Public, Private, Homeschool…Our decision

After MUCH thinking, rethinking, overthinking, and any other types of thinking you can think of…we have made a final decision! I spoke with a dear friend recently and we decided that people should be told before they become parents, particularly mothers, that you will never be sure about any decision you make again. Ever. This is because foresight is never 20/20, and with special needs kids, hindsight rarely is either. So, we have decided to go with…cue drastic music…Private school! A very small, relaxed Christian school that I can afford because I’ll be teaching there full time next year. Why did I decide to give up my 2 day a week, wonderful job as a preschool teacher? Because this is what I needed to do to get my son in the right school environment for him. (And I might just love it too.)

After only one year in public school, combined with my experience as a teacher, let me give you a picture of how Javan’s special needs are perceived by a typical teacher:

Asperger’s: That’s some kind of autism, right? He’s too smart to have that. And his vocabulary is too good. He doesn’t have autism. Parents are so paranoid and diagnosis-hungry these days!

Bipolar: i.e. “bad kid.” So his Mom didn’t want to discipline him and now he’s a spoiled brat with no self-control. I’ll  show him it isn’t gonna work with me!

ADHD: (rolls eyes) So, the kid’s got energy? Yeah, him and every other kid here. I’ll just make him run it off on the playground and at P.E. and he’ll be fine. His parents probably just let him watch too much t.v.

ODD: (if the teacher is even still paying attention) oppositional defiant disorder? They have an actual NAME for kids who don’t do what they’re told. Back in my day, we’d have been beaten for that behavior and straightened right up.

Sensory Integration Issues: Well, I know what the five senses are…so I guess his don’t work right or something? Nothing I can do about that, so I’ll ignore this one.

Yeah, so you get the picture…he’s labeled a trouble child, the teacher’s don’t have time to consider him during class, don’t care enough to learn about his needs outside of class, and Javan suffers for it. Public school DOES however provide the benefit of FREE  occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Crap! So many people have to put their kids into a situation that they KNOW isn’t right for their kids, just so they can get benefits! At least in Texas, they don’t provide services (except speech) to kids in private or homeschool.

Then there was the homeschool decision. Man, that was a tough one. I know his needs better than anyone. He is more comfortable with me than with anyone else, and more comfortable at home than anywhere else! But the sad fact is…we get sick of each other! We get cabin fever. We need time apart. Is this how it should be? Probably not, but let’s be honest with ourselves here.

Most other private schools cost WAY, WAY too much! And they usually don’t do well with special needs kids because they want to “uphold their academic standards”. i.e. they want their kids to test well to make them look good. We do have one school in town that caters only to special needs kids – it sounds wonderful…except for the whole $7500 a year part.

SO. That leaves us with this wonderful, small school environment where Javan will be in Kindergarten with 2 other students. That’s right. 2. And they will combine with the elementary kids on somethings. So there will be socialization and Javan will learn to comply with other authority figures…at least we hope. I am going to be the Kindergarten teacher for half the day…so we’ll see how that goes. Maybe he will do better in a school environment. We act this way at school, we act this way at home. I just hope he’s not too jealous of the other kids!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JuJu
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 08:08:29

    You’re right, in parenting you NEVER know how your decisions will play out, even if you think them out carefully. You just sometimes have to jump into the situation that feels best and then adjust as needed. I am so proud of you for recognizing situations that weren’t working for you and Javan and working to remedy that. So often, we are tempted to just ‘put up’ with less than ideal situations. You will find the right fit! Javan is so lucky to have you guys for parents. Hang in there. I will be praying for you!

    Reply

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