Thursday, March 8, 2007

Always have a Plan B

One thing I've learned (and teach) when it comes to crisis management is to "Always have a plan B". Like a chess player, you always have to be thinking ahead about possible future states, your possible reactions to them, and the possible consequences of those reactions.

So although our present plan is to stay the course and try to work with our local public school educators to school Buddy Boy, we realize that that is subject to change at any time.

We've looked at private schools in our neck of the woods, and at least for now, none are appropriate for Buddy Boy, or the ones we feel are, aren't willing to take him on at present.

So rather than just hope for the best, we also have a "Plan B", which for now is home schooling.

Last year we exercised this option when things were spinning out of control for us. Rather than let Buddy Boy get wharehoused in a totally inappropriate setting, we withdrew him for a medical leave, and homeschooled him for Kindergarten.

I think we're fortunate that we live in the US in this regard. It seems that homeschooling is much more accepted here than it is in other places. This is one trend that Europe doesn't seem to "get" as much.

Tibetan Star's post for March 2, 2007 linked an article from Germany where a teenager was imprisoned in a psychiatric ward for being homeschooled. Also reported that day was a proposal from the UK to have a central computerized registry of all of those utilizing this form of education.

Here in the US, laws vary from state to state, but most are fairly lenient. Most states set some requirements in terms of curriculum and record keeping, but are fairly lenient when it comes to the credentials (or lack thereof) of parents. According to Wikipedia, in 2003 there were 1.1 million children being homeschooled in the US, or 2.2% of the school age population. There is even a legal defense organization to support those who choose to homeschool.

Sometimes, states even actively support parents in their efforts. Though most states don't directly financially support homeschools, this article details how one state, Missouri, is proposing to give support for supplies and books to homeschools.

Probably the biggest allure of homeschooling is the freedom from the predominant educational culture, which values conformity above creativity and individual expression.

For now, we've decided to stay the course where we are. Liz isn't wild about persuing the homeschool option (though she does a LOT of education with the kids as it is at the present time). I think she's mostly concerned with the record keeping requirements. But I'm sure we could handle this route if we have to. And it's always good to know you have a "Plan B".

Joe is 210


Maddy said...

I 'understand' that there is a considerable amount of paperwork to be completely in a timely and appropriate fashion for the school district - that along with the medical insurance claims [which of course bounce] are likely to keep the parent in the 'office' buried in forms rather than 'teaching.'

Club 166 said...

Last year, since Buddy Boy wasn't seven yet, we didn't have to fill out any forms. Now that he's turned seven, it's a little different.

But we'll do what we have to, if the time comes.

Mom without a manual said...

BD (Before diagnosis) I never even considered homeschooling. In my nieve mind that was what the "overly religious folk did". Granted your perspective changes when you have kids but it REALLY changes when you have a child that does not conform to the "standards".

I know what you mean by your wife already doing a lot of teaching. Through the process of running our ABLLS home program, I have already filled entire bookshelves with materials. My favorite catalog to look at is Superduper (educational materials). Granted I can't buy much but it but it gives me great ideas. I tend to use the internet and make my own flashcards and worksheets.

Anyway, long story short. I am no longer intimidated by the homeschooling option. In some cases I think this might be the best alternative for our kids--especially when the public school system fails them.

I think it was Temple Grandin who said that no where in her adult life has she had to "deal with teenagers". That is such a crazy age. Hormones and "group think" make rational beings do irrational things. She questioned why we should make our socially challenged kids stress out even more trying to figure out how to fit in with that crowd. Somehow that made me feel better.

I know that if our situation gets out of hand I will homeschool without any doubt. There are so many other community activities to get social practice. If school is causing a regression for my child there is no doubt in my mind.

However, I guess the true obstacle is just how many families can have a parent at home to homeschool. Our plan is for me to get back to work (and dig out of debt) once the kids are in school...but that complicates the whole issue! It really ties our hands when dealing with the whole schooling issue!

Club 166 said...

I guess the true obstacle is just how many families can have a parent at home to homeschool.

There's the rub, and usually the limiting factor. Our plan when we adopted Buddy Boy (and later Sweet Pea) was for Liz to stay home until both were in school, then return to the work force. That has fallen by the wayside, as Liz has become chief advocate, researcher, always available to pick up from school person, teacher (before and after school reading, writing, and math lessons for both kids, etc.

We could not afford to pay for all of the services that Liz provides.

Fortunately, though things have been tight (especially with legal bills this last year), things have been doable for us. I cringe when I think how others are burdened by all of the costs associated with care of special needs family members.

abfh said...

Have you seen Coloring Outside the Lines? It's a blog by a mom who just started homeschooling her autistic son this year, after having problems with his school, and she's very enthusiastic about how it is turning out.

Club 166 said...


Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that blog before. Looks interesting, I'll have to add it to my list...

Daisy said...

You might also consider Virtual schooling. In a virtual school (in Wisconsin they are district-sponsored charters), the parent or Learning Coach does the teaching, but a public school district provides the curriculum and materials. The Learning Coach reports to the School by way of a secure Internet site. It's a nice balance between homeschool and public school for some families.