Homeschooling: Not my first choice, but a good decision.

A (School) Room with a View

As you may have surmised, I am the co-parent to several kiddos. A couple of them I birthed and a couple of them were pretty neat bonus gifts in my marriage to Ned Andrew. All of our kids come with a diagnostic code or two that makes parenting them a little different than the manual would indicate.

B is our only boy-child. He’ll tell you, right up front, that he has autism. What he might not tell you is that he’s scary smart. As in finish-the-Weschler-IQ-test-without-hitting-a-ceiling smart. As in that’s-okay-I-don’t-need-to-go-to-class-I-memorized-the-textbook-the-first-week-of-school smart. Yep. He’s that kid. He can’t tie shoes (seriously) but he could invent better ones.

I homeschooled both of the little kids (as we call the two I birthed) for four years back when I lived in East Tennessee. When we moved to Middle Tennessee in 2007 — so that I could take that job — we made sure to relocate to a county that has an amazing reputation for including kids with disabilities in their general classrooms. It worked for B’s remaining elementary school  years. It didn’t once he got to middle school.

I may sit down and write a long post as to why at some point, but I’ll have to work through some more stuff with my therapist before I can do that in something other than 40 point all caps and without using words that would inspire my grandma to soap my mouth. Let’s just say it wasn’t a good fit and move on, shall we?

Which brings us to the alternatives. It looks something like my being home with a child who learns at the speed of light and moves even faster. I wasn’t sure I was up for it again. I really do enjoy my work and was just getting re-launched in my coaching and facilitation bliss. But I also love, love, love my son and want him to be happy.

So, we came home. I purchased an online curriculum that allows him to pretest on every lesson. We have an agreement that if he scores a 90% or above on the quiz, he can skip the lesson. If he scores below that, he has to study until he scores at least an 80% on the test. This was weird for me at first because I am so not into grades and scores, but, please recall, that my kiddo has autism. He needs to  know the rules and they need to stay the same. Every day. Always. Except when I am teaching him to be flexible. But that’s another post.

We have a semester behind us. Officially 100 days — the state requires 90 — of learning our way. I have to admit that I am enjoying it and B is too. We have a rhythm to our days — we work together in my studio in the morning and then he takes off for his Minecraft/Electronics/Lego NXT/Boy Mess in the afternoon. He educates us on all sorts of fascinating topics each night at dinner. (Yep. We all eat dinner together.) Since we have a no-electronics-after-dinner rule in our house, after his bath, he gets tucked in with a book and typically reads 3-4 titles a week.

Gone are the 10:30 am phone calls from the school to come retrieve my bruised and crying child from yet-another take down by their staff. Gone are the endless projects that require my boy with a significant learning disability in written expression to take that 8-lane-highway brain of his and express his thoughts via bicycle. Gone are the homework battles, the 4-hour IEP meetings, and the worry that all we are accomplishing is the isolation and desolation of this person.

Nope. Homeschooling was not my first choice, but it was definitely a good decision.

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