The vomiting, weight loss, and freaking/tweaking behavior can’t go on. Even if it means the child can sit at his desk and do his work. So parents make the only choice they can make at that point: they pull him from school.
No doubt you’ve guessed it by now: this is our story. It’s why we decided to homeschool. Our backs were against the wall and for our child’s sanity and our own we didn’t feel that we had any other choice. Yes, we could have stayed and worked with the wonderful, calm, experienced, organized teacher and eventually worked something out. We know she knew there were problems. But the wheels turn so slowly in our school system…and we couldn’t wait for that. Our problem was immediate. We weren’t willing to wait 2 years for him to be more than 2 years behind. And for what? An hour a day with the resource room teacher? Everyone knowing he couldn’t do what the other kids were doing? Kids picking on him (because oh yeah, did I happen to mention he was the class ‘loser’?). Constant anger, frustration, and disappointment?
Nope, we had no other choice.
I could probably write a BOOK about what’s happened to our family in the few short years we’ve been involved with public school as parents (and more as me as teacher-librarian). The system mostly fails kids like mine (and maybe yours) and it seems as though for every person who feels happy with how their child’s school deals with his or her disabilities there are 20 that are miserable. I know that parents of ‘average’ children often feel the same way; now that we’ve pulled Little J from school his older brother, a very successful middle-school student, will follow him next year. Now that we’ve tried it we’ve seen how well it can work (for them; for me it’s often very difficult I have to admit)
I have great hopes for how homeschooling – or some other (future) form of alternative schooling – will solve many of our son’s problems with learning. I’m happy to report that in the 2 months he’s been home his reading has increased by a grade level and just today we played a game that involved counting money! Some days have been incredibly hard: because he either couldn’t do the work because he didn’t have the skills, or was anxious about the work, or couldn’t attend long enough to accomplish the work (and probably a combination of all 3), he developed many behaviors to avoid doing the work. This has been a constant battle, but one which I know we’ll overcome.
I have a blog about our homeschooling journey that is filled with a lot of posts about muddling through. I need to get better about updating it(especially if I ever hope to write the aforementioned book), and I’ve written about it on A Mom’s View of ADHD as well, specifically in this post: “When Winter Break Lasts Forever: Why We’ve Decided to HomeSchool our ADHD child” and “Would you, could you, homeschool your ADHD child?” which I wrote back when we were trying to figure it all out. Please have a read if you’re interested or if our story rings true. And share your own story – either here or on Facebook. I know this is a constant struggle for anyone raising a child with special needs.
Adrienne Ehlert Bashista lives in central North Carolina with her husband and 2 boys, ages 8 and 11. She is a contributor and co-editor to Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories. To read all of Adrienne’s posts on this blog, please click here.