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I am in a circle of people who seems to believe that home-schooling is the Best Option for education. If a parent does not work outside the home for whatever reason, be it a choice or involuntary, then there is really no "excuse" for not teaching your children at home.

I can see the appeal, insofar as we are always seeing examples of substandard educations, poor (and often dangerous) school conditions, bullying, etc.

But my own daughter, who is 4 and autistic, does go to school outside the home (preschool) and yesterday I was hit with "you could get them to come for your home for therapy, so there's no need to send her to preschool."

Well, preschool isn't exactly mandatory- it's PRESCHOOL for crying out loud- but she enjoys going very much and we have seen some improvement that I was unable to provide at home, but evidently I am a sub-par parent because I couldn't pass muster.

The attitude is Good Parenting = Homeschool (except if both parents MUST work, or if there is only one parent who must work). Bad, selfish, lazy parenting = sending a child to school, particularly if it's public school (but even private ones are going downhill fast.)

I wish I could feel angry about this. Instead I feel like a worthless piece of crap, but I guess that's another post. Any thoughts/opinions?

Just editing to add that there is really one person in particular I'm thinking of, to be fair to this group of people I'm referring to, and the words lazy and selfish were not used- that was just the impression I received.

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Okay, Faith, here comes olga with the Big Guns.

First of all, not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. I think that you are a great mother, and that is ONE set of skills. Being a teacher is a DIFFERENT set of skills. You didn't sign on and marry your hubby in order to become a teacher: your goal (I think) was to become a wife and mother. Period. Tell THAT to your bossy friend.

In terms of your child, I think most children benefit from the socialization of preschool and school. My sister sent my nephew to Head Start back when he was 4 or 5---not because they were poor---but because they lived in the country and the kid needed to learn to get along with other children. So sending your daughter to pre-school is good for HER and it's nobody's business why she's going.

You also have three children, right? How do they propose that you take care of an infant and a toddler, plus teach the four-year-old? Have you developed an extra set of arms? And where is your Superwoman costume?

I don't know much about autism, but I would assume that an autistic child has special needs that might be addressed by teachers who have been trained to deal with that flavor of Mental Interestedness. Why is it wrong to want your child to get that special teaching that she needs? I know you also have studied up on autism on the Internet, so I'm sure you've seen that your child has special educational needs that you might not be able to provide. I hope Wifezilla pops in here because she has been in the trenches on this issue for many years.

In conclusion, I think you need to get up on your hind legs and be the Lion Mom and say "I'm doing the best I know how for my children. If I need or want your opinion, I'll ask for it. My husband and my doctors and I will discuss what's best for these kids, and then WE will do it. If that includes public school, so be it."

There are millions of children going to school every day who are doing it successfully and not turning into drug addicts or sex maniacs. I think home schooling is very good in some situations, but only if the parents feel a real calling for it---kinda like becoming a clergy person. If you ain't "called," you have no business doing it.

Not that I'm opinionated on this subject..... ;)

olga

PS I have friends who home-schooled their 6 kids. Successfully. But that was THEIR choice. It's all about what's best for the kids and for YOU.

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Hi Faith,

You and I don't know each other very well, and generally I am sleazy and try to banter with my fellow loonies for comic relief, but mostly IRL, I am a single mother of 2 boys. And there is little to no sleaze going on in my home. I do homeschool my 5th grader. Here's my story as brief as I can make it.

I have an 18 yr old who did relatively well in the public school system. We had some problems, my husband's death (not his father, but disruptive nontheless) and some minor behavioral stuff, seemed major at the time, in 12th grade, but all in all he did just fine in public school. Oh, I would add, I started him at age 1 in a church day care that took them through kindergarten (they were accredited for kindergarten) and he LOVED being at pre-school. I was working and single so there was no question.

My youngest did not go go pre-school, he stayed with his grandpa and was treated like a prince, which I think has caused problems for him in the past in school--realizing he is a kid like all the rest. He is, however, extremely bright (both have ^ IQs FWIW) but he's more obedient than #1. He stayed with my dad until Kindergarten and stayed in public school through 3rd grade. He had some behavior problems, hitting and stuff, nothing major, bopped a little girl on the head with his library book because she kept bugging him, that kinda stuff. (Little Bunny Foo Foo! ;) )

When I became disabled his 3rd grade year, I decided to give homeschooling a go only because I don't agree with a lot of the methodology used in public schools. I find it daunting, but do-able. Like Olga said, and I can defininately testify being a MOTHER is very different from being a TEACHER and switching those roles in the home with your own child is really harder than most people think, not just for us but for the kids as well. My child and I have good days and bad days. But mostly good.

