It's no secret. This year has been extremely difficult on Caleb. Having Autism really throws a wrench in traditional learning patterns. As this year has progressed, my heart and gut are telling me that he is not learning what he needs to in public school. Until this year, I have been the biggest advocate of public school...of my school in particular. But we are coming to the realization that while public school may be the appropriate placement for most kids, it might not be right for Caleb, right now.
My husband and I are continuing to discuss this, actually on a daily basis. We are looking at our options. We have refreshed ourselves with the laws regarding children in Special Education. We are reviewing Caleb's classroom modifications, his progress, and his abilities. While it has always been my overall goal to have Caleb in public school...I am getting real.
I have to ask myself..."What is THE goal for Caleb?" not "What is MY goal for Caleb?" THE goal is for Caleb to be an active and engaged learner. THE goal is for him be an integrated and regulated child. THE goal for him is to be socially appropriate, and independent. THE goal is progress.
While he loves and craves the routines school provides him, we have noticed that he is becoming more interested in other children. I can provide that routine for him at home if I try really hard, but I have to keep him engaged with other children on a regular basis.
So, my husband and I are discussing the possibility of homeschooling him. I realize that people homeschool for many different reasons. Our reason would be for THE goals stated above. But boy, I am struggling with the actual decision.
Do I give 4th grade public school a chance? I am the PTO President. If I homeschool, I can no longer be that person. And if I homeschool, it would just be for Caleb. Jansen would continue public school. How do I be as involved as I want to be in his education and school activities being home with Caleb. On a selfish note, Caleb and I would always be together. How will I stand it? I will be losing the opportunity to grocery shop in peace, to get a haircut, or have a doctor's appointment during the day. With so much focus on Caleb during the day, how do I balance that with Jansen? How do I make him feel important daily? How do I explain my reasoning to Jansen and assure him that this may be a necessity for Caleb, but by no means is slighting him? Can I really educate my child? Am I capable of teaching him the things he needs to know? I will just stop there because my list of questions and concerns could be a mile long!
So, my husband has suggested a trial run this summer. Let's create the homeschool room, develop a loose curriculum, and practice homeschooling over the summer vacation. If we like it, and notice a difference, then we may not even send him back in the Fall. If it is stressful and is not working out for Caleb, then we will enroll him in the 4th grade at our school and give it a chance.
I need confidence, guidance, reassurance, and an answer. But no one else can decide what is right for our family but us. Until this summer, I guess we will be doing a ton of research and sending up a lot of prayers.