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Hi there,

 

I'm hoping I can get some wisdom from some seasoned parents as I plan for next year. I have the registration papers for my local public school in front of me - a good school by all accounts - and I'm wondering what some of you all would do if you were in my shoes. Forgive the novel.

 

Earlier this year I had a brain tumor removed and the recovery has been less than smooth. The biggest obstacle has been violent headaches and fatigue. The headaches are unpredictable (about 2-3 per week) and will completely upend our days. I'm working with a neurologist to find some relief but the future is a bit unknown at this point as is my ability to homeschool (or so I'm wondering, anyways). We basically cut out all activities other than the bare minimum.

 

My oldest daughter will be in second grade next year. She had a very brief stint in developmental preschool at age four but has otherwise been homeschooled. She has ASD with her biggest struggles being anxiety and sensory avoiding behaviors. She is at or above grade level in most skill subjects, I think. Definitely ahead in reading and math but probably at grade level in writing ability. We've tried a few curriculums throughout the year for content subjects with some success but it just hasn't happened consistently. Let's just say I've streamlined a lot, which is a nice way of saying that content subjects are happening by default if at all.

 

School usually gets done in our house but it's the bare minimum. We read together and my dd reads a lot on her own. She is halfway through the Miquon Blue book and seems to like it. I love the concepts of Bravewriter but other than Tuesday tea parties the implementation has left a lot to be desired and dd rebels at copywork most of the time. My dd's favorite thing in the world is to walk around and tell stories (it's actually more of a self-regulating behavior) and she will do this for hours. Actually, she seriously rebels at anything that gets in the way of her telling stories (which is probably a whole different post) other than playing board games. Writing is a big struggle unless it's something she wants to write. Ask her to write a sentence from a book? "It's SO long!" Ask her to write a two page menu so we can play restaurant? Sign her up. Let's just say there have been lots of menus and recipes written in recent months. I've learned a lot about give and take in my ideals (brain surgery is uber helpful for that) and it has helped me relax a lot in how we approach our day.

 

All that in mind, I'm in a quandary as I face next year. I hear our local school is good and tries to meet kids "where they're at." A big part of me wonders if I'm doing my dd a serious disservice because we've been very isolated with my health challenges and those might not be changing. I know there are great social venues for homeschoolers and we were in a co-op earlier this year but I needed to withdraw. Unfortunately, I don't have the physical capacity right now to chase my youngest in that setting. My dd is in ballet, OT and a social skills group, so there is some social outlet, but I don't know if it's enough for a child with lagging social skills. If I'm being honest, this keeps me up at night. On the other hand, I love our relaxed life most of the time and so does she. I think I'm okay that we're only managing the bare minimum school-wise right now although insecurity strikes on occasion. But here's my question - would you continue homeschooling if you couldn't give your child an adequate social outlet, especially if that child really needed it? I see other girls her age with friends and my dd has one (a huge work in progress), although she does call her family her best friends.

 

Thank you kindly in advance for any insight and wisdom.

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I think you should ask this on the Learning Challenges board too--you will probably get more BTDT perspective on socialization. If you know that you would follow up on school friendships and think she would be likely to make friends at school, then I think the socialization issue is a valid concern. I have an Aspie, and school helped him have more friends and interaction, but we rarely did anything with them outside of school. We didn't live close enough to other families, and it seems like so many of them were always busy, busy, busy. The neighbor is his only long-term playmate, and he's a really good friend.

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I can't answer for you, of course, and especially because I am not ill and don't know what it is like to carry that burden.  But just from what you say, and assuming your public school is decent, I would send her to school.  You can always change your mind if school is not suitable to her/not doing her justice.

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It sounds like she is learning and progressing well even with your illness. My kids have some sensory issues which makes being in large groups uncomfortable. Do you think if she were in school she would be able to handle the constant stimuli? I also wonder how she would be after school. Honestly no matter what you choose it may not be ideal.

 

I've never had anything like brain surgery but I used to get crippling migraines that sent me to bed for the day. At their worst they came on 2-3 times a week. Only my oldest was homeschooling and we got through with audiobooks and CLE. It turned out for me that MSG, gluten and low hormones were the culprits. I still get some headaches, but I am not taken down by them. I hope you find a solution. It sounds like you have been through a lot!

 

Have you chatted with her OT about this? What does your husband think? If it were me I think I'd keep homeschooling, but I really don't have any experience with the kind of behavior issues you dd has. There is a new book out from Memoria Press that takes about Classical Education with special kids. I'm not sure if anything in there would be helpful, but maybe it would be encouraging. Also, what about hiring a babysitter so you can take dd to co-op? If you think that co-op would make the difference, it might be worth finding your little one a sitter so it's possible for dd to go.

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(((Hugs))) to you. It must be a hard place to be, feeling so unwell and dealing with all these doubts over what's the right thing to do for your girls.

 

In your place, I would probably keep home schooling, because even though you don't feel you are doing enough, the fact that your eldest is at or above grade level on most things and seems reasonably content tells me you're doing a better job than you think you are. However, I can't know what you're going through with the post surgery situation: you're the only person who can judge whether what you're doing now is too much. Also, you didn't specify how much, if any, extra help and support you could get from your partner / relations / friends. So if you are feeling that you need some kind of permission/validation to enroll your child in school, consider it granted! Remember that school, if you choose it, need not be for the whole year, or even the whole term. If you start her and it proves to be distressing, you can always pull her out again as soon as you feel able.