I could NOT do this if I had any other factors going on, i.e., other small children to care for, or any other responsibilities really. Homeschooling him IS my job. That and going to the doctor, but that's another story.

If you want to PM me for more info or support, please feel free.

I equate this homeschooling trend (which I think it great) to breastfeeding. There's all this pressure on new moms to breastfeed. I know I felt like I would ruin my baby's immune system and his life in general if I did not nurse him (the oldest) and I did nurse him. The second one I was too depressed to nurse, and he was in the NICU for awhile so he was bottle fed. I can see no visible difference in either child, indeed my bottle fed baby is much nicer than his 18 year old brother. But I reckon that is to be expected. Actually though, he's been a difficult child to deal with his whole life. But neither have dx'ed mental illnesses of any kind, though number one is undoubtedly going on anti-depressants next week. He's my twin.

Anyway, sorry for how long, but Olga hit the nail on the head. You make the decisions for your family that are right for you, and allow you to function at YOUR best as a MOM first to the kids. We did NOT sign on to be teachers--at least not of the K-12 variety.

Good luck,

Suze

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Yeah...what Olga said.

And I teach art classes in the summers. Honestly, the kids I have the most problems with are the home school kids. They are so used to having every thought and whim indulged by their parents, they have no concept of taking turns, not disturbing other students, or occupying themselves for a few minutes while I help another student.

Plus, when your child is autistic...you need a breather. Seriously. So sending them to a good school where their needs are met is nothing to be ashamed of.

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It's possible to do homeschooling well, but it requires time and energy and commitment on the parents' part.

I recommend against homeschooling unless you have clear reasons to believe that you can consistently provide an environment that would prepare your child for adult life better than the school would, both academically and socially. Both of these are difficult.

Like public school, homeschooling works very well for some kids and not for others. And there are major important differences among public schools and among types of homeschooling.

Also, I've gotten the impression that there are groups of people for which homeschooling is a cult in which all negative outcomes are ignored unless they happen in public school. And there's no research on homeschooling except for some case studies, and case studies mean nothing because they ignore the fact that people who choose to homeschool have higher incomes and tend to be smarter to begin with, so of course the kids do better than your average schoolkid.

(None of this undercuts the fact that homeschooling is fantastic for some people, or the fact that there are parents out there doing amazing things with homeschooling.)

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I was homeschooled. It probably contributed to my social anxiety, and the way in which I was homeschooled (unschooling) absolutely contributed to my not being prepared for college like my intellectual peers were.
Noemie, you make a good point here. It is EXACTLY the obstacle that I have to overcome, however, I only have one child to school, he's 10 and smarter than me :) and has an understanding of values, mores, games, etc., of our culture/society that far exceed my own! DOH! Both of my kids have a very healthy, IMO, view of the outside world. My oldest son put it best:

As I said above, he went K-12, same SD, same friends, for the most part and as he was saying goodbye to one of his friends from like 2nd grade, Tim, it went like this: <toggle to video game mode in ya'lls mind>

Tim: "Well, E, I guess this is it, we're 18, going off to college--life is starting!"

E (my son): "Nah, Tim, it's not gonna be that much different it's just gonna be that the game is always going to be set to *hard* and you get less lives."

And something I rarely do at that moment was to pat myself on the back for having done something right in raising this child (by myself). Of course, one could argue using a video game analogy is lame, however, he is busy readying for college, and acting in one play and auditioning for the next, is out 4 out of 5 nights during the week, has friends in and out all the time and has no respect for my taste in music! ;) Plus, save for a bit of experimentation, they don't drink or do drugs. To me these teens are from another planet, but I'll take 'em.

Faith, one more thing then I think I'm done sharing my exp. (too much already) but I use a fabulous curriculum. It's http:/www.k12.com/ it's not available in all states, but it's a wonderful blend of online and books and actually it is pretty much fun for both of us when we're not doing math. :cussing: And it includes frequent activities where the whole local group can go on field trips and stuff for SOME socializing. We participate in that and it's fun to talk to the mom's (and some dads) who are into it.

It's been so long since I learned the shit, it's new to me and I love all of it but see above :wtf:

Also, I would never in a million years attempt to homeschool a special needs child. I agree with VE on that one. My niece is aspie and all kinds of things, and I have an aspie nephew. She is just starting Kindergarten, he is a 5 year senior. He had a horrible time, she's getting great specialized education from the door. They've come a long way.

