I mentioned in my last post that Riley and I have started discussions on her future plans, and naturally that turned to her future in homeschooling. I've not tried to hide that it's been a challenge to homeschool her for the last few years (middle school), and while it has gotten much, much better this last year, it's still been a struggle.
She is a very different person than I am, or than her siblings are. She takes after her dad, without a doubt, but she is first and foremost her own person. She craves busy-ness! She loves to go from one thing to another and have a lot on her plate. She and I constantly argue about her school work because she will wait until the very last minute and then rush around to get things done - that's how she works best. She loves being busy!
Being busy, unfortunately, does not mesh with our RDI philosophy. "Slow it down" is one of the first things you are taught in RDI parent training. Autistic kids needs it. I think in general MOST people need it. Riley is not one of those people. She is bored at home. She told me that flat-out last week. But she doesn't want to go to full-time school, either. What she wants is to do what several of her friends are doing, which is a hybrid form of homeschooling where they go to classes a couple of days a week and work on assignments at home the rest of the time. These are pretty pricey programs, however, and they are simply not in our budget.
We did discuss the public school high school option. Her first reaction was "NO!" but I suggested that we make an appointment with the guidance counselor and take a tour of the school. We are not obligated in any way by doing this, but it might be nice for both of us to see what they have to offer. We may find out that it's not what either of us wants, or we might be surprised to see that it's a good match for Riley. She doesn't like the idea of getting up in the morning at 5:30, spending all day at school, coming home around 3 and doing homework before spending 2-3 hours a night at dance, coming home to shower and get to bed to do it all again. But it would definitely keep her busy!
A few years ago, I wouldn't have even given public school high school a moment's thought in my brain for her. But she has shown me with some decisions in recent months that she isn't as much of a follower as she used to be. She is thinking deeply and critically about things and making decisions based on her faith, her character, and her knowledge of right and wrong.
Would I be happy for her to go away to school? No. The hybrid option would definitely be the best thing for us, if we could afford it. But I have to acknowledge that I may not be able to give her what she needs at home. And I don't want to hold her back from what she wants to do strictly out of a bias towards homeschooling in general.
If I am supposed to continue to homeschool her, then I have no doubt in my mind that God will shut those doors and provide us with whatever we need for her high school years and to prepare her for her future life. But if He is leading us to put her into school, then I am not going to fight against it. I am simply praying that I follow His lead and remain sensitive and open to his directions. And I hope that you will all pray for me (and for Riley) in that same way!