Apart of my journey, or any ones for that matter, is dealing with new seasons of life. They constantly change. Not good, not bad, just apart of the journey. This next season is not exactly how I thought it was going to look.
Back in college, unbeknownst to my future, I wrote a paper on "Public School vs. Home School". To be honest, at the time, I didn't believe either were wrong. I felt it was individual. I could see pros and cons to each. Today, I feel very much the same way. The choice is very individual. For some families and the children, public school is best, while for others, it is home school.
I taught second grade for several years before having Colton. I knew I wasn't come back if at all possible. I knew I would home school if possible as well. It was just a gut feeling. I had this beautiful picture painted in my head how I thought it would look someday. Maybe a second grader reading independently, and kindergartner working on reading and a preschooler working on shapes and colors. I imagined all this happening at the kitchen table, surrounded by amazing artwork and excellent achievements!! Very idealistic I know. Also very real. I know many families that do indeed have this set up. I will be honest, I envy them. That was MY dream!!!
I am going to a home school conference to check out new curriculum this week. Part of this really excites me. New material, new challenges, new possibilities!!! The other part make me both angry and deeply sad. This is the year I am suppose to have the second grader and kindergartner. Colton 7, Carmyn 5. It is not going to look like "My dream!!!" I will still teach Carmyn what I can. But it will look DRASTICALLY different than her brother's. No colorful work books, smell of brand new story books to go with those workbooks, new pencils, bright colored eraser tops, clean, crisp lined paper awaiting her precious little hands to perfect her handwriting. Nope, that will not be Carmyn's school day. Carmyn's style is more about choices. Choosing right answers by pointing. It will include teaching self feeding, potty training, self control, waiting, patience, following one-two step commands and playing appropriately with toys. Also, she will not just sit for and hour or so. Her learning has to come in small 10-15 burst.Yes, her learning is completely different. Definitely apart of the story I would have written differently.
So, why don't I just send her to school???? She can learn so much by going to school??? Well, maybe that is true. I won't argue with you. It would be easier for me, she could learn and make many friends. But this is a personal, prayerful, hard decision that both Chris and I decided was best for our family. I wrestled with this for a long time with God, since the day she was diagnosed. Both with a broken heart and with MUCH anger towards God. This was "My child", My plans", My dreams", "My family", I would scream at the Lord. I worried about what people would think of me if I didn't send her. Everyone sends their "special needs" child to school. I think it is just expected and protocol. I felt this enormous pressure when Carmyn turned three. Children with special needs can enter the school system at three in a developmental preschool. I had the pressure from her EI ( Early Interventionist), Case Worker, Therapist and friends. I felt the pressure which decision was right her us and us as a family. The pressure of disappointing these people. Pressure of letting my family down. The pressure of letting God down. And the pressure of letting Carmyn down. I literally cried and prayed for months feeling tortured by this decision. But at the end of the day, that same seed that was planted back in 1998 to home school my future children is the same seed speaking to me in 2012. It has sprouted with a little more growth confidence!!! Carmyn is different yes, but she is still apart of this family!! And I (we) have a very strong belief and faith that this is the path we are to take with Carmyn. For our four children, it is best!!! And even though many may disagree, she deserves my best. So I am up for the challenge. I will tell you, when I finally accepted what our decision was and voiced it, I felt like a two ton boulder had been lifted off my back. I felt that "peace that surpasses all understanding". And I have never ONCE looked back. I trust this path God has put before us!!! God has given us this challenge. One I take very seriously!!
So, I will go to this conference extremely excited and a twinge of sadness. I am only human. That I have accepted. I allow myself to get slightly sad occasionally. She is my daughter!! Who wouldn't? I just don't stay there. I hope I leave with many great ideas for Colton and pray I am pleasantly surprised to find something for Carmyn too.