OK, now I shut up!

Suzanne

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there are times when homeschooling is a good idea and times when it is not. i always thought part of the idea behind homeschooling is that children are individuals (and so are parents.)

it makes no sense to say that homeschooling is good for *all* kids and that it is universally better than school.

if your daughter is doing better in school, then she is doing better in school. more things happen at school than just services.

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Well, I got me an apology in my email box today for hurting my poor feelings, along with a restatement of her position on the subject. :) Ah, well.

My view on home-schooling is that it can be a great thing, but it does require time and dedication and a child who is suitably disposed to it. I was home-schooled for 2 years, and I got next to nothing out of it. I'm good at tests. I had the year's worth of work done in 3 months or so and spent the rest of the year playing video games, learning nothing and wallowing in the neverending pit of depression (which certainly wasn't helped by the sudden social isolation). I would not want to put my kids through that.

I suppose the inadequacy comes in because I don't think I have it in me to provide for her what is being provided in this outside-the-home setting. We don't have sensory tables and crap set up here. And would I be able to keep it up if I were in a depressive episode when it takes every drop of my energy just to meet the basical survival requirements for 5 people? Stability is a blessed thing, but I can't take it for granted just yet.

Noemie, I never would have thought of a homeschooling "cult" but wow, that word fits. Not all homeschoolers by any stretch. But there are indeed extremists, like with anything I guess.

Suzanne, thanks for sharing your experience with me. The comparison to breastfeeding makes a lot of sense to me. It is good to know that homeschooling CAN work and turn out well, and I think it is a great thing you are doing for your son since you are able to do it. (And for the record, I'm jealous of good banterers, not being much of one myself ; )

Olga, a big thanks for the pep talk, I needed one! With my daughter, the socialization is not much of an issue because she ignores other people for the most part entirely lol However they are the ones teaching her to use the PECS and sign language and all that good stuff in addition to her speech therapy. She is communicating SO much better.

It just sets me off to be told that if she were home with a "normal family" she would be learning these skills without having to go to school. That is still true, isn't it? I'm not dedicated enough. And before I dissolve any further into self-pity and mindless wailing, I'm ending this post. ;)

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It just sets me off to be told that if she were home with a "normal family" she would be learning these skills without having to go to school. That is still true, isn't it? I'm not dedicated enough. And before I dissolve any further into self-pity and mindless wailing, I'm ending this post. ;)

Um. You have to go to school to learn how to teach that kind of stuff, usually it takes a graduate degree. My brother is finishing up a MA in school psychology right now. It's not stuff you can figure out with a few parenting manuals. There need to be trained professionals involved in the process. If you don't get them by way of the school system, you have to pay for them out of pocket.

Where do they propose you learn sign language, let alone how to teach it?

It's patently absurd.

At some point in time didn't someone here warn you that there is something about having an autistic child that sometimes makes otherwise normal people go batshit fucking insane? Be careful in dealing with autistic parenting groups. There are some real freaks out there.

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It just sets me off to be told that if she were home with a "normal family" she would be learning these skills without having to go to school. That is still true, isn't it? I'm not dedicated enough. And before I dissolve any further into self-pity and mindless wailing, I'm ending this post. ;)

what on earth is a "normal family" anyway?

being realistic about your needs and your child's needs is being dedicated.

if you pushed yourself to a breakdown trying to home school her, and got sick... would that really mean you are more "dedicated" than if you made the rational decision that you are not a teacher, you don't have the materials they have at the school, and that to be the best mother you can be, you need to take care of yourself?

a dedicated and good mother is one who tries to make a life for herself where she is able to be there for her kids. pushing yourself too hard is not dedication, it is, as noemie said, cultish and irrational.

a "normal" mother and a "normal" family is one that takes care of their children. and you are doing that.

some people get wrapped up in this one upmomship of who works harder to raise their kids... and you know what? it's bad. overworked mothers who don't take time for themselves aren't good role models. they aren't happy. and overworked unhappy moms are bad....

you said it yourself. when your mother was depressed and homeschooled you, it hurt you. granted, you aren't your mom.

you're being rational and healthy by wanting better for your children than you had, and you're being healthy and "normal" by being realistic.... and not shooting for some idea what what a "real mom" "should" do.

sorry. i'm ranting.

but it seems like you know that you're doing the right thing by your daughter.

i hope you can listen to that part of you, and ignore that woman and the voice inside of you that says you aren't doing enough. because you are.

you reallly are.

