Some Success: Homeschooling and Socializing

attachment_1417753768018_photo~2We have been settling into homeschooling. Cam seems to have recovered from his preschool experience. He still won’t let us drive by his old school, but he stopped asking if we were going to make him go back. He has been much happier. His anxiety and aggression have decreased. He is more relaxed and sleeping better. He has become increasingly loving and affectionate; Cam now tells us he loves us several times a day. He gives us hugs and “pat-pats” on our back. Our family feels good again, and my husband and I feel good about our decision to keep Cam home.Still, homeschooling was not my first choice. Heck, it wasn’t even my second choice. My first thought was Cam would go to public school with accommodations. Then, I thought, well maybe a small private school would be better. Homeschooling was not what I wanted. But, I like seeing Cam happy, growing, and learning. I like hearing Cam and his daddy giggle while they play Nerf guns and wrestle like they are doing now in the basement. I like being able to sleep again. And, it is not as isolating as I thought it would be.

IMG_0233We keep busy. At this point, I haven’t been teaching Cam at home. He sees a tutor twice a week, and I do enrichment and play academic games with him. He goes to occupational therapy once a week. He hangs out with his Grandma for two afternoons. We go to the library, shopping if he is up to it (sometimes it is just too stimulating). We do a play-date with Cam’s tutor’s son, V, who is also four. While Cam plays with V, his tutor steps in now and then to coach him on social skills like sharing, taking turns, or initiating a game. Cam also meets with his cousin once or twice a week to play, as well.

Interestingly, Cam is probably more social now than he was in school. At school, he stood by himself at recess. In the classroom, he was pretty shut down. With his cousin and friend, V, Cam is engaged and playing. And, at home, he is more social than ever. Once Cam’s anxiety subsided, he became softer and sweeter. He is more open with everyone. He told the cashier at Costco today that he loved her. It was hilarious! Then after we got home, he asked if he could marry her and have her move in with us!

I personally think that socializing at home with your family is the most important socializing. I read about Aspie kids who are so stressed out at school, they can barely engage with their family when they get home. And, then the parents say that the reason their child is in school is so he or she can learn social skills. But, nobody can learn and connect if they are stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. That being said, I know a lot of kids with autism do function well in school. So, I don’t want to be one of those people who says everyone must homeschool. You have to find what works for your child. And, I hope that one day Cam may be able to go back to school. There is a small Montessori school near us that might be a good fit. For now, though, we are happy that he is happy.

~Lou

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2 thoughts on “Some Success: Homeschooling and Socializing

  1. My Aspie son is now 14. I homeschooled him through 4th grade. If he had been an only child, I think I would have continued to homeschool him but alas, I had 2 other children I was also trying to homeschool and I was unable to devote all my time to my oldest and he would get distracted and then into trouble and then we ended up just fighting all the time. We had him tested at 8 and weren’t given a lot of answers, so at the time we wondered if he really had asperger’s or was just gifted and quirky. I know so much more about it now, and think I could have done things different and kept him home but at the time I needed a break and we put him in public school w/ his siblings. He did alright because the school is small, but we put him a grade below where he should have been academically so he wasn’t overwhelmed socially. This always bothered him. 6th grade was a different story. The school jumped from 420 to 1400. He HATED it. He got NO help because he was not having academic problems and not too many behavior problems but he was back to being alone, all the time. I agreed to homeschool him the next year, but going from the public school standards to what I wanted him to do at home was difficult for him. He had a hard time transitioning. We chose to do 2 grades that year and so the following year (this school year) he entered 9th grade at a magnet school in our area that is more geared toward non-traditional/advanced learners. He really likes it. He’s still working on the social stuff, but at least he has few friends there and is back in a structured learning environment where he knows what to expect so I can go back to just being mom and not teacher/mom. We still have our struggles, but I applaud your decision to homeschool and tell yourself to take it one year at a time. What’s right this year, may change next, and the next.

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