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Topic: I'm homeschooling my Autistic grandson. I'm getting a lot of neg. attitudes

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Subject: I'm homeschooling my Autistic grandson. I'm getting a lot of neg. attitudes
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,813
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Hi,

My grandson has high functioning Autism and low muscle tone (tires easily), has a very mild coordination disorder and has a mild language disorder.. He is in 2nd grade and I am homeschooling him. This is his first year being homeschooled. It's working out so well and I am so happy with this arrangement.  In private school, last year, he lost self-esteem, memorized most things without understanding them really, got teased and encouraged to socialize with only special ed. kids ( in his inclusive classroom), complained of being tired all day and was stressed out about school all the time. The worst part of it, he lost his enthusiasm and love for learning. This breaks my heart. I am starting the year out  doing my best to create a calm, interesting and fun experience for him. He is struggling with some self-esteem issues and needs a lot of calm reassurance. He is also testing the waters out seeing if it's ok to not to try learning. For this we have given him some restrictions at times. He is starting to relax and enjoy himself. Since he hasn't been homeschooled before I am trying to help him have opportunities to make new friends. He is going to a great  christian P.E program 2 times weekly, for 3hrs each. He loves it. Next week he will be starting enrichment classes taught by high caliber teachers all day. He's going to group therapy, which is all we can afford, once weekly and I will continue to look for opportunities for him to make good friends. I know it will take time.

Tonight my daughter came to me very distraught. She said that Jiovanni's Dad, who sees him once or twice monthly on weekends and who is not involved in his life beyond that. And , who also does not contribute financially, reamed my daughter out for having him homeschooled. It made my daughter more insecure about homeschooling and she laced into me. She then told me, her boyfriend didn't approve of homeschooling either. Understandably, there was tension in the house. Communication broke down for a while and then we came together again. I told my daughter things take time, in terms of Jiovanni making new friends, he won't be with children 6 hrs a day like regular school. Things just take time. I understand it takes patience for a new homeschooler to settle in. He has no siblings that he lives with. He is also not unhappy either. He is enjoying his homeschooling time, the time he spends with his new puppies and his new life. Other old timer homeschoolers are encouraging to me. I have talked with a lot of people with handicapped kids on the net for the past several months to learn about what homeschooling is like. I love homeschooling, I find myself good at it, too. I am confident this is where Jiovanni belongs.

My question is, how do I help my daughter feel better about Jiovanni being homeschooled. My daughter trusts me, otherwise she would have not let me take on Jiovanni's education. But, how can I help her in this time of transition. She has told me, other people have told her, Jiovanni needs to be with children all the time and regular school is the best place for him, because  he has Autism. I have told her he is in a better environment and to be patient, to please be patient. How can I help her to trust me more, trust the process and feel better about her son's future.

Thank you for reading my post. It was hard to express my most dearest feelings about my child and my grandson. This is a time when struggling with Autism and disability has spoken to me. But instead of my experience being one of perserverance and joy, it has left me with a voice speaking of sadness tonight. Tomorrow will be a better day.

 

Elona



Last Edited on: 9/11/09 11:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/12/2009 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2006
Posts: 333
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Hi Elona, Thanks for sharing.  Your daughter and grandson are SO blessed to have you as a Mom and Grandmother!  Many of us homeschooling Moms would love to have such a supportive Mother. 

It sounds like it is the issue of socialization that is probably bothering them.  I would point out that Jiovanni was having socialization at regular school but, it was negative socialization.  Also, at school he really had more limited time to interact with his peers because he had to be in class and they are supposed to be quiet and listen to the teacher.  At home he gets to interact with you, the teacher.  Who could be better to interact with than someone who loves him so much that they are willing to sacrifice everything for him. 

Many times kids in school really don't have as much time to socialize as people think.  I am told that the kids in the schools in our area aren't allowed to talk to each other at lunch because they won't have time to eat then! 

You are creating posative socialization times for Jiovanni.  Which he needs to increase his self esteem.  Homeschool kids are socialized, but it is done differently.  They tend to not be segregated by age and are socialized to not be afaid to interact with children and adults of all ages.  My experience with homeschooled children is that they are very  friendly and outgoing.  My dd and I went to a Yankee Peddler festival today.  She was doing a craft and another 12 yo girl was helping her.  I mentioned to her Mother that we homeschool.  Her daughter  said about my dd,  "That's why you're so friendly."  "Kids who go to school aren't as friendly."  We found out that they had just had to put her back in school after being homeschooled for several years.  That was the perspective of a young girl and it wasn't rehersed or prompted.  I have homeschooled for 7 years and none of my four children has trouble making friends. 

Just continue to show your daughter how much you love her and Jiovanni.  She will come around.  I will be praying for you.  Blessings, Carrie

Subject: start this way
Date Posted: 9/13/2009 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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This is a tactic used in communications in many settings from corporate world to marriage relationships to sales pitches.