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I'm facing the birth of a severely handicapped child this summer. I've investigated our neighborhood schools because I think I may be providentially hindered from homeschooling (spending hours multiple times per week at the hospital, or staying up most of the night dealing with feeding problems or other now-unknown problems). I'm not sure that I'm going to send my kids to school, but I don't think it'd be the worst thing for them. Personally, while I doubt they would learn new academics, I think they would be stretched in good ways socially. (Not because I think PS is the be-all-and-end-all of socialization, rather because we live in a unique neighborhood that offers a very different situation that I think would help them be better people.) 

 

Emily

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My ds12 is also an Aspie.  How does your dd do with crowds and other outside stimuli (noise, lights, etc)?  I think the stress of those things would outweigh the social benefits for my son.  So that might also be something to think about.  

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Thanks so much for your replies.

 

Kbutton, you make a great point I hadn't thought about - following up on friendships outside of school. My hunch is that I would but I do know that schedules would be a big obstacle. I know that my dd will need tons of downtime after school to manage a full day schedule. I'm not sure how she will do it, actually. Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Thanks for your thoughts, reefgazer. I keep telling myself that I can just try it and take her out. I don't know why I have so much fear about it. I don't think public school is evil or anything like that. Hardly. My dd has this quirky innocence and no self consciousness and I'm afraid of that being squelched. So, yeah, I have a lot of fear which I know isn't a good reason for doing or not doing just about anything. : ) And i do know can happen anywhere, not just school. I mean, she got made fun of for some of her behavior in Barnes and Noble just last week (she was completely oblivious) but I think that's one of my main worries. Along with that, her anxiety gets to be pretty debilitating in new settings and it's challenging when she brings that home.

 

Thank you for the kind thoughts, amazzie. I have taken out gluten and dairy (my dd is already gfdf so it wasn't too hard) but it's too soon to see if it's helping much. Wine is out, which is a huge bummer. I'm glad you've been able to find some relief. That gives me hope. I have talked with my dd's OT and social skills group leaders but they're both very pro-public school so it wasn't too helpful. I think there thought is the faster I get her in there, the better. Since I'm the main educator at home, my husband is supportive of whatever I decide but would love it if we could continue homeschooling. He worries how our dd will survive a six and half hour school day and also loves the relaxed lifestyle homeschooling gives us. As for the constant stimuli, my initial answer is she wouldn't do well but my hope is accommodation could be made for some things.

 

Thanks so much for your kind replies. I really appreciate it.

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longnightmoon, our family is also contemplating whether to send some of our children to school next year (we have always homeschooled),and we have some special needs, so I can empathize with your quandary. Although I'm a big proponent of homeschooling, I do think that traditional schools can offer children some positive things. If your local school really is willing and able to work with and make accommodations for your daughter's needs, it might be worth it to give it a try.  I think that either scenario would probably be fine for her, so it might be a good time to choose what is right for you. If having her at school during the day will enable you to look after your own health needs better, I would give that a lot of consideration. If you take care of yourself, it will benefit your whole family.

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It's not all home schooling vs. not home schooling. My oldest has a pile of friends because she's a social beast. A child with ASD might be doing really well with one friend, and that plus a social skills group might be enough to fulfill her social needs at this time. Most ASD kids in school don't have a big pile of friends either.

 

I'd be slightly more worried about the irregular academics, because I did find that academics in second grade had to be more regular than in first.

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Hi there,

 

 

 

Earlier this year I had a brain tumor removed and the recovery has been less than smooth. The biggest obstacle has been violent headaches and fatigue. The headaches are unpredictable (about 2-3 per week) and will completely upend our days. I'm working with a neurologist to find some relief but the future is a bit unknown at this point as is my ability to homeschool (or so I'm wondering, anyways). We basically cut out all activities other than the bare minimum.

 

My oldest daughter will be in second grade next year. She had a very brief stint in developmental preschool at age four but has otherwise been homeschooled. She has ASD with her biggest struggles being anxiety and sensory avoiding behaviors. She is at or above grade level in most skill subjects, I think. Definitely ahead in reading and math but probably at grade level in writing ability. We've tried a few curriculums throughout the year for content subjects with some success but it just hasn't happened consistently. Let's just say I've streamlined a lot, which is a nice way of saying that content subjects are happening by default if at all.

 

School usually gets done in our house but it's the bare minimum. We read together and my dd reads a lot on her own. She is halfway through the Miquon Blue book and seems to like it. I love the concepts of Bravewriter but other than Tuesday tea parties the implementation has left a lot to be desired and dd rebels at copywork most of the time. My dd's favorite thing in the world is to walk around and tell stories (it's actually more of a self-regulating behavior) and she will do this for hours. Actually, she seriously rebels at anything that gets in the way of her telling stories (which is probably a whole different post) other than playing board games. Writing is a big struggle unless it's something she wants to write. Ask her to write a sentence from a book? "It's SO long!" Ask her to write a two page menu so we can play restaurant? Sign her up. Let's just say there have been lots of menus and recipes written in recent months. I've learned a lot about give and take in my ideals (brain surgery is uber helpful for that) and it has helped me relax a lot in how we approach our day.

