Sunday, December 11, 2011

Accidental Homeschooler?

When we started homeschooling almost six years ago I did not know there was a term "Accidental Homeschooler" for our misadventures that year. Z was starting her second year of preschool at four years old and A~man was about to start the big K at six years old. Preschool had gone relatively smooth (for a child with special needs and I'm not talking about his bus issues...that's a whole different story ;) except for when he was four and doing so well that they tried to put him in a more inclusive classroom that did not have enough supervision. Once he was back with his "old" teacher (who was a fabulous teacher I might add) things evened back out. Kindergarten brought a new classroom with new children and teachers.

In his new K classroom I did not get very many updates despite asking and I assumed he was doing OK. Then came the 9 week IEP. We were blindsided. Not until 9 weeks were we informed things were not going well at all. We were told he would have to go to a new classroom for children with behavior issues. There was only about five kids in the classroom,one teacher and two aids. Looking back the problem with this classroom was they were trained to deal with more typically developing children that had behaviour problems. The were not trained (and in the end the teacher agreed) to deal with a child with behaviors that came from having MR/DD and having a syndrome like Prader-willi. He was there less than two months and they kept calling me to come get him as he was having a "bad day".  This classroom also had a time out room (honestly it was a padded closet) but we signed papers to insure he would not be put in a room for timeout. The literal straw that broke the camels back is when they called and said that he had been put in the timeout cube (chair) for two hours. After looking at the variance report later it was closer to three hours A~man was forced to sit in a chair. I do not know about you but I could not sit in a chair for 3 hours even as an adult.

I was NOT happy at all. The next day I called them and asked if I could come and observe what was happening to set off these behaviors as at the time he was not doing the same antics at home. What was there response? Parents are not allowed in the classrooms during school hours even WITH an appointment. It takes a lot to make me mad. I am sure steam was coming out of my ears. I responded back for them to get him ready with all of his belongings as I was taking him home. At that moment I do not think HOMESCHOOLING was in my head but I sure wasn't putting him back in that classroom where the only thing he was learning was bad words. After talking with my husband we decided that for at least the rest of the school year (it was February 2006 ) I would teach him at home. I'm really not sure why I didn't think of it sooner as before kids that is what I did. (I taught preschool and then tutored a few children with autism) Most likely it was because back then he was still considered a foster child and we did not have a complete say in such things.

Has our special needs learning been a smooth ride? Anyone that has read my blog or is my friend knows the answer to that question. What would be the fun in that anyway? Our home school journey has been full of twists, turns, and mountains to conquer. Plus a few potholes that have made my head spin. I can look back over the years and see how much my son has benefited from schooling at home, how my daughter has been able to go at her own pace. (sometimes fast sometimes meandering at a slower pace) Sometimes like the title of my blog states I believe I have learned just as much if not more from our learning journey.

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