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First, don't let other people judge you or make your parenting decisions for you. they are not in your shoes, not in your situation, and really, their opinions are only theirs to deal with.

i agree with olga that the decision to homeschool or send your children to a regular school is entirely up to you. if you happen to be equipped to deal with an autistic child better than the people trained at the school to deal with this situation, then blessed be, that could be an option. otherwise, you are taking a critical look at the situation and noticing that you do not have the skills and resources to handle this in her best interest.

there are some other factors too, such as if she enjoys the school. also, social interaction is a huge part of it.

my sister went to a very consertative private school and was expelled for coming out as a lesbian. because it was the beginning of the school year and i was disabled and at home with my father, we decided that i would homeschool her. she did not have any special needs. in this case, it took a LOT of planning and a LOT of patience on my part, as well as keeping a good eye on her socially. i didn't want her to fall behind in any area. i also included friends who were majors in other subjects, like an art major friend taught her art a few times a month. i didn't feel equipped, even wtih a college degree from a great liberal arts school, to deal with all of her needs. i cannot imagine teaching an autistic child. with no formal training in teaching special needs students, i'd be totally out of my league.

i homeschooled her in 7th grade. she skipped 8th and went right to high school. i'm so proud, and i take some credit in helping her skip a grade. however, outcomes in homeschooling depend totally on the "teacher" and "student". you just have to be aware of so many things, like social interaction and the fact that i know nothing about art (at her level, she's a great artist), it would be just impossible to homeschool a child with special needs without an advanced degree in special ed, in my opinion.

don't feel at all bad about making the best choice for you and your child. as olga said, there are children in public (and private) schools who turn out to be fine every day. i was in a private school k-college graduation and i came out fine too. but speaking of private schools, my school wasn't equipped to deal with autistic children and children with ADHD. there was one ADHD child who graduated with us in 12th grade. he was the only exception. it was just too small of a school and without the huge funding of a public school.

so, the end of my rant, she will nto be damaged by going to a public school. take a special interest in her education by helping wtih her homework, talking regularly wtih her teachers, and perhaps joining parent groups in her school. getting involved is a good way to bridge the gap between being a traditional homeschooler and sending your child to a pubic school. but as VE warmed. watch what groups you join.

loon

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As a former preschool teacher of both normie and special ed needs kids for many years this is my .02: You're the mommy, you make the rules, it's YOUR kid. I got an AA in early childhood a BA in education and a masters in Humanities to do the things I did and to work where I did. In addition to that, special ed teaching classes are needed at minimum with child psych and developmental classes. Just leave it to the people YOU trust with your child. Tell all the "opinion givers" that when they can climb into your body and give birth to your kids then they can make the decisions otherwise they need to zip it. You're doing fine. Help as best you can and do what you need to to be the best Mommy you can be for her.

lilie

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even if your daughter is ignoring people she dealing with them being around her which is a VERY IMPORTANT skill. My daughter is also on teh spectrum and is in specialized PreK. Going TO school has been invaluable for drawing her out of her tantrum cycle, forcing her to deal with people outside of our home, and teaching her some skills to function in the world at large. For kids on teh spectrum, no therapist alone can teach you those skills. In my state we dont have teh option of having someone come to our home so school is the best place for her. I had wanted to homeschool until i realized her issues are so much large than me. Sure i can do therapies at home with her but where would she get consistant time to apply these skills. Learning a skill such as sitting next to a relative stranger needs application to be useful. My standard reply to those nosey biddies is "I have every confidence my child is getting exactly what she needs" if they persist I say something like "have you been getting enough sleep lately? You seem awfully cranky" That will usually shut them up

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Hi Faith,

I just wanted to add that I think very highly of you. I cant imagine having 3 small children + a home + a husband + myself to take care of.

From all of your posts - I think you are doing the right things. i know your children & husband love you and cherish you.

as for homeschooling, in the past - politically i was against it. i HAD thought that as a society we should appreciate public schools and that everyone gets the opportunity to learn how to read.

then i lived with a teenager who was not getting her needs met in high school. she was definitely more advanced and mature. only at that point did i see something positive in homeschooling. I knew i could help her become more prepared for college.

but at that stage - she already knew all the basics, and homeschooling would have offered her the ability to fine tune her skills.

her dad & i broke up before the school year started - so she went back to public school.

so - now, i agree with everything everyone else posted here - you do what is right for you and your family. and dont let anyone make you feel guilty about caring for your children.

much love,

december

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Thanks for the encouragement (and the sweet compliment, december :embarassed: )

I wanted to post here something that happened yesterday with my non-homeschooled daughter ; ) She was having a meltdown in the evening over we-knew-not-what (as is too often the case) when suddenly she yelled, clear as crystal, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!"