 

All that in mind, I'm in a quandary as I face next year. I hear our local school is good and tries to meet kids "where they're at." A big part of me wonders if I'm doing my dd a serious disservice because we've been very isolated with my health challenges and those might not be changing. I know there are great social venues for homeschoolers and we were in a co-op earlier this year but I needed to withdraw. Unfortunately, I don't have the physical capacity right now to chase my youngest in that setting. My dd is in ballet, OT and a social skills group, so there is some social outlet, but I don't know if it's enough for a child with lagging social skills. If I'm being honest, this keeps me up at night. On the other hand, I love our relaxed life most of the time and so does she. I think I'm okay that we're only managing the bare minimum school-wise right now although insecurity strikes on occasion. But here's my question - would you continue homeschooling if you couldn't give your child an adequate social outlet, especially if that child really needed it? I see other girls her age with friends and my dd has one (a huge work in progress), although she does call her family her best friends.

 

Thank you kindly in advance for any insight and wisdom.

 

Maybe.

 

Fifteen months ago, our answer was no, and I put my outgoing, gregarious ASD son back into ps in third grade after hsing for two and a half years.  He was very anxious and unhappy at the time and was struggling to make friends at the local co-op. He wanted to go back and I thought the extra support would be helpful. After two months the situation deteriorated. It was too much from a sensory perspective, he was getting bullied, his anxiety went through the roof, the Common Core work was too abstract for him and he started having violent meltdowns at school. This in spite of a very supportive staff. He wound up receiving an out of district placement to a private schoolm which has had his own set of problems. But he did make lasting friends, both at ps and now at private school. He didn't when we hsed. Kind of ironic.

 

You can always try it and pull her if it doesn't work, but know that it will probably be rocky.

 

Some things to consider: Have you familiarized yourself with the special education program at the school? Have you asked her therapists to provide recommendations to the school for her social & sensory needs?  Do you know any other parents of children on the autism spectrum in your district you can chat with? This community will be important. Have you learned about the kinds of accommodations you can request? If she gets overwhelmed and needs to take a break, can they accommodate that? Have you checked out the homework requirements for second grade? Try to look at samples--this can give you a great idea of the kind/volume of work they expect. Are you willing to see her struggle academically for reasons that are unrelated to the skills being taught?   If she needs significant downtime after school to recover from the day (as in, hours), how will that affect your family? If your daughter is subjected to prolonged teasing or bullying, how is she likely to react? Is she able to advocate for herself?

 

A lot of being in ps is about learning how to get along in a group environment without a fuss. Kids in K-2 have to learn a lot of self-management, which is tougher for ASD kids.  Socializing with other children really only happens at recess, which can be a sensory nightmare.  You will most likely need to go out of your way to arrange play dates to facilitate friendships.   Expect a big uptick in anxiety-related and sensory behaviors as she adjusts to the new, far more stimulating environment and becomes more aware of how others perceive her, for better or for worse. She will probably not react well to the standardized work she'll receive--it sounds like you've done a wonderful job of incorporating learning into her interests and the work will be dramatically different from what she is used to.  Expect a lengthy adjustment period.

 

All that said, your health is important and ps could be really good for her. Once she learns the rules, the structure might help and she may find friends who appreciate her quirks.

 

If I had to make that same decision regarding ps again, I'm not sure what I would do. But your current situation seems to be working fairly well. If you both love your lifestyle and if she's comfortable at co-op, would it be possible to hire someone to take her there and hand off some of the hs work to your dh on days when you have headaches?

 

 

 

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Doing just the basics while she is young is just fine. You have time for the rest. Keep to the basics and reading books, writing menus, etc. You are doing great! You are building a firm foundation of skills she can use later to learn anything she wants. 

 

As for copywork, not all kids learn to write that way. 

 

Have you seen Write Shop Kids? No copywork, that I remember.

 

As far as the public vs homeschool. Given your dd and life situation I would not do it. 

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(((Hugs))) to you. It must be a hard place to be, feeling so unwell and dealing with all these doubts over what's the right thing to do for your girls.

 

In your place, I would probably keep home schooling, because even though you don't feel you are doing enough, the fact that your eldest is at or above grade level on most things and seems reasonably content tells me you're doing a better job than you think you are. However, I can't know what you're going through with the post surgery situation: you're the only person who can judge whether what you're doing now is too much. Also, you didn't specify how much, if any, extra help and support you could get from your partner / relations / friends. So if you are feeling that you need some kind of permission/validation to enroll your child in school, consider it granted! Remember that school, if you choose it, need not be for the whole year, or even the whole term. If you start her and it proves to be distressing, you can always pull her out again as soon as you feel able.

