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Educational Choices

My 6th grader, Andy, has Asperger’s Syndrome.  The diagnosis is pending further testing, but Andy shows many of the symptoms of it, including poor fine motor skills, social deficits, OCD and poor concentration at times, among other things.  He is highly intelligent but has a hard time articulating his needs and thoughts, and is highly challenged in handwriting and organizational skills.  Today I had a conference with his teacher.  The reviews reflected an accurate profile of Andy’s abilities and challenges, and his grades are struggling in everything except math.  They are putting a plan in place to help him with organization, and we are going to work on handwriting.  However, I am also going to see if perhaps we can teach Andy to type.  He can play flute, so I’m sure he could type with more ease than writing things out.  This could better help him complete assignments and in the meantime we would have to keep him practicing his handwriting as well.

My 4th grader, Evan, has ADHD and ODD.  He has been being treated for his focus, impulsivity and anger issues for years already.  He has seen many specialists, therapists and doctors, and had several rounds of testing.  Any medication he has tried works for a brief time, and then fizzles out.  He has tried at least 8 different medications in the last few years, and I hate to keep switching them around.  Right now he is on something that helps with his anger, but not his focus.  This is making him fall behind in school.  It seems no matter how much he gets redirected and prompted at school, no matter how much I try to help him at home, he just can’t seem to keep up.  His focus is about 15-30 seconds at a time (no exaggeration!).

My 2nd grader, Cory, has some reading and social issues.  I have his conference in a couple of days.  We’ll see what happens there.

I had planned on trying to get a job within the next couple of months, anxiety permitting.  However with all the extra help my boys need, I don’t think I’ll have time to work a job.  I have been advised by the boys’ teachers to work with them every night.  Between what Andy needs, and what Evan needs, and the regular help Cory needs, I won’t have time for much of anything else unless I can get a job during school hours only.  I’m very concerned for their futures.  I don’t want to see them held back, and I don’t want them to miss out on success because of anything I could have helped with and didn’t.  They are the priority no matter what.

So at this point I can see two options.  I can keep them in public school and help them in the evenings, which will take up ALL of our evening time besides meal time.  Or I can put them in an online academy at home and be a part of their overall education 100%.  The social interactions of school are important, but the online academy has social outings and field trips.  Not to mention there are local groups from what I understand, where you can meet and have “play dates” and such.

Has anyone been in a situation where they were trying to decide between public and home schooling?  What did you decide?  What made you make that decision?  I really need some input on this.  I know its MY decision in the end, but I’d like to hear