Home school or not to home school

Posted on: Tue, 05/25/2004 - 5:09am
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

My son has PA/tree nut/soy allergies as well as severe asthma and allergies. He is about to finish kindergarden and we just had his last meeting to finalize his IEP for speech and his illnesses. It took an entire year to do that and that in itself was exhausting. He missed a lot of school this year, either due to severe asthma issues or allergy issues and he fell really behind. It took him two months to get caught up and he couldn't afford to miss anymore days. My son is really outgoing, sensitive, and loves school. He also gets frustrated when teachers allow him to be around things that he knows he is not supposed to be around..such as Peanuts or Tree nuts..etc..Although I have educated the teachers and staff as much as possible..it seems that he is always put in a situation that can cause issues. After reading this site, I am considering home schooling. I have discussed some of it with my son who has his pros and cons. Mostly dealing with friends to play with. We are military and live on base and there are many home schooled children here. I am just not sure if this is what I want. I am a student myself finishing my college degree and I have a 10 yr old girl and a 3 yr old girl. What if I change my mind as he gets older? Is this something that will affect him? Won't homeschooling deprive him of certain opportunities such as sports,social events, clubs, etc? We move every three years anyway so going to a new school environment is not really an issue. Then I think.."I am going to have to deal with a school eventually if I do not plan on doing this as he gets older".. As you can see I am very indecisive. Any suggestions..?? By the way, I have not even attempted to do the 504 plan yet and we attend a military base school. When I mentioned in our IEP meeting about him carrying his epi pen or a teacher..where ever he goes..the response was " no, it is too dangerous! We have never had to do it before..why can't the nurse be enough?" Well, because the nurse is not always able to be found!


Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2004 - 1:07am
BENSMOM's picture
Joined: 05/20/2000 - 09:00

I've pondered homeschooling, but not for pa reasons. When I do consider it, I do think about the pa issues. For me, it's almost easier to deal with the school. There are rules and precautions in place. If I homeschooled, I'd have to be constantly educating new people that we came across and every get together with homeschoolers would be a potential issue. Right now my homeschooling friends are at a week-long camp. Everyone brings food and shares in the cooking. I don't know how I would deal with 15 families, many of whom eat pb I'm sure. I'd worry about untensils getting mixed up or not cleaned properly, etc.
However, in your situation, with moving every three years, it might be easier to homeschool, than to deal with a new school all the time. Also, if there are a lot of homeschooled kids on base, he'll have plenty of kids around to play with. And depending on where you are, sports and social clubs are not necessarily school related. Here, at the elementary school level, all sports are outside of school, through the county or some other program.
If you homeschool and keep half an eye on the grade level curriculum, he should be able to go back to school at any time. Many homeschooled kids are academically ahead of their schooled peers. Also, as he gets older, the pa will be much easier to deal with. He already sounds well-aware of his allergy and cautious. As he gets older, he will be able to take care of himself more and more. My son is in 2nd grade and he knows to check ingredients even if the teacher were to forget.
Also, look into "unschooling." In my opinion, this isn't a great option forever, but it works very well for younger kids. Basically, you just facilitate what they want to learn. You don't have to do "school at home." Instead, if he wants help learning to read, you sit down with him. He'll learn basic math skills through games, just playing around, picking things up from you and his older sister, etc. If you really think about what he learns on his own, outside of school, you'll see that you don't have to sit down and actually teach him very much. That should ease your concerns about being in school yourself and taking care of your other kids.
Hope this helps.

Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2004 - 8:12am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

Homeschooling varies from one family to another. You can see it as "depriving your children from opportunities", or you can see it as "giving them opportunities other kids wouldn't have".
Also, homeschooling is not like motherhood. You're not stuck with your decision forever (or till you die). You can put the kids back into school any time you want. Public schools have an obligation to take all children, regardless of past education. Some families go back and forth between homeschooling and standard schooling. It fits *them*. Others homeschool for one year, it fits *them*. And others homeschool from kindergarten till college.
You mention you move every 3 years, so even if your kids are schooled, they'd be changing friends every 3 years anyway. You could easily homeschool for 3 years, and at the next move, put them in school (or not).
Our reason for homeschooling is only partially due to PA, but more due to our son's different "brain". He's way ahead in some areas, and pretty much behind in others. He would always be "at the wrong level" in school, either too advanced for the class, or lagging behind. Homeschooling allows us to deal with this.
Homeschooling also allows us to deal with illnesses. You simply take complete days off when someone is ill (and sometimes, it's Mom!) and pick up exactly where you stopped. Your child never misses parts of his schooling because of a sickness.
The lower levels of primary school are not very demanding in terms of time. Most people will manage with 90 minutes per day, 5 days a week. We plan 90 minutes per day, 6 days a week, because there's always something coming in our way, and we love the freedom to be able to drop school one day to go outside, and play. Also it means we can take sick days without worrying. With this approach, we finished grade 1 2 weeks ago. It's vacation time already over here.
And PA, well, the peace of mind that comes with homeschooling is worth it. ;-)
[This message has been edited by darthcleo (edited May 26, 2004).]

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