Thanks for your compassion. I appreciate it. It is hard for me not to think of school as a year long decision but you're right - it needn't be such a long commitment to try it out. Thanks for your kind reply.
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I'm facing the birth of a severely handicapped child this summer. I've investigated our neighborhood schools because I think I may be providentially hindered from homeschooling (spending hours multiple times per week at the hospital, or staying up most of the night dealing with feeding problems or other now-unknown problems). I'm not sure that I'm going to send my kids to school, but I don't think it'd be the worst thing for them. Personally, while I doubt they would learn new academics, I think they would be stretched in good ways socially. (Not because I think PS is the be-all-and-end-all of socialization, rather because we live in a unique neighborhood that offers a very different situation that I think would help them be better people.)

 

Emily

Thanks for your reply, Emily. I can see why you would consider sending your kids to school for a while and I'm glad you live in a neighborhood with a school you appreciate. We are fortunate to see a lot of positives in our local community school, as well. I am sorry that you are facing such a difficult road ahead. I wish you an abundance of wisdom as you make these decisions for your and your family. Peace to you on this path.

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My ds12 is also an Aspie. How does your dd do with crowds and other outside stimuli (noise, lights, etc)? I think the stress of those things would outweigh the social benefits for my son. So that might also be something to think about.

She doesn't do well. She has gotten a lot better over the years with noise (although we still always have her noise canceling headphones handy) but crowds are very overstimulating for her. Spatially, she does much better in small classrooms as opposed to big open rooms like gyms or cafeterias.

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Will you be able to get her to and from school. I do it on my way to and from work but for other parents it is at least and hour a day possibly more, and it has to be done at the eight time which adds to the stress.

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It's not all home schooling vs. not home schooling. My oldest has a pile of friends because she's a social beast. A child with ASD might be doing really well with one friend, and that plus a social skills group might be enough to fulfill her social needs at this time. Most ASD kids in school don't have a big pile of friends either.

 

I'd be slightly more worried about the irregular academics, because I did find that academics in second grade had to be more regular than in first.

Thanks for your reply. You bring up some really good points. I may have confused the matter by mentioning the friend issue as my bigger concern is isolation. But I agree that one friend for one person may be plenty.

 

Thank you for your comment about academics. I have felt more worry about the decision because I know that it would be much better to start her in second grade than in third in the public schools as far as academic expectations go (from what I hear anyways). It would give her time to adjust. Likewise, I know that I would expect more from myself next year homeschooling, as well. If we do keep her home, I would want to find a lot of "do what comes next" curriculums. Math seems to always get done in our house for this very reason - just do the next page. My lofty ideals are becoming short-lived, lol. : ) Thanks again for your reply.

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aclem - thank you so much for your reply. You have a lot of perspective. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. Bear with me as I can't get the quote function to work.

 

You ask some really great questions that have me thinking.

 

I have talked with the guidance counselor at the school and our first conversation was positive. She did say they could make accommodations but no specifics were mentioned. They don't have IEP meetings for new students until the end of the summer. Still, she was open to accommodations for sensory issues which our last school district wasn't so that was encouraging. The therapist who has led my dd's social skills group will advocate for her in those meetings in the future.

 

Great idea about checking the homework samples. I'm not sure if you run into this with your son but my dd is extremely rigid about what she will and won't do. I used to think it was a parenting issue and I was failing miserably - maybe it still is to some degree - but I think it's partly how she's built, too. So on those bad days I've wondered if public school would help her to do things she doesn't like to do - or if it will make it worse. I just don't know. But I don't require tons of writing output from her and I know my friends' children do have a lot more output in their first grade classes. So I think it will be a struggle. And from our short experience at developmental preschool years ago, I do know the anxiety at home will be tough and need to be managed somehow. That experience was what started us thinking about homeschooling in the first place.

 

Could you explain a little bit more about your son struggling with the abstract nature of the common core? I'd be curious to hear more about that if you have the time.

 

Thank you for the realistic picture of what to expect in the classroom. She isn't very good with self-management and is distracted very easily. Basically, if she starts a task but sees anything in print she will stop to look at the letters. She is mesmerized by letters and symbols (I'm sure there won't be any to distract her in a second grade classroom). ; ) So that will be a learning process for sure. Not insurmountable, I'm sure, but a struggle.

 

I can't thank you enough for your post. You've given me a lot to mull over. It looks like you are deciding whether to bring you son back home again next year? That can't be an easy decision. I wish you much wisdom in the process. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I am grateful.

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Doing just the basics while she is young is just fine. You have time for the rest. Keep to the basics and reading books, writing menus, etc. You are doing great! You are building a firm foundation of skills she can use later to learn anything she wants.

 

As for copywork, not all kids learn to write that way.

 

Have you seen Write Shop Kids? No copywork, that I remember.

 

As far as the public vs homeschool. Given your dd and life situation I would not do it.

Thank you for the encouragement. I haven't seen Write Shop Kids - I will check it out. It's a good reminder that even though copywork may be a great method she might not learn best that way. Thanks for your kind thoughts. I appreciate it.

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How do your physical symptoms affect your mood and how you deal with the children?  I have had 2 special needs children and am dealing with some extreme depression and anxiety.  I know those two things are mild compared to what you are describing, and I couldn't handle my kids needs.  My medical issues affected my mood and my lack of ability to parent well so I put my kids in school.  I like that it is not a permanent thing, and if I ever feel up to homeschooling again, I can do it. 

