I am trying to decide if I should home-school my oldest son CJ who is 12 years old who will be going into the 7th grade. He has Aspergers and a couple other diagnosis like ADHD, ODD, and Conduct Disorder. I first thought of taking him out of public school in the 5th grade because he was picking on the other kids and being a bully, I don't like bullies so I won't stand by and let my son BE one, no no no. Then I started to notice that his grades were slipping, and he wasn't bringing home any homework (that started in 5th grade). His math was failing and no one was pointing it out but me! He would get D's and E's on his report card but still no one said anything.
Then in 6th grade, I continued to see his grades slipping, more importantly his Math. I started to ask about it at his IEP meetings, but they stated that he's doing fine and they don't worry about it too much until he gets to 8th grade. I was thinking, by then it would be too late. From 5th to 6th grade his process report cards always showed a low D or E for Math, but for his report cards, they mysteriously turned to a D or D+ and then he was passed to the next grade.
Now almost two years later, he will be going into the 7th grade and he doesn't know his multiplication facts, how to read a manual thermometer, how to read a bar chart, or know how to read measurements! Things that he was supposed to know by 6th grade. Now he will be going into 7th grade, learning about algebra, even though he is still stuck in at least the 3rd/4th grade Math.
I don't want to even think that they are passing him because they don't want to deal with his behavior anymore but that has been heavily on my mind. That's the only reason I can think of. I've never seen him do any projects let alone turn them in, and he never brought any homework home to do. I do have to point out that because he didn't want to write his 5th grade english assignment for his SOL, that they took away all his electives for the 6th grade, so he COULD have done some of his homework in his study hall that he was assigned to, but then again his progress report cards and mid report cards always stated that he wasn't turning in any homework. So while he should be learning about Teen Living and anything else that they learn about in the electives, he's not learning.Then, he fails his SOL's for 6th grade, but still gets passed! So now my reservation for taking him out goes from his behavior to his behavior plus his education.
Now for the Dilemma
Over all else I want him to receive a regular high school diploma. I'm really thinking about homeschooling him even if it is just for the 7th grade to get him caught up on his math and then he go back to public school for the 8th grade, unless he likes it so much that he rather just be home-schooled until high school.
My dilemma has to pertain to what people will think over all else, what they say about socialization, and I am afraid I might make his learning worse. As far as being worried about what people think (mainly family) I know he is my first priority and I have to put him first, another plus for me because I know in my heart that he needs this.
I feel God has given me many chances to home-school but I always worry about what if it's just me? I was thinking about homeschooling him half way through 6th grade, I was working at the time and then I was really thinking about it, taking him out, Then my husband started taking online college courses and since he couldn't watch the boys while I was at work and do his schoolwork after having a long, hard, sweaty day at work at the same time, I let my job go (is that a sign?) I was wondering how I would teach CJ and then work at the same time. Then I was wondering how was I going to teach him and afford it at the same time with only one income, I have no idea how or what to teach him, then I found all these websites like Educents and Easy Peasy to name a few that have either discounted materials and sometimes free things (educents) or a free curriculum (easy peasy). Another sign?
I have been asking different people to see what their opinion is. The school teachers and staff don't agree with it (is that because they get a credit for every student that goes there), who knows, it's sad to think about that but we have to think of these hard things. Then I asked his Psychiatrist, she said that she normally says no if it is more than one child and if it is behavior related, but in his case, yes she agrees.
Another dilemma is about socialization, since his social skills aren't perfect now, won't they just get worse? (My husband was worried about this AT FIRST) But, since joining a couple of groups on Facebook I am learning that there are low-cost to free things for homeschoolers to do to get out and be social. Like gym time at the local YMCA and then there are book clubs and different types of meetings at the local library. Right now he is playing with kids younger than him. I was once told that having ADHD makes the person half their age, so if that is true then he is really 6 years old! So his friends are mainly 6/7 or younger, he gets along with them (most of the time) because he is still in the playing with action figures and swords stage. Sometimes they will argue and fight because his sharing isn't so good, another thing I can work on if he stays home (another plus for me).
Making it Worse
The last thing I am worried about is making it worse, since I'm not a teacher in any way. But then I think that his math can only get better with him getting one on one support and learning it at his own pace. Everything else should come easy since math is the only enemy he has right now. Plus there are websites like Khan Academy which shows exactly how to do the problem and then lets them try it, which I did have him start at the very beginning with adding and subtracting which he has done pretty good on, it's just when he gets to the multiplying and dividing where he has the most difficulty. My husband has changed his worrying and reservation into supporting me in this adventure. I am still thinking long and hard about what to do, by the Virginia Beach homeschooling laws I have until August 1st to decide and turn in a NOI (Notice of Intent) to the school board.
So I will take the rest of this month to think about what I am going to do since it's not an easy or light decision by no means, since it will affect his future, I need to think long and hard about what I am going to do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any suggestions or any feedback, I will be grateful for whatever you have to offer. Thank you again and stay tuned for an update...