Friday, March 16, 2012

The Right Choice

We are nearing the end of home school week 1!  And so far, so good.

While I am still working on organizing regular social skills opportunities for Matthew (he plays soccer, but I'm adding therapeutic riding, guitar lessons and home school co-op to his schedule), the academic portion of his home school curriculum is going surprisingly well.  He still has difficulty coping when he has to do something he doesn't want to do (like writing a story about the Florida Highwaymen), but I haven't seen the kind of meltdowns and lashing out that we were seeing at school.  He is starting to use his coping skills again, which he has not been able to do in school for several months.  Those coping skills are so crucial for him and for his future, that I was worried that we weren't seeing them anymore!

Not that there was anything at all wrong with the school -- lots of people went far out of the their way to help him succeed -- but the school can't be as flexible as I can be.  Nor can they work with him one on one, every time, to get him to use the calming techniques that he's learned.  Practice will make all the difference in his learning to use those skills himself, without prompting for an adult.

For Matthew, this has made a huge difference.  He smiles more.  He sees himself accomplishing things he never accomplished before.  He's willing to learn things like buttering his own waffle and baking a cake and sewing a button, because he's not so overwhelmed with anxiety about school that he can't think of anything except getting through the day.  He doesn't feel like he's a "bad" kid anymore...though he still seems to need reassurance that there is nothing "wrong" with him, that he's just different.

I'm very grateful to the people at the school district who made it their mission to get him through his first few years of school.  School was the right choice for him then.  But after this week, I know that home school is the right choice for him now.


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