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I didn't read the other replies.  My mom had a brain tumor removed, and she was not back to herself really for 18 months or so.  Like you, recovery involved massive headaches almost daily.  It was a long, slow road.  My brother and I were in 5th and 7th grades (not homeschooled).  So :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:  to you during this tough time!

 

I honestly wonder if the best thing for your health would not be to give yourself a year to recover.  Place your child in school, knowing that it might only be for one school year.  She may struggle to adapt, being ASD, but you can then come back into the game refreshed and ready to go.  Even if her skills don't budge at all for a full year, you can catch that up quickly at her age.  Similarly, if you decide to keep her home, just continue to stick to the bare minimum and make your recovery the top priority.  Do NOT overtax yourself!!! 

 

Take it easy, and all the best! 

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Will you be able to get her to and from school. I do it on my way to and from work but for other parents it is at least and hour a day possibly more, and it has to be done at the eight time which adds to the stress.

Good question. We are fortunate to live two blocks from the school. It is an easy walk.

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I don't have time to read all the replies, so forgive me if this has already been mentioned.  I think that you have to also consider what impact sending your dd to school will have on your health.  I don't have nearly the medical issues that you have, but I do have chronic insomnia that sometimes renders me fairly incapacitated.  If had to get my kids up for school in the morning, that would actually make things worse for me.  And then I would have to help them with homework every night.  My dd9 has an LD that would likely require a lot of advocacy on my part to get appropriate interventions.  I honestly do not have the energy to do any of that.  I need (and my dd needs) the flexibility to be able to find simpler, more practical ways to get to any particular academic end.  Having a teacher dictate how to get there would be more stressful for us.  

 

Of course, there may come a point when you just are not able to meet her needs at all.  But even so, if your medical future is uncertain, there is no academic gain (IMO) that should overshadow time with a parent whose health is failing.  

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Likewise, I know that I would expect more from myself next year homeschooling, as well. If we do keep her home, I would want to find a lot of "do what comes next" curriculums. Math seems to always get done in our house for this very reason - just do the next page. My lofty ideals are becoming short-lived, lol. : )

 

We have a lot of "do the next thing" curriculum with my Aspie. It's smoother that way. I would be trying to locate specific ideas for this before making a decision on way or another because it ties directly to one of your bigger concerns (getting things done).

 

I would find out what actually happens if your daughter can't keep up with busywork and stimulation in spite of her accomodations. What happens if she's a disruption to the class--will it be considered a discipline issue? My son was in private school, but the penalty for him would be that he did work at recess. That clinched it for us--he would either have never had recess, or he would have done sloppy work to get by. And the sad part is that the work he'd be staying in for would likely be stuff he had mastered five worksheets ago or simply for copywork types of things that he couldn't do fast enough, neat enough, whatever. He would have been subjected to lots of timed tests and the like as well. His behavior issues were handled graciously, so that was not a problem.

 

We also found that doing homework was nearly impossible unless it was given in a lump on Friday and due throughout the next week. He was just too fried to do it otherwise.

 

I know other families that navigate school successfully with these issues, but those would be my questions for the school and for the specific teachers for her grade.

 

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You asked what we would do so I will say that I wouldn't put her in school. Keep in mind, all three of my kids are in school full time. It's not a terrible place and most schools ad filled with hard working, loving people.

 

I completely agree.

 

However, they simply will not be able to accommodate a child who needs to verbally tell stories to calm herself, who needs to do most of her work verbally. The lights, the noise, she will be in sensory overload. My most laid back kid dislikes school because of e noise.

 

Yes, this is my biggest concern. Even if they say they can accommodate, I don't know how realistic it will be in actual practice.

 

I would find some way to accommodate your health problems. Make as much as possible independent so that she can carry on even if you are not avalible. Can someone else take her to coop? I wouldn't be too worried about socializing. You have her doing a few activities and having a ASD means friends at going to be hard won. The ps environment where she will stand out all the more will not help her make friends.

I haven't developed a lot of relationships at this co-op yet and the friendships I have developed live in the opposite direction, unfortunately. But it might be worth finding some type a sitter to help if we go route. We haven't gotten creative yet but we may just need to do that.

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts.

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I've not had a brain tumor, but do have terrible migraines and fatigue problems.

 

My ds started out in b&m schools, and they were nice socially, but for him they were not good academically. Even with my difficulties home school is still better academically.

I try to have things he can do if I am not well. The older he gets the easier that is, but audiobooks, educational DVD's, and so on work well. He also has been able to do math fairly independently since 2nd grade (though he prefers me to be there alongside him).  B&M school actually put a greater burden on me other than the social outlet, since they really seemed to expect the parent to do the teaching during homework time while they provided the fun and games. But if homework was due there was no way to juggle what was mom intensive and not as needed.

 

We also "do the next thing" so there is not much lesson planning to do, and I have some easier materials and workbooks that are easier to do independently and then harder materials that take more of my input.

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:grouphug: I can't speak to having had a brain tumor, but a few years ago when I was severely hypothyroid -- to the point of becoming non-functional for a while there -- I could never have made public school work. The logistics of the daily "up and out the door" routine would have been so much more unmanageable for me than homeschooling was. With my husband's travel and work schedule (completely erratic and unpredictable) there was no way he could be the parent-in-charge for getting the kids to school.

