|1st day of school!|
YES! We are homeschooling!
So, the obvious first question is "Why?"
Well, there are a couple of reasons that I chose to homeschool Christian this year. Probably the most compelling reason was how bad Christian's last school year ended up being. We were driving 2 hours each way to get him to school, leaving home at 6am. That itself was exhausting, but we were hopeful that it would be worth the sacrifice.
|1st day of school!|
He also lost his kindergarten teacher mid school year and got a new one. Both were very good teachers, but emotionally, it was hard on Christian to suddenly and abruptly say goodbye to a teacher he had grown to trust and love and had already built a relationship with. Making such a huge switch in the middle of the year was really difficult for him. I was often encouraged to make Christian a resident student, which always felt a little abrasive and never sat right on my stomach. It just about wore a sore spot on me, because not many people seemed to realize my hesitation in sending my medically complex five year old off to live away from home with people I didn't know and him be unable to reach me if something went wrong or he needed me because he has no clue how to use a cell phone. What seemed so obvious to me was foreign and strange to others. I wasn't about to give up my child just so he could go to school there. Christian needs an education, but he also needs his family. Not to mention, I have suspicions that some folks (not school personnel) were not being very nice to Christian while he was at school, and he is simply unable to tell me whether or not it actually happened.
Christian didn't do well at school, his progress was minimal, and it simply ended up not being worth the time, effort, money, or stress it was costing us to get him to school. So, I decided that we wouldn't be trying that again in the near future. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that he attend there again in the future, but for now, it just isn't the best choice for him.
So, option number two was our local school system. Here we run into the issue of living in a poor county. Just calling a duck a duck. Our school system simply can't offer him all that he needs as a child with a visual impairment. It's not that they don't want to. The people we have worked with there in the past would have no problem getting every teacher and piece of equipment Christian would need...if they had the resources to get it. But reality is, they don't, and I fear that much of Christian's time, rather than being inclusive, would be spent with him not really understanding or knowing what was going on, because he would be in a classroom designed for kids who can see, and his teachers would be trained to teach kids who can see, with little to no experience about vision impairments or how to make the classroom accessible.
So, option number three, homeschool. It just makes practical sense. I have a graduate professional degree, I have been working with a blind child for six years, I am well equipped to teach Christian the things he needs to know at his age, and I can do this. If this was high school lessons I was having to teach, I might be more worried, but I can teach kindergarten and first grade level things to Christian. I know I can.
"But won't he need socialization? To be around other kids?" Yes! He sure will! We will have so many opportunities to be around other kids, and not just kids who are blind. Every Sunday, Christian joins other kids at our church for Bible lessons, games, and worship. We have also joined The Honeybee Christian Co-op (https://honeybeechristiancoop.org/) where Christian and Chandler both will attend weekly classes with other kids, all taught by the moms! This semester Christian will be doing a creative writing class, a lego building class, and a United States geography class, just to name a few of the things he will get immersed in. The co-op takes field trips often as well.
The co-op is such an amazing opportunity to break up the monotony of just doing home instruction, and offers the boys things that I might not think to teach them, or can't teach them. They will need to have some independence from me and be able to listen other adults who are instructing them. They will also need to learn to socialize with lots of other kids of different ages and backgrounds. It's a well organized group and the moms/teachers are fantastic at what they do!
|First Day of HoneyBee Christian Co-op!|
Homeschooling also frees up some time for us as opposed to the schedule we had last year driving four hours a day, so we have already been meeting up with some of Christian's friends! Really, Christian will get a more realistic socialization by being around lots of peers of different ages and abilities rather than a class room of only typical six year olds or only blind six year olds. I'm pretty excited about it!
So, what will homeschooing look like? For us, we will attend co-op every week, and we will continue Christian's private therapies at Special Kids. We will also be picking up therapies at our local school for drop in services. Christian will go in to do therapy and then leave. Finally, we will have instructional time at home, field trips that I plan, and as much intentional play time as I can squeeze in! I have several Braille curriculum to get Christian started on reading and literature. I have a Braille math curriculum as well. Other things that we do will be unit lessons that I adapt so that both boys can enjoy the lessons together.
I already have a science unit study planned out about outer space, and am working on one on bees and another on the human body. All things the boys have shown interest in and want to learn more about, so I am adapting lessons to things they want to learn about to spark their creativity and desire to learn.
|Christian's creation from his lego class at co-op!|
He was learning to follow instructions and listen!
The math lessons are building on sorting, counting, and simple addition and subtraction right now. Christian really has a math oriented mind (which he did NOT get from me, by the way) and it's amazing to see how easily he understands the concepts and how quickly they make sense. He is a smart cookie and it's fun to watch him learn and grow!
So, we will spend our days filled with lots of activities, and hopefully, fun! I want this year to really ignite a passion for learning in the boys and to teach them to apply themselves and work hard. I also want them to enjoy it. I want them to have fun. I want the pursuit of knowledge to be enjoyable, invited, welcomed, longed for. I hope to establish that with them this year! I am optimistic that we can make it happen!
***Side note! I am still on my social media hiatus, so I won't be reading any comments or responding to questions about this blog until I return. I'm not sure when that will be, but when I return, I will try to get caught up! Thanks for your patience!
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