I know that sounds like nothing. But,

she communicated

  • her feelings
  • coherently and understandably
  • verbally
  • in a relevant context
  • not echolia (sp- my brain is off)

I have no doubt she communicates in ways we can't grasp, so it's really the "verbal" and "understandable" (to us) parts that are important here, I think.

And damned if she wasn't right. We didn't understand. We still don't understand what set her off in that particular instance. But we, all of us, were trying. In spite of my selfishness in sending her to school ;) I could've cried! I know it looks so small, but it isn't. I promise. A little disheartening that "you don't understand" is what she felt compelled to tell us, but hey, I'm not looking gift horses in the mouth here.

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Woo hoo Faith!

That is so cool. We have those moments with Max. When he can get across what is going through his head, we count it as a major victory. Might not sound like much to most people, but we know how important moments like these are.

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I'm too lazy to read everyone's responses, but I just wanted to say that I think homeschool deprives children of significant social development and much needed interaction with other kids. I also feel that it facilitates an un-natural relationships between parent and child - children need to interact outside their families for important psychological development.

There are good schools and good, dedicated teachers out there. If you are happy with your education choices for your child then everyone else can sod off.

Bern

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let me ask you Bernard, Have you been homeschooled, are you a parent homeschooling?

The whole socialization question from strangers pisses me off. I'm pulling the boy out of public school this month and I am going to start homeschooling him. Why...the school is punishing him for being ADHD, not following the gov. guidelines, , can't remember to send him to the office for his meds, etc...

Do you know where my child will get his social interaction? The same places he's always gotten it...with the other 6 kids that live around us, his cousin the two times a week we see her, and the park we visit.

It is NOT an un-natural relationship between parent and child. A parent IS a child's first teacher. You teach your kid to eat with a spoon, to walk, to talk, her ABC's.....For me, schooling is just a continuation of this. They treat my boy like shit in his public school and I can't let it hurt his self esteem anymore. He's not learning anything there. When he misses two words on a spelling test, they mark those wrong and move on to 10 more words. My question is, what about the two he got wrong? Do they not care that he hasn't learned them? We can go at his pace at home to assure that he LEARNS and retains the lesson. Some kids just take longer than others.

But I only have one child to homeschool. I don't know how people with more than two kids do it.

Faith, I think you are doing a fabulous job with your child. I'm assuming I'm going to have to start taking alot of shit from people when they see my kid out with me during the day. My prepared response..."That is very bad manners to stick your nose in other peoples' business"

Croix

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Croix,

We definitely need to catch up in chat, don't know if you are aware but if you've read the thread you know I homeschool little E. 2 years now, and I don't think public school is ever in the future for us, albeit, he is NOT a special needs child, though he is a weirdo just like me. ;)

I'll PM you more info on the program we use, actually, I posted a link up above but the program is http://www.k12.com/

it's not available in all states, not sure about LA, but it's an awesome program, a charter school, and I highly recommend them. They also have staff to work WITH parents in schooling their special needs kids.

I know this is very, very, very hard for you and my thoughts are with you. I will be in chat more as winter closes in and my social life comes to a dead fucking stand still.

Meanwhile, I check my PMs everyday, and I'll shoot you my email and phone numbers.

You can do this momma, you are amazing and strong.

Love,

Suze

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Croix,

I am very sorry to hear that your child is having a difficult time in public school. I'm a high school teacher and I have concern though for kids that get removed from school situations when the going gets too rough. In my experience homeschooled kids have trouble being re-integrated back into main stream schools.

I don't particularly care if people choose to homeschool - ultimately it is your right as a parent to choose what's best for your child. But I do believe that public schools are not the only schooling option and that there are good solid schools out there that meet the needs of individual students.

You cannot protect your little darling from the big bad world forever and while the growing up process may be difficult and challenging for them at times, it is something that needs to be. More to the point, I believe public schools should be actively challenged, through formal channels, if they are failing to do their job properly. Removing a child from school only allows the school to say "Oh well, thank god that one's gone." it doesn't force them to change their practices for future students. They get paid regardless as they are public servants and need to be made accountatable for their actions. Why should a parent bear the burden of educating their child whent here are education systems in place?

You do whatever you feel best (as I said before). I was merely stating an alternative opinion from a somewhat educated viewpoint.

Bernard.

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