Start with a foundation of principals that both parties agree on & want. Link those to goals that both want. Then show how the path you are on fulfills that principal and goal. Like this. 1. child should learn good academic content and master and retain the information 2. child should have a love of learning and allow his curiosities to be investigaged 3. child should be free from bullying 4. child should find and cultivate two new friends that will be seen in after school time and hopefully will turn into long term friendships (not abandoned at the end of one school year). 4 child should have a calm and happy mental state with a harmonious life (not anxiety ridden, stressed out or having physical problems due to stress). These are my ideas based on some of what you said, but you have to make your own list!

 

Sometimes a second or third path (different methods) could also fit those and those are options & then you pick which path is agreeable to all. In some kids cases it could be said that attending school fills that and also homeschooling fills that so it is up to the family which is right for them with the equal outcome. In that case other pros and cons need to be weighed, perhaps which offers benefits the other does not and so forth.

 

Sometimes a path suggested by another is not in agreement with the foundation principal and/or the goal. So that would show something like "you want your son to learn academic information" and "you want your son in public school" but "he went to public school last year and didn't learn much due to negative factors at school like coping with stress due to things that happened inside the classroom". So that shows that him going to school last year did not fulfill the goal about academics last year, and therefore to meet the goal of good academic learning THIS year to repeat school attendance this year would be doing an action that didn't produce that result, so why do it? (Answer: becaue it is what most American kids do. However that is when the conversation gets drawn back to the agreed on foundation principals and goals.)

 

To show another failure of last year's school could go like this "your son has autism and you want him in an inclusive classroom for socialization and friendship building with non LD kids but last year while in that class he was pushed instead to only socialize with other LD kids and indeed did not make any long lasting frienships that were kept up outside of school hours let alone carry over into this year". Maybe also you could say "the goal of the inclusive classroom was so he felt included and normal but oddly the way it wound up was he still felt labeled and different and separated from the non-LD kids by being pushed to only be with the LD kids".

 

You have to make them see their desired action does not produce the results THEY want.

 

Once the others see that doing something alternative and non-mainstream seems to be the right path, to lessen anxiety about doing the odd thing, to bring in the testimony and praise from those homeschoolers who have been doing it longer. In your case you could discuss kids with autism who homeschool with success.

 

The last thing is that this can be tried as a one year thing and see how it goes. Sometimes if those who worry think it is a short term committment and you are open  minded for revisiting it after some time to evaluate its success they are okay with trying it out in the beginning. For some who assume that the decision to try HSing is a long term committment may be very scary to them, enough to want to run in the opposite direction even if that action will NOT produce the results they want. Some people would rather conform and follow the mainstream then do the harder thing to step outside the well beaten path.

 

Even those of us who started out HSing for other reasons and who didn't have kids with LDs met opposition from some people in our lives. However often after a couple of years or three, the others come around all by themselves when they see all the good that is happening and how good the kids are turning out. Some of them even forget their initial opposition to the whole idea. Others actually get radical and become champions of HSing and tout its benefits far and wide. But in your case the buy in of the child's mother, the father and even the boyfriend seem to me to be more important than what some of us went through with doubting grandparents or negative sister in laws or doubting neighbors.

 

Good luck.

Hope this helps.

Date Posted: 9/13/2009 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 66
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It amazes me how many people have NOT gone to public school. In public school the classmates are the ones who turn the same age as you by some date on the calender.  This could be between 10 and 30 or more kids. How many adults do this?   It does not how unkind they are to you. You have to put up with it. Some of these bullies continue this into adulthood.  You are told harrasment is wrong. It does not seem to apply much to public school children since you are told to toughen up. You have to all be the same. Heaven forbid if your cloths or hair style is not "in".  You do not socialize with anyone younger or older then you. Actually in our school there was concern that the 5th and 6th graders might be in contact with 7th and 8th graders.  Of course this can not happen!

 

Special ed students? I actually have one of them. This is his last year of high school. Luckily he is so cognatively delayed to be aware of the other kids.

I did have another son I pulled out of school. They tested him and tried to tell me he was borderline MR. Everytime he said "I don't know" they believed him. It was also easier to give him easier work then deal with his behavior.  Not sure I taught him much but I know I tried harder.

 

Anyway since this is my oldest sons last year of school. I plan to try and get Special Olympics in the year book.

 

Kathy



Last Edited on: 9/13/09 8:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: homeschool criticism
Date Posted: 10/10/2009 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 2
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only those who do not know about homeschooling put it down. 

I homeschooled my girls right through high school, one with mild add.  both went on to college, one is a lawyer, the other has a masters in education.  we could not have squezed more socialization time in if we tried.  Girl Scouts, 4H, choir, ballet, tap, jazz, horse back riding, religious education, scottish country dancing and highland dancing, and one a week a homeschool group for 4 hours to work on group activities. 

A child with "special needs", whether it is something that needs additional attention, or a child who is bright and curious, does not need the kind of socialization that is considered "normal" in a public school.

btw, they both had small businesses of their own by the time they were in high school.  One transferred 19 college credits earned through the community college to a regular top-ranked state university.

 

very proud and satisfied mom of a homeschooling family