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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool? Part 1

**This post was written back in April.  I have other posts that I'll publish later.  For now, here's a taste.  I plan to write regularly about our homeschool journey.  For any parents out there who are on the fence or considering homeschooling, we're only 2 weeks in "officially" but I highly recommend it!  Have a blessed day!

Our family has been wrestling with this question for the past several months.  There are so many factors to consider and it is just plain hard to know what to do.

Initially, we had planned to homeschool from the very beginning.  But then our son was diagnosed with a form of high-functioning autism (Asperger's Syndrome) and so we decided at the time that the best thing for him was to send him to public school where he would have access to speech and occupational therapies as well as a more structured environment and also be immersed in a social environment at an early enough age that (hopefully) he could more easily adapt and learn to recognize social cues and respond appropriately.  Whew.  Deep breath.

His kindergarten year was fantastic and he made tremendous progress.  Let me just say he attended a phenomenal public elementary school.  I didn't really realize how right my grandfather was when he said it was the envy of the county.  I mean, I spent part of 3rd and all of 4th grade there and I didn't remember it being all that spectacular.  Not terrible.  Just...meh.  But then again, I was 9 and 10 years old.  What did I know?  Now, as a mom, I'd go even further and say the school is probably the envy of the entire least it was before Common Core, but I'll get to that another time.  And as good as our district is here now, I still don't think it holds a candle to this school.  From drop-off in the mornings to encouraging parental involvement, to educational standards, to school lunch choices, to seasoned and well-trained teachers, to pick-up in the afternoons...  The list goes on and on.  That school ran like a well-oiled machine.  It wasn't perfect.  There's no such thing as a perfect school because schools are made up of people and people are not perfect.  But, it was close. :)

Then we moved three states away.  We are still in a good school district but that first year was challenging and we encountered some growing pains.  Not only was our oldest having to adjust to a new school and a new teacher, but a new home and a new town as well, which really complicated things.  It was difficult hearing him say nearly every day, "I want to go home to Georgia.  I don't like it here.  I want Mrs. Freeman."  Transitions are really hard for Aspies and our son was no exception.  He faced an enormous amount of change over the course of a couple months and I am SO PROUD of him for his ability to cope.  Moving to a new town is hard on any kid, but especially so for an autistic child.  He managed, though.  We managed with the help of our Lord.

On the whole, this year has gone much more smoothly for Jackson.  He knows the school, he knows the rules.  The only adjustments he really had to make this year were in having a new teacher and a new schedule.  On the first day, I ate breakfast at school with the boys and then walked Jackson to class.  I was really just helping him carry his school supplies to his seat.  Apparently though, I lingered in the room too long (seriously, 60 seconds maybe?) because I remember him saying, "Mommy, when are you going to leave?"  That was a far cry from his reaction the previous year, but one I was very thankful to receive...even if it did hurt my feelings just a little. ;)

Even so, this year has not been without its challenges either.  Sweet boy though he is, he still has behavioral issues sometimes that usually stem from his inability to focus or stay on task, or often a result of overstimulation.  He recently "clipped down" for saying the "a**" word.  When I asked him why he said it, he told me because some boy at recess told him to.  He has such a sweet innocence about him that he doesn't "see" or "understand" why a child would tell him to do something he's not supposed to do.  Occasionally, he has come home saying he doesn't want to go back to school or that he is going to run away because the kids are mean to him.  (Honestly, based on some of the things he has told us that he says to them, I'm not so sure that he is entirely innocent in these cases.  Tact.  The boy has very little.  You Aspie Parent Peeps out there know what I'm talking about! ;))

Anyway, so one of the things that has us thinking seriously about homeschooling again this year is Common Core and our repulsion of it.  I don't want my kids exposed to it.  Period.  The more I learn about Common Core, the more convinced I am that we either have to STOP Common Core, or pull them out of school.  It's toxic, it's unconstitutional, it's in short...a national disaster.  (I'll need an entirely separate post for all things wrong with Common Core.)  What I hate is that I really like the boys' school and the teachers.  The boys have had a GREAT year so far.  So, what do we do?  We pray for wisdom and guidance.  We pray for God to make the decision very clear.  We'll continue to "mull it over" now and during the summer and see what happens.

*Well, you already know what happened.  Part 2 of our decision to homeschool coming soon.  Stay tuned...

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