 

We still managed to do what needed to be done academically, even with my medical issues. Sure, there were days when my health threw a wrench in the machinery, but we kept plodding as much as we could. We made progress, without the encumbrance of being on the school system's time table. I think that, for me, the frustrations of dealing with one institution (the medical establishment) were enough at one time, without the added frustration of another institution (the school system). LOL, that tells you something about my personality, I'm not sure what. :lol: But there was enough medical stupid stuff happening already, without having to deal with senseless stuff from the school, too.

 

You wrote that you have headaches severe enough to put you out of commission for two or three days a week. Who would pack all three kids up and get your daughter to school on those days? Could you manage to do that consistently enough that you wouldn't end up in conflict with the school over too many tardies or absences? Would your daughter and other two children cooperate with you towards getting her there, even on your worst days? Would the teacher(s) and administrator(s) at the school be understanding of your medical situation if it is unresolved during the school year? 

 

I did regain my health again, and I'm praying for the same for you. :grouphug:

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I don't have the answer for you, just a few questions that might contribute to your thought process.

If you chose not to enroll her in school, is there someone who could work with her a couple of times a week to make up for anything you were not able to do?

If you do enroll her in school, is your DH able to oversee homework? If her sensory issues include tactile, does her usual clothing fit with dress code? Is there a resource room or other quiet place where she can go if she becomes overwhelmed?

 

In your shoes, if sending her to school would help me recover, I'd do it; but I probably would not do it specifically for the sake of the child, who would be expending a lot of energy just learning to deal with the environment and learning format of PS. I would think she won't necessarily learn more at PS 7 hours a day/5 hours a week than she is at home, at least for the first couple of months.

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I think that you ARE meeting social needs. A friend, dance class, social skills class, that's plenty for what, a  7 year old? Especially one on the spectrum. More isn't better. Better is better. Social skills class, a dance class, etc are better than a giant group of people if it overwhelms her. 

 

As for content, let her watch Liberty Kids or listen to the audio books of Story of the World, and for science watch  Magic Schoolbus and Mr. Wizard and Fetch (on PBS) and Cyber Chase. Have her read each day, do math, and some kind of language arts/writing/spelling if you can. Don't worry. 

 

Personally, i'm convinced you can learn all the science you need to know before highschool by watching Magic Schoolbus :)

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How do your physical symptoms affect your mood and how you deal with the children? I have had 2 special needs children and am dealing with some extreme depression and anxiety. I know those two things are mild compared to what you are describing, and I couldn't handle my kids needs. My medical issues affected my mood and my lack of ability to parent well so I put my kids in school. I like that it is not a permanent thing, and if I ever feel up to homeschooling again, I can do it.

This is a great question. I appreciate you asking. I've been surprisingly calm so far. I've had a few bouts with depression coming off of some meds but thankfully they've been short-lived. There were some weeks a few months ago where my dd was really going through a rough phase and I was unsure of how to deal with it and that had me down but I stayed pretty even with her (with a few typical freak out moments now and then, of course). All that to say, my spirits have been mostly positive thus far, but I am mindful that fatigue and pain wear on you after a while.

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I didn't read the other replies. My mom had a brain tumor removed, and she was not back to herself really for 18 months or so. Like you, recovery involved massive headaches almost daily. It was a long, slow road. My brother and I were in 5th and 7th grades (not homeschooled). So :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: to you during this tough time!

 

I honestly wonder if the best thing for your health would not be to give yourself a year to recover. Place your child in school, knowing that it might only be for one school year. She may struggle to adapt, being ASD, but you can then come back into the game refreshed and ready to go. Even if her skills don't budge at all for a full year, you can catch that up quickly at her age. Similarly, if you decide to keep her home, just continue to stick to the bare minimum and make your recovery the top priority. Do NOT overtax yourself!!!

 

Take it easy, and all the best!

Thank you for your thoughtful and compassionate post. I have overtaxed myself so far and suffered some setbacks so your words are very wise. It has been hard to make my recovery a "top priority" but I'm definitely learning the hard way. I appreciate you taking the time to post.

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I don't have time to read all the replies, so forgive me if this has already been mentioned. I think that you have to also consider what impact sending your dd to school will have on your health. I don't have nearly the medical issues that you have, but I do have chronic insomnia that sometimes renders me fairly incapacitated. If had to get my kids up for school in the morning, that would actually make things worse for me. And then I would have to help them with homework every night. My dd9 has an LD that would likely require a lot of advocacy on my part to get appropriate interventions. I honestly do not have the energy to do any of that. I need (and my dd needs) the flexibility to be able to find simpler, more practical ways to get to any particular academic end. Having a teacher dictate how to get there would be more stressful for us.

 

Of course, there may come a point when you just are not able to meet her needs at all. But even so, if your medical future is uncertain, there is no academic gain (IMO) that should overshadow time with a parent whose health is failing.

