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Monday, March 2, 2009
The following is in response to a comment made on the last post regarding homeschooling for autistic kids. It refers to a comment from a special education teacher. Go read it, first. Califmom's response needed to be its own post.
Sorry to be petty here, but if the argument to send my child to school is being put forth by a teacher who has more grammar/spelling mistakes in his comment than content, I have a difficult time swallowing that pill.
However, I'm a bigger person than the product of my (formally schooled) environment. So, I'll bite.
What I read in Mr. Black's comment is that my son should attend a formal, school setting in order to experience poor treatment by his age mates and failed social situations, which will then require the support of a team of professionals.
This scenario is seen as superior to providing my child with social experiences outside the academic setting, where stress is lower, and success is higher, which then result in positive experiences in the building blocks of his social competence.
Underlying all of this is an assumption by Mr. Black that I, as the parent of the child, check my opinions at the door, trust the system, and let the professionals do their job.
Mr. Black, just so you know, we were not always homeschoolers. We didn't even choose this path, initially.
In fact, for over 7 years, my children attended an expensive, award-winning private school that touted its ability to address special needs.
My personal educational background is in child development and elementary education.
We did not arrive at our decision to homeschool because we had some idea that it would be a great way to exclude our child from the artificial construct we currently call our schools, an institution largely existent as a remnant of the Industrial Revolution and the requirement that we produce a society of factory workers with a similar world view--followers, non-thinkers, non-questioners.
We arrived at this decision via a difficult path, but we are beyond pleased with the results we see in our children. More, our family and friends are impressed with the change they see in our children.
You see, nowhere else are we grouped in such an artificial fashion as we are in a traditional school setting. Children are grouped by age, and often ability (or disability), and then expected to derive value from this socialization.
I have yet to find a workplace (the argument most put forth for a school-based education is to 'get a job') comprised of same-age coworkers. Have you?
Aside from prisons and psychiatric wards, nowhere else do we lock people in for the day and attempt to control their behavior. Seems odd that we expect only 1 of 3 of those scenarios to be appropriate for all members of our society.
I want more for my child, and I have the ability to provide it. Maybe it's not what everyone can provide their child. Maybe it's not the right thing for everyone, but it is what is meeting the needs of my children and our family. It's also the beauty of living somewhere that provides us this freedom.
If you really want to boggle your mind, Google unschooling. That's what we do. I'm guessing it'll make your head fall off, but maybe it will just open your mind.Because of her son, califmom knows more than she wants to about Asperger and Tourette Syndromes. She doesn't think autism needs to be cured. She does think that autistic spectrum disorders are more likely orders--another way of being in this world. Visit her at califmom and califmom homeschools.