Friday, October 21, 2011

school.( in defense of public school for a change)

it's a touchy subject between mommies.

it's not an easy decision. who will teach your child? as mothers and fathers we know that we are the primary teachers of life to our children. we are where they first learn most everything. from love and relationships to self-discipline..well , list is long.
But then it comes to the academics and we have to decide if we will put the in a school or continue to teach them that at home as well. We are lucky and blessed we have that choice.

as a parent our job is to KNOW our kids. they aren't just kids. they are people. who they are is there from day one. their needs and learning style and ideas are unique to them and that should be viewed as valid and real. it's our job to learn them. who they are.

what's frustrating to me is when people's personal choice of how to school their individual kid- who is different from everyone else on this planet- becomes the " rule" or the BEST choice across the board.

I know a lot of homeschoolers. And I myself was homeschooled, so I know that it's not the easy choice by any means . Lately the trend of homeschooling is on the rise so there is a lot of information and attention being given to it. And it is time for people to understand it and see it as a real option available to them. It's wonderful that it is becoming mainstream enough that it's no longer a strange "weird" thing to do. I'm happy to see it being treated as a valid form of education .
(and I hate to say " but") ....
But, I think some homeschooling families feel they need to defend their choice, and in doing so there seems to be a lot of judgement being thrown at non-homeschooling families. Perhaps it's just from where I sit?
Homeschooling is not easy. it is a sacrifice in many ways, but just because it is a sacrifice does not automatically mean it's the better choice for everyone. nor does it mean that the parent who puts their kid into a public or private school is NOT making a sacrifice. In fact , there are many times when the parent who decides to put their child into a public school is making the hardest sacrifice they have ever had to face

As a parent of TWO children with *special needs, the hardest thing in the entire world for me is to place them into someone else's hands. into their care, away from my control. my protection.

But when you have a kid with needs above and beyond the average kid, the truth is- you need a city to help you raise this child. You can not do it alone. - no- not that you CAN'T, but you shouldn't have to. why? because this kid needs all you can give and more. So what happens when you don't have more?

would my kids be ok if I kept them home with me? would they be safe and happy? would they be protected and could I control what they heard and learned and could I save them from mean words and judging looks?

don't think for one second that is not the most tempting thing in the world for me .

But at some point, you need to swallow your pride. swallow it hard. and ask yourself - for real- what is best for my child?

I'll say it again-


notice I did not say " what is best for ME?" or " what would make me feel best?"

so get over yourself for a minute.

when you really ask what is best for your child- not for YOU, you can finally figure out if you need to teach them at home, or put them into a school.

The truth is for US, that school is able to provide a different kind of structure and social situation that I can never provide. When you have a kid who needs to be taught social cues, he needs to learn how to be IN this world- he needs to learn more than just what books can teach us. He needs to learn standing in line, or how to tune out lots of voices, or to understand a judging " look". he needs to understand that his needs don't always come first. He needs to know what it feels like to be misunderstood, or pushed beyond what he thinks, or what *I* think he's actually capable of.
so there's that- but there's also this-

I can't afford a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, I can't be structured enough. no matter how much try. I can't hire someone to come work with my son weekly to talk about what it means to be autistic. To teach him what is going on inside his brain and why the things that are hard for him are there and why the things that are brilliant about him are there.

When you have a child with a disability- or a special need- you need more than what you can give.
That's hard. I know that's a hard pill to swallow because as a parent you want to think you are enough. Guess what? you're not. Not if you want to give them every single possible help and advantage available. and you do. I know you do.

There are many reasons to gripe about the public school system. I understand that. No one will ever do it perfectly. People will fail us. school will fail us because there are people there. humans. we don't always know the best way. But when it comes down to it, I am being honest with myself about my kid's needs and my strengths and weaknesses and what I can give. and if it's not enough then I will swallow my pride and ask for help, because it's not about me.
and it's not about you . it's about them.
this is your job- not to control everything that comes into your child's world, but to help them be strong enough to be out there in it.

The one thing I've learned about having a child with autism, is that every family is different (seems obvious doesn't it?) What I mean is, I am less judgmental of how other families do it . Because I understand now that no matter how much you plan,or how strong your ideas are about parenting or schooling .. You don't know anything until you've met your child.

*Ifind that phrase a little funny...don't we all have " special needs" ?


  1. I hope this doesn't come across as too defensive. For the most part I have gotten over the need to defend my parenting style and choices. I am hoping to give another perspective, one of a mother of kids with special needs. And that while homeschooling families are judged by their choice, parents who choose public school are also judged, and we all need to stop the madness and make the choice based on what each one of our children's needs actually are.

  2. well i just agree with everything you said because your boobs are nice.
    jk. <3