You raise a great point. And our local school starts at 8 which would be a challenging start time for us. Honestly, I think it's getting her out the door each morning with a lunch that would take the most physical effort (I've joked with my friends that have kids in school that I homeschool solely so I don't need pack a lunch and snack everyday). The flexibility of our schedule would be one of the hardest aspects to give up.

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We have a lot of "do the next thing" curriculum with my Aspie. It's smoother that way. I would be trying to locate specific ideas for this before making a decision on way or another because it ties directly to one of your bigger concerns (getting things done).

 

I would find out what actually happens if your daughter can't keep up with busywork and stimulation in spite of her accomodations. What happens if she's a disruption to the class--will it be considered a discipline issue? My son was in private school, but the penalty for him would be that he did work at recess. That clinched it for us--he would either have never had recess, or he would have done sloppy work to get by. And the sad part is that the work he'd be staying in for would likely be stuff he had mastered five worksheets ago or simply for copywork types of things that he couldn't do fast enough, neat enough, whatever. He would have been subjected to lots of timed tests and the like as well. His behavior issues were handled graciously, so that was not a problem.

 

We also found that doing homework was nearly impossible unless it was given in a lump on Friday and due throughout the next week. He was just too fried to do it otherwise.

 

I know other families that navigate school successfully with these issues, but those would be my questions for the school and for the specific teachers for her grade.

 

Thanks for the great advice. These are great questions to ask. I really appreciate you sharing your perspective. I'm sorry it was such a poor experience for your son - it's so disheartening to read. I'm glad to hear you have found some curriculum that is working for him. Good advice to start lining things up now in case we do keep her home and I might even try some this summer. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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I've not had a brain tumor, but do have terrible migraines and fatigue problems.

 

My ds started out in b&m schools, and they were nice socially, but for him they were not good academically. Even with my difficulties home school is still better academically.

I try to have things he can do if I am not well. The older he gets the easier that is, but audiobooks, educational DVD's, and so on work well. He also has been able to do math fairly independently since 2nd grade (though he prefers me to be there alongside him). B&M school actually put a greater burden on me other than the social outlet, since they really seemed to expect the parent to do the teaching during homework time while they provided the fun and games. But if homework was due there was no way to juggle what was mom intensive and not as needed.

 

We also "do the next thing" so there is not much lesson planning to do, and I have some easier materials and workbooks that are easier to do independently and then harder materials that take more of my input.

Thanks for your advice. Although I'm sorry to hear you are suffering from migraines, I'm glad to hear you are making it work for you and your son. I think I need to research some good "do the next thing" curriculums so I'm armed for next year. Vague theory with do-it-yourself implementation isn't going to cut it. : ) Thanks for your thoughts.

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:grouphug: I can't speak to having had a brain tumor, but a few years ago when I was severely hypothyroid -- to the point of becoming non-functional for a while there -- I could never have made public school work. The logistics of the daily "up and out the door" routine would have been so much more unmanageable for me than homeschooling was. With my husband's travel and work schedule (completely erratic and unpredictable) there was no way he could be the parent-in-charge for getting the kids to school.

 

We still managed to do what needed to be done academically, even with my medical issues. Sure, there were days when my health threw a wrench in the machinery, but we kept plodding as much as we could. We made progress, without the encumbrance of being on the school system's time table. I think that, for me, the frustrations of dealing with one institution (the medical establishment) were enough at one time, without the added frustration of another institution (the school system). LOL, that tells you something about my personality, I'm not sure what. :lol: But there was enough medical stupid stuff happening already, without having to deal with senseless stuff from the school, too.

 

You wrote that you have headaches severe enough to put you out of commission for two or three days a week. Who would pack all three kids up and get your daughter to school on those days? Could you manage to do that consistently enough that you wouldn't end up in conflict with the school over too many tardies or absences? Would your daughter and other two children cooperate with you towards getting her there, even on your worst days? Would the teacher(s) and administrator(s) at the school be understanding of your medical situation if it is unresolved during the school year?

 

I did regain my health again, and I'm praying for the same for you. :grouphug:

Thank you for your compassion. It's encouraging for me to read posts from people on the other side of a health crisis because, as you know, when you're in it it seems like it will never end. You ask some really good questions and I don't know all the answers. As a homeschooler, I feel like I can do what I want and they are going to need to understand and I do mean that respectfully. But, yeah, I'm guessing that's probably not the best response. My husband could pack up my dd on my bad days and my neighbor could take her. That wouldn't be a problem. But my dd is pretty adamant that she does NOT want to go to school so it won't be a picnic getting her there if she has decided she doesn't want to be there. It would definitely be interesting, that's for sure. Thanks for giving me some questions to think about. I appreciate you responding.

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I don't have the answer for you, just a few questions that might contribute to your thought process.

If you chose not to enroll her in school, is there someone who could work with her a couple of times a week to make up for anything you were not able to do?

If you do enroll her in school, is your DH able to oversee homework? If her sensory issues include tactile, does her usual clothing fit with dress code? Is there a resource room or other quiet place where she can go if she becomes overwhelmed?

 

In your shoes, if sending her to school would help me recover, I'd do it; but I probably would not do it specifically for the sake of the child, who would be expending a lot of energy just learning to deal with the environment and learning format of PS. I would think she won't necessarily learn more at PS 7 hours a day/5 hours a week than she is at home, at least for the first couple of months.

