Dear GHF: What to consider when thinking about homeschooling

Angry MomDear GHF,

We barely made it through the school year with our 11-year-old son. I’m wondering if I can face another year of battling with the school for accommodations and appropriate work for my twice-exceptional boy. Is it too late to consider homeschooling in the fall? I’m still researching my options, but after the year we had, homeschooling is looking better and better. I want to be sure I cover all my bases. What factors should I be sure to include as I consider this decision?

Wrung Out in Rhode Island

Dear Wrung Out,

Boy, have we ever been there! Some people tell us that we must be very brave for choosing to homeschool, but we’ve always felt it took a great deal of courage to continually advocate in school for a child who simply doesn’t fit. To some extent, you really have to decide for yourself where you’d rather be putting all of your energy. For some parents, getting “close enough” in the school system is worthwhile; for others, the choice to bring their child home and develop an educational program that is tailored to their child’s individual needs is more rewarding.

You are obviously well-acquainted with the experience you can expect if you remain in school—clearly you are an engaged parent and have been active in attempting to create an appropriate placement for your son. We will, therefore, focus more on the other option you have before you.

When facing a decision like this, it sometimes helps to remember that this choice does not have to be forever. You only need to consider what your next move will be. There is no rulebook that dictates that you have to “get it exactly right” the first (or even second or third) time. As you progress through the school year, you can always change your plans based on what evolves with your child and with your family. In fact, not adjusting as you go would be unfortunate, as the flexibility inherent in homeschooling is one of the biggest potential benefits to a twice-exceptional family.

Considerations for choosing whether to homeschool—and if so, how to homeschool—are as varied as the families who make the choice. It’s a particularly complicated decision, however, not because you are deciding whether to jump from one school to another, but because you are making both a parenting decision and a lifestyle choice for the entire family. For more specific details and insights, you might consider reading our short book, Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child.

We wish you the best with your decision.

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