Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Did I Choose to Homeschool?

I was asked why I chose to homeschool. Are you ready for a novel?  The funny thing about my choice is not long after my first was born I jokingly said I would homeschool to everyone. I never really meant it. Then came our experience which made us decide to homeschool.

By oldest was just over 2 and barely speaking sounds. Our doctor suggested having him evaluated for early intervention which would help him learn to speak. We had to undergo a huge evaluation where they tested him for delays in everything. Then the school district decided he had a delay in speech and qualified for speech help. This help came in the form of a speech therapist who came to the house once a month for 45 minutes. She would spend 15 minutes working with Nathan on speech and then spend 30 minutes going over things I could do to help him speak. Don't get me wrong I had no problems working with him on his speech but seriously a child can't talk and he only gets 15 minutes of therapy one a month? Moving on. After about 8 months of this he was going to age out of the program and move up into preschool intervention. Our speech therapist (loved her and nothing at all against her) suggested we have him further evaluated because he had certain quirks and issues with textures. Out came another therapist, can't remember now what type he was, and he decided he just was a quirky kid. Well Nathan turned 3 and we had the "big" discussion with the school district over his future. Keeping in mind our speech therapist said never in her 15 years of working with this program had she ever seen a child with Nathan's speech delays (at age 3 he was speaking on a 18 month old level) not move into the preschool program. She said plus if they factor in his quirks he was a shoo in. Well guess what?

Yup he didn't qualify for the preschool program. Why? Because all though he could not really communicate with anyone he could understand and hear and that's all that was important at his age. Really a 3 year old speaking about 20 words was normal?? I asked what happens at age 5 if he wasn't still talking. I was told he'd be pulled out of regular kindergarten and moved into the developmentally delayed program. I asked again why could they take action then but not now about his speech and again was told in our school district he couldn't qualify because he understood what he was being asked. I left the meeting in tears. Our speech therapist just happened to walk into the building as I was leaving and she stood there stunned when I told her he didn't qualify for anymore help.  She gave me the number for PCMC outpatient therapy and suggested I contact them. I figured our insurance wouldn't pay a dime for speech therapy and just let the issue drop. I worked with Nathan for another 4 months before he was hurt and our doctor couldn't get him to explain what hurt and how it happened. He was extremely worried about his speech delay and suggested I contact the school district. I pulled out the paper the school district gave us stating that he did not qualify for more help. He decided we had to go to PCMC and at least see how much it would cost for therapy.

Turns out our insurance covered an initial evaluation so we had it done. They took me back alone at first while Nathan played behind an one way mirror. They asked me all sorts of questions about him. After that they spent 2 hours doing evaluations. At the conclusion I was told it would be 2 weeks before we would have the results but he definitely needed speech therapy. Somehow they were able to code or get the insurance to approve treatment and he started going to speech once a week for one house. We noticed a huge difference within a month. Also they told us they were able to figure out why he had "quirks." He has a sensory integration disorder. His main issues were in the oral (speech and feeding) and touch (all the problems with clothes, and such finally an answer). Because of this he qualified for more therapy. All of this it turns out was noted by the school district but they chose not to share it with us nor help us with his problems. Nathan started speech, feeding, and other therapies that helped. We spent 3 hours a week at a clinic working with him. 6 months later my child went from a 3 year old who barely spoke on a 18 month old level to a 4 year old who was on level with speech.

But really the thing that really made my decision was a phone call from the school district in April about kindergarten round up. Since Nathan had a "flag" on his name he would need to be evaluated to determine if he qualified for "normal" kindergarten. I felt ticked off. Why did it matter now when it didn't matter two years before? I told them he would not be going to public school. I made the choice in less than 5 minutes.

In the years since I've discovered our local school is just horrible. They have a student turn over rate of 70%. Meaning in one year 70% of the students change schools. A neighbor kid has loads of homework every night because he is one who changes school so work to advance him goes home as homework and during school he just reviews stuff he already knows. In 3rd grade he had on average 2.5 hours of homework every night. Last year as a 6th grader in averaged 4 hours of homework every night. I just don't feel that is right. Elementary aged kids should not be doing that much school work on a nightly basis. Where is their chance to be a kid?

I hope that answers the question and I hope I didn't bore anyone with this novel.

3 comments:

Lynette said...

Wow!! You totally did the right thing, obviously. You are such a good mom! Makes me even more grateful I didn't have Mm tested for learning disorders when she was in school for those 6 months. What a joke.

Megan said...

Good grief. Good job taking charge and not leaving it up to others!

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