Good questions. Yes, my DH could oversee the homework for the most part and the school's dress code is pretty lax. My dd does like only elastic waistbands but she would be fine there, I think. Good question about the resource room that I can raise with the guidance counselor.

 

Even though I know I need to put my recovery a priority, and if we determine school is the avenue to do that, it is difficult knowing it will be a setback for my dd for the first few months at least. You are right - she probably won't be learning much academically for the first few months at least - and I'll need to accept that setbacks will be a part of the learning process. I'm not sure I'm ready for that quite yet.

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I think that you ARE meeting social needs. A friend, dance class, social skills class, that's plenty for what, a 7 year old? Especially one on the spectrum. More isn't better. Better is better. Social skills class, a dance class, etc are better than a giant group of people if it overwhelms her.

 

As for content, let her watch Liberty Kids or listen to the audio books of Story of the World, and for science watch Magic Schoolbus and Mr. Wizard and Fetch (on PBS) and Cyber Chase. Have her read each day, do math, and some kind of language arts/writing/spelling if you can. Don't worry.

 

Personally, i'm convinced you can learn all the science you need to know before highschool by watching Magic Schoolbus :)

Thank you. This was very encouraging for me to read. In fact, I think you've determined our science lessons for the rest of the year. : ) I appreciate the permission to lighten things up a bit.

 

Fundamentally, I do agree that quality is better than quantity for social skills. I think there is always that nagging voice within that says I need more hours (20 hours is what her old therapist told me). I should probably tell that voice to lighten up.

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I cannot imagine how difficult it is for you to care for three young children (and homeschool) with migraines.  I hope your health issues get resolved sooner than later and that you have some opportunities to rest!  

 

Would sending DD to school be the only option for you to get a break?  Could you have a mother's helper or nanny come part-time during the day so you can relax? Or, maybe a local high-school aged homeschooler who might be willing to help with the kids or work with your DD on academics?

 

Based on what you've said, it sounds like your DD might have a stressful time at school.  I agree with the PP who said that her (potential) stress level in the morning, at school, and at homework time could put more stress on you and her than it's worth.  I wouldn't do it solely for her academic and social benefit either - I think you could provide what she needs as long as you can get a break here and there for yourself.  

 

Good luck and I hope that you heal quickly!

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I'm sorry it took me a little time to get back to you!

 

When I say that Common Core has been a disaster for my ASD son, I'm saying in shorthand that the CC emphasis on increased conceptual thinking and abstract problem-solving at earlier and earlier ages (as well as the trend towards accelerated learning at earlier ages generally) has utterly failed him. He cannot learn this way. For him, the basics need to come first and foremost. Everyday Math is a lovely example of this kind of curriculum, and is the one they use at our local ps. No rote learning, computation skills are given short shrift, lots of games, scant review, often no direct point to the assignments. At our house, that philosophy led to meltdown after meltdown and zero retention.

 

But if you take an old style program, such as Rod & Staff, with an old style developmental timetable, with step by step, incremental learning, explicit instructions and lots of review, he does just fine. He might make mistakes, but he understands what he is supposed to do and why he needs to do it.

 

Here's a specific example: Everyday Math starts asking kids to make change in first grade, without explicitly teaching the math facts that make it possible to do that kind of mental math.  In R&S, the facts are explicitly taught and drilled and the level of mental math required for "making change" is started in third grade, after all the facts have been taught.

 

It's interesting that my younger, neurotypical son in ps manages to muddle through his Everyday Math assignments and do double digit addition in first grade, but can't apply what he's learned to anything outside of the EM worksheets and hasn't learned any math facts.

 

HTH!

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Thank you. This was very encouraging for me to read. In fact, I think you've determined our science lessons for the rest of the year. : ) I appreciate the permission to lighten things up a bit.

 

Fundamentally, I do agree that quality is better than quantity for social skills. I think there is always that nagging voice within that says I need more hours (20 hours is what her old therapist told me). I should probably tell that voice to lighten up.

 

 

I hope this isn't offensive, because I'm going to compare to my dog for a minute. I do not think children are dogs, but this may be a helpful comparison :)

 

My dog was shy, had a lot of fear and anxiety, and was becoming agressive. The standard wisdom was to give her LOTS of exposure to people to socialize her, to get her more comfortable with people. I was taking her to work with me daily (was working in a veterinary hospital, so she sat behind the front desk every day, all day). She got treats all day from people. I took her to shopping centers when that wasn't enough. Did everything right. (I'm a dog trainer and attend national education conferences on top of that). But she never got much better. Some, but not all the way. 

 

I moved eventually, and couldn't bring her with me anymore. she stayed home, on the bed, and slept. 

 

And got BETTER. LOTS better. 

 

All that constant exposure was keeping her brain chemicals all messed up. What she needed was a chance to be calm, more often, and in large doses, wtih small exposures to things that frightened her. Not massive exposure. (that is now being recognized in the literature, as we learn more about brain chemicals and stress hormones). 

 

So...that's what I think of a set number of hours for socializing. Plus, she is socializing with your family every day, all day. That should count too!

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