Our Homeschool Story

Every family has different reasons why they choose to homeschool. Many do it for moral/ethical/religious reasons. Some do it simply because they love to spend as much time as possible with their children and want to be responsible for their education as well. Some do it out of necessity for the child. Our family’s homeschool story, of course, falls into that last category.

About seven years ago, I attended a special needs parenting workshop on IEP preparedness and advocacy guidelines. The moderator went around the room prompting all the participants to introduce themselves and mention their child’s educational status. I vividly remember a woman seated by herself who explained in a tired but accepting voice that due to mainstreaming problems, she would need to homeschool her twelve-year-old son who had Tourette Syndrome. At the time, I thought I could interpret the exhaustion on her face, the frustration, the resignation. I thought, because I was a single parent with an autistic six-year-old, that I knew how she felt. I remember at that moment being thankful because Nigel showed such great potential that I wouldn’t need to consider homeschooling in the future. On some level, I didn’t even want to consider it because I thought it was something I wouldn’t be able to do. But now when I remember that woman’s face and her voice, I comprehend on a deeper level what she conveyed at the meeting that night, seven years ago.

This is what I need to do for my son. I don’t know how yet, but I will do it. I will make it work.

I know this now because this is how I felt five months ago. Six months ago, as the school year was about to begin, Nigel asked me several times if I would homeschool him. At the time I had not even considered it an option, mostly because, as a single parent, I had to work. How could I homeschool him? I couldn’t be the stay-at-home parent: I was the only parent!

I will write in future posts about all the bullying and social problems Nigel experienced that made me decide to find a way to homeschool him. Within weeks of school starting, his already fragile status in a low-support mainstreaming situation had deteriorated to the point where I had begun to seriously think about homeschooling him. I started researching homeschooling websites in general and looked at our state’s requirements for specific information. But I had no idea how to swing it financially.

Opportunity knocks. I had been working at my job as account manager for an order fulfillment company for almost ten years. My boss walked up to my desk a few weeks after I decided I would need to homeschool my son, and she said that one of our clients, a music label, was looking for someone to handle the royalty calculations for their 45 artists. It was tedious accounting work, but it could be done from home, and did I know anyone who might be interested? My spine tingled; I hadn’t told her yet that I needed to find a way to homeschool Nigel.

I took the job. And after several weeks of hiring and training my replacement at the office, I begain homeschooling my son. I am so glad he asked me to do this. It is a dream come true for both of us. 

4 thoughts on “Our Homeschool Story

  1. Melody

    I’m thinking of homeschooling my son because of “social issues” and his education. But my concern is that he won’t have enough social interaction just being at home all day with just me…mom. I want him to be social, but taking him away from a social setting or being amonst his peers, is that such a good thing?

  2. Tanya Savko Post author

    Hi Melody,

    Thanks for stopping by the website, and for your comment. Lack of social interaction is one of the main reasons that people question the benefits of homeschooling, but if you have your child involved in other social outlets, it shouldn’t be an issue. In our case, during the time that I homeschooled my son, he had three different sources of social interaction: Boy Scouts, a weekly social skills class, and neighborhood kids. Other sources could be church, local activity clubs, or classes like gymnastics or bowling or that sort of thing. Another thing to consider is that you could do part-time homeschooling, which is something we did for a while as we eased my son back into regular school. He attended two or three morning classes and then came home for homeschool the rest of the day, which enabled me to work part-time as well. You just have to talk to your school district and see what options they’ll work with. Lastly, homeschooling doesn’t have to be forever. Even if you just do it for one year, your child will still reap many benefits. Having decreased social interaction might even be a relief to some kids, as it was to my son. He was homeschooled for a year and a half and went back to regular school with even better social interaction afterwards. Everyone’s experiences with homeschooling are different, of course, but I hope this is helpful for you in making your decision.

    Best wishes,
    Tanya

  3. Kent

    Hi Tanya,

    I just wanted to let you know how uplifting your story was for me- all too often parents are prevented from providing their children with the care and education that they need and deserve, and every victory on this front is an important one. Thank you so much for your hard work and for chronicling it here on teenautism.

    If you ever need additional resources, stop by & say hello http://fb.me/rethinkautism we believe in supporting progress in the autism community.

    Best,
    Kent

  4. SenchoNeko

    Hi Tanya,

    Great to read about how you started homeschooling your child. I also know a family who homeschooled their boy for a while using Son-Rise. They had great succes. To illustrated this, here’s a video about him. http://youtu.be/wcMgrKUqR9o

    Sencho

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