Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why do I do this?

I started this post 5 days ago and then let it sit for awhile. I think I'm going to go ahead and post it, though. The feelings haven't changed since I wrote it, though I'm not feeling as emotional about it all. It is what it is. We are experiencing a challenging time and I think it's natural to question the path we are on, especially as we face a looming transition - in this case, high school for Austin. It also helps that Reece is sleeping again - 3 nights in a row now after 2 full weeks of being up at night. In fact, it's 9:30 in the morning and she (and her siblings) are all still sound asleep! I even slept in until 7:30 this morning. (How funny... she's up now! Must have heard me typing about her!) OK, so here is the post:

The reason I haven't been posting much about our home education journey lately is that there just hasn't been much to talk about. I'm going to be very transparent here. That's one of my goals with this blog. Homeschooling hasn't been fun for a long time. Not even a little bit. In fact, I have found myself wondering lately why I even do it. This is our 9th year of homeschooling, and some days I wish we had never started. Lots of kids with autism do very well in public school. The only thing that prevents me from putting everyone in public school is the fact that the schools we're zoned for are poor performing schools. We can't afford private school. Then I start thinking I should get a job and try to move to better schools or put everyone in various private schools (since Austin and Reece couldn't get into the kind of school where I would put Riley, because of their academic challenges).

I know the pressure of high school coming this fall has taken a real toll on me. Austin is seeing a local homeschool consultant this week for the 2nd part of comprehensive testing. I am hopeful that she will be able to help me figure out how to get him through high school. And he likes her a lot. So maybe if she tells him that he will have to stay in high school until he can finish all of the math requirements, then he will listen to her. And I hope she will help me figure out how I'm supposed to do this. She is a Christian woman, so she will help me keep a proper perspective, and since she is a homeschool proponent, I don't think she will encourage me to put everyone in school. (That is the reason I'm using her, rather than one of the area psychologists.)

It's also been very challenging with Riley. She is head-long into being a pre-teen (she'll be 12 next month but she looks and acts like she's 14, at least). She and I butt heads from the moment she wakes up. She argues with me during her lessons every single time. I remind her that if she won't allow me to teach her, then she'll have to go to school. And I have to stay on her constantly to get her work done. I've been considering having her evaluated for ADHD. My biggest concerns are her distractibility, her impulsiveness (saying whatever comes to her mind without regard to anyone's feelings), and her inability to recognize when she is breaking the rules and/or being disrespectful. Other people have noticed these traits as well, and have commented on them.

Reece is so young still (chronologically and developmentally) that the biggest challenge is that she has nothing that she can do independently. She doesn't have that many lessons, and the ones she has don't take much time, but when I have two other people that I have to teach, and I can't just hand her something to work on, it becomes quite overwhelming.

That was all I got to write before I just had to stop. I'm not sure if there is anything else to add, really. It's a rough time. We'll do the best we can. :)


Anonymous said...

Hello! I found your blog after searching for info. on the WTM board as to whether it is realistic to attempt a rigorous Classical Christian education with my newly-diagnosed 13-year-old Aspie/ADHD son. I've been reading through some of your archives and have found your experiences with Austin helpful. Is it possible to email you privately? (couldn't find your email here). I'd like to ask you for some input if you'd be willing to share. Blessings, Shelly

Anonymous said...

I think you are not alone. NO... I mean I KNOW you aren't alone. I homeschool my 10 year old, he has AS as well as other complex emotional issues. I think he also has sensory integration and auditory processing issues. I feel your pain as you write this. I have homeschooled my son for the last 2 years. And every week it seems I threaten that he either cooperate or he is going to the public school system and going to have to adjust (and I feel like not caring any more how he does because of the arguements and all). My husband isn't a homeschool advocate, although he sees the benefit, he thinks our son is taking advantage of the situation. Someone compared their child with AS as one who is willfully stubborn. That is my son. I also have a 3 year old. Totally opposite, probably neuro typical, but I have no idea what that is after raising my oldest thinking he was normal until 1st grade. And even getting the AS diagnosis was a long path. Sometimes it doesn't seem like AS, he seems normal. Of course he is in a lower stress situation at home. But sometimes out of nowhere or so it seems, this caged animal comes out and I play heck to get him to comply, cooperate, or even be respectful. It takes some serious knuckling down on things here for that animal to calm down. Sometimes it takes me a few days to figure out what knuckling down is. It is really hard work for me, because I am not a dictator, but during those episodes, I need to be. Sorry, didn't mean to out write you. But I wanted you to know you are not alone. You need to always reasses why you chose to homeschool, what is best for your children and what is best for your family. From what I have read so far, you are doing a great job. Give yourself a big hug.