Why is that jumping off the Conveyor Belt can sometimes feel like I am going sky diving? It is that mentality that says jumping out is crazy and the majority of the people around me would never do it. For me, it can sometimes be the same with letting go of my conveyor belt mentality. Some of my friends that are more conventional, look at me like I am crazy. I often lack confidence with my choices and I am afraid that it sometimes shows, which I think can do a disservice to homeschooling in general. So while I have embraced homeschooling, I continually stress about it, hate it, then love it. Back and forth...could I please just make up my mind. So I have resolved that like other issues in my life to just make a choice and stick to it. So we are homeschoolers. We are homeschoolers and I say it over and over to myself. I keep my doubts and concerns to those who will support me in my choice and understand that I just need an understanding ear. Its kind of like breastfeeding. If you want to succeed at it then surround yourself with those who will help you succeed. If you go to someone who isn't supportive or has no experience with it, then their suggestion or advice may be to tell you to quit. I consider homeschooling my children as vital and important as I did in breastfeeding them. It is what we have as a family decided what was best. There is always that fine line between that and really knowing when it is time to quit.
So back to skydiving. My biggest hurdle right now is managing the needs of my older two kids, one emerging Love of Learning and one in Core and those of my third child who has a severe speech disorder. We are constantly in the car to his appointments and preschool. Something has to give. If we are homeschoolers then putting # 1 and 2 in public school isn't what is best for my family. But I am unable to give them and #3 the time needed. My LoL is ready to explore topics at his fingertips but there are just too many interruptions in his day and the varying schedule leaves little time for structured time. I find that not only do I have little time to study myself, but that our structured time is not happening. Neither are chores and therefore we have CHAOS in our home. So as a couple we began to explore our needs and options.
Our son's speech needs are vital. Not only do the require speech therapy out of the home but also intense speech therapy in the home. That is not happening for him and our main Speech Pathologist sees this and is instructing us to do better in this area. We have seen a huge regression lately in his speech abilities and we began to ponder how helpful is this preschool he attends 4 days a week. The only way to know is to observe. I started off by observing his outreach ST through the School district. Yet another school we travel to for ST for him. It went really great and the SP actually move the other boy out so that she could focus on J. I was really impressed. He was drooling like mad by the time the 45 mins was over which is a good indicator to me that he was working really hard.
Observing the Preschool gave the opposite results. Really. My older son attended this same preschool when he had some developmental delays and we saw him blossom. J on the other hand was alone and no one even took the time to figure out what he was saying. Twice, I figured it out for them. But I would think that with 5 adults to 18 kids that someone could have pulled him aside to work with him. I understanding not stopping the whole circles time to spend a few mins with him but with 5 adults someone could have worked with him to figure out a way for him to contribute. Speaking of contributing, nothing has been done to find other assitive ways for him to communicate in the class. On top of that the Sign Language interpreter there (because there is a deaf child in the class and we could not get her assigned in his IEP because he has no hearing loss, something that may be worth fighting) has very little interaction with him. Sign Language is one of his primary ways to communicate. Can you imagine what this is like for him.
I also observed the SP who also works with him once a week at this school. She spent maybe 5 mons with him one on one alone, in ineffectual play, maybe 2 mins in the classroom and 5 more mins in indirect contact. All of which contrary to American Speech And Hearing Association guidelines for childhood apraxia of speech. I saw three separate kids comment that his speech was funny and that they didn'tyou talk funny" and then pushed him out of the way. Not one of the 5 teachers even observed this. As a mother I wanted to cry. I understand and don't expect someone to hover over him and protect him from every unkind word and act. But to see the look on his face and then him pick himself back up and keep going. I don't want him to lose his wilingness to try and the bright light he has about the world. But I think I am beginning to seem some signs that things may not be going well. How many times has he had to endure that? Is no training on the challenges that he and other kids in the class given to the other kids? In our homeschool group I feel comforted in knowing that the others in our close knit group are mindful of the special needs that he has as well as others and are in general teaching their kids to be tolerant and mindful of those challenges that others are encountering. I know he has to face the world and endure those at some point but does a 3 year old (he will be 4 in Dec) really have to endure that now. Three times in 2 1/2 hours another child teased and in some ways bullied him. My dh has a speech disorder as well and was teased unmercifully his whole academic life in public school. While he is kind and tolerant and I wonder how he emerged from his experience with such dignity. Where is the line to draw between sheltering him from this adversity and letting it strengthen him. I just think that in general kids today can have a tendancy to be far more cruel and meaner than when my husband amd I were kids.
I felt like preschool is fun...but we are not there for preschool we are there for speech therapy. I feel issues within in the classroom are very resolvable. I just think they don't know what to do, so they have opted to do nothing or whatever. The School SP is obviously unaware of appropriate treatments for Apraxia, though she says she has experience with it. How do tell someone they are not doing it right.
Somethings got to give and I think that Preschool should be it. Am I brave enough to jump off the Special Education Conveyor belt? Could I write a bigger novel about this? I could go on. We are trying to get an Augmentative Communication Device for them and is it possible without the school districts help? If our insurance won't pay for it then they will but if they pay for it we have to give it back if we are no longer apart of public schools. I am afraid to pull him until we know. That could be months. And then there are the concerns of homeschooling a child that I don't understand 80% of what he says and he fights using the sign language. How do I know if he is learning to read and do the interactions with peers really help him to talk more?
Thanks for letting me vent, explore, and in general bounce this dilemma off of you. What to do? What to do? I am getting no divine guidance on this one or I am just not seeing it. Despite fasting, praying, Temple Attendance. Nothing. More waiting, and I am so afraid of not making the right crucial choice here. His entire future seems wrapped up in this choice and I just don't know what is right.
Heather, who is gathering her courage because I think...I can do better for him on my own. I think that it is time to just pull him and have faith that we will manage to find a way to get that augmenative communication device.