gets in trouble because they say he doesn't listen, he doesn't stay in his seat, he get bullied and picked on. My son James is A.D.H.D. and developmentally delayed (he functions at a Kindergarten to grade 1 level in all areas) Born at 25 weeks gestation, he was 1 pound 6 oz. (soul survivor of triplets. His early birth resulted in brain damage due to oxygen intubation. Now at age 13 he weighs 46 pounds. I have been struggling with the idea of homeschooling my son because I don\t know the rules for special needs children in regards to reporting his progress. What if he doesn't progress at home the way others feel he should be? His school over the last few years hasn't shown any progress. I know how you feel. I am a certified teacher (just finished Teachers College last year) and still looking for work. I am overwhelmed with the idea. You do seem to have a lot more on your plate than I do and I commend you for how you are reaching out. You definitely love your children and wants best for them. If we don't fight for our kids. Who will. We are our childrens best advocate and as parents who do decide to homeschool our children .... we will stick together and support each other. Im here for you. Hang in there!

    Michelle Gipp

  • 04-23-2009 4:40 PM In reply to

    Re: homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

    Hello I am in my second year of homeschooling . I go through Agora cyber charter School. You can see if it is available in your area by going on line to  they show sample lessons and answer questions, also look for a contact number. I teach a child in 5th grade and on who is in 7th grade but on 5th grade level due to learning disabilities. I am unsure of the extent of needs your child requires with the cerebral palsy? It can be done and I won't lie it is fun and at times seems hectic where nothing seems to go your way. Try new things it is trial and error mostly. Yet I love it so much and do see the growth in education both children receive. I hope I will be allowed to teach my Autistic child he is 16 years old but mentality wise that of a second grader. Hope this helps  (shannon)

  • 06-07-2009 8:41 AM In reply to

    • Moemax
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 06-07-2009
    • Posts 1

    Re: homeschooling child with cerebral palsy, a "normal" 5 year old and having a 17 month old

    Hi Stacey369,

    I have a 4 yr old (almost 5) daughter w/ CP, a 9 yr old, 2yr old & 1 yr old. I hs for the first time this past yr.

    First off I would like to say a big THANK YOU to your husband for his service to our country and to you for holding down the fort while he is gone. I am sure having your husband in Irag is stressfull enough and I very much understanding what it takes daily to have a child w/ special needs. 

    A little history; My daughter with CP walked w/ a walker untill Nov. She had surgery back east and is now walking on her own. The school district we live in came up with a learning plan for our daughter that included PT once a wk. That PT once a wk was great but they wanted to put her in a preschool with children with more mental dissablities. Our daughters CP only affects the muscles in her left side, her cognitive skills are fine. At the point we said "Thank you but no thanks" we decided to homeschool.

    Yes it can be done. We had some very bad days and some very good days. I had many days I thought "we are done I can't do it all. My daughter w/ CP has PT twice a wk, swimm lessons add to that all the little things I have to help her  with thru out the day that normal 4 yr olds can do on their own, homeschooling, house wk ect.

    I did choose a boxed curriculum so lesson plans were done. For us that worked great. I would look thru the wk to see what we were going to work on and would grade the work at the end of everyday.

    Best of luck in you decision.



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