Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

I never really had considered myself to be a writer. While that is true in the sense that I will never write a fictional novel, I do find that sitting in front of a screen with a keyboard at my finger tips allows me to express myself in a coherent manner. I can erase what I don't mean (or like), rewrite, edit or change what I want to say. Often when I'm on the phone, I get all mixed up with my thoughts and have a hard time thinking straight. When I'm put on the spot, I can't answer questions and if I do, I usually forget to say all that I wanted to.

This post is going to say what I feel about a topic that I know some people will disagree with me on. And I have to believe that it's ok. I can't please everyone and in the end, I am responsible for my actions and choices. I hope that this will give you a greater understanding about what I believe in.

I homeschool mine and Doug's children. This was a decision that we reached as a couple and then as a family. It's what we do. I also have not ever sent my kids to preschool. I just liked having them around all the time. This was probably what led us to homeschool. Even when Joshua and Andrea each had their one year in kindergarten, I missed them for the entire day and couldn't wait for them to come home again. I guess I'm just like that. I'm a homebody and I like to have my people near me. The past 18 months have been quite a learning experience for all of us as we've been given a diagnosis for Sarah which has been Cerebral Palsy, Microcephaly and Global Developmental Delays. The belief of many people has been that Sarah would do much better in a school/preschool setting. Is that because I don't have a degree in special needs, and perhaps I can't provide the best care and learning environment for my child? I guess that's where we will disagree (and that's ok). I do think that Sarah will learn best at home. She isn't labelled here and is surrounded by her family who loves her unconditionally. Together we will help her learn to count, print and one day even read. She will always be behind her peers and I don't want her placed in a classroom (mainstream or otherwise) where she'll just be *another kid*. I want to see her learn and I want to be the one to celebrate each little victory, even if it's as simple as counting to five.

On the other side of the fence, I can see the benefits and promise of preschool and school for those who chose it. I know of a few kids personally that are thriving in a preschool and kindergarten classroom and love every minute of it. They are outgoing, energetic and clearly enjoy going. And that's GREAT! Whether you chose to send your kids to school or keep them at home for their education, we are all in it for the best interest of our children. God gave us the honour of raising these young people and we have the privilege of choosing how to educate them.

A piece I read from another mom's perspective says:
(I had forgotten to snag where I got the quote from.  These aren't my words.)

"What about the children who don’t catch up? Some are home educating children who are truly never going to achieve a high level of literacy or ability. There are those who know from early childhood that there are barriers that won’t be overcome. If a child has Down’s Syndrome or other intellectual handicaps, or has fetal alcohol syndrome, or deals with the consequences of severe early deprivations, then there may be limits that will not go away. How much better for that child to be at home, surrounded by love and acceptance and gentle ongoing help and encouragement to learn what he can.
I truly feel that the first lesson a child learns in institutional special needs programs is that he has been judged as flawed and that that flaw is the most important thing about him. When that child remains at home to be educated, in the security of his family, he can be himself, a person with strengths and weaknesses valued for his unique worth."

Those words ring so true in my heart tonight as the love I have for my "special" daughter nearly brought me to tears as I tucked her in to bed. She belongs close to me, her daddy and her siblings in this crucial time of learning for her.

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