So now I had a quandary: What do I do about school the next year? I knew Matthew was brilliant. He was confident, curious, highly astute, and had a love for life despite his horrific beginnings. He had what educators would call “GRIT”!
This decision was beyond difficult for me.
The Journey Begins: The Crossroads, Part II
Public School, Private School, or Homeschool?
I thought that the public schools did quite an exceptional job with typical kids. I was not quite so sure that they could provide the best education for my atypical child nevertheless! In all my reading to search for answers, I was haunted by a quote I once read, that stated, “Atypical kids call for atypical measures…”
These were just some of my questions:
- Will he receive the medical care and attention necessary?
- Will his physical limitations be taken into account during gym, recess and on field trips?
- Will the services be “pull-out” or “push-in,” and will the services designed to help him interfere with his in-class instructional time?
- Will he receive the individualized services necessary, such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech/Language Therapy?
- Will the teachers/specialists be capable (have the skill set and the resources) to assist him in achieving his educational, physical, and emotional goals?
- If they all have the right “skill sets,” will they have the one-on-one instructional time to be with my son? Will they have the time to implement BEST practice? Keep in mind that according to John Holt (2003), the actual one-on-one instructional time a child encountered with a teacher/adult was often less than 15 minutes a week in most public schools.
The year was 2005.
I was clearly at a crossroads.
However, let me be clear…
It was not that I did not have faith in the teachers; it was the system, in which I had no faith.
I believed Matthew would not have services right away.
I believed he would not have the one-on-one instructional time.
I believed that while the teachers would try their best (because that’s what teachers do), he still might not receive the most effective methods of instruction because of the pre-packaged, pre-purchased curricula which they were bound to deliver.
I believed he would not be allowed to be himself.
I believed his light would be extinguished.
I believed this because I taught these kids —- I knew these kids, I loved these kids, I poured my heart and soul into these kids. But this was MY kid, and what if he couldn’t be saved?
I had to save my kid!
I did not want to leave public education but if I was to save my kid, I had no choice. People told me how brave I was to not send him to school, but I thought I was a coward. Pam, a very dear friend, confirmed my lack of bravery when she shared, “If you send your son to school – that would be brave.” So yes, I was indeed the coward in this story.
As for the starfish, you’ll just have to read more of Matt’s story in the next blog post, which is entitled, “A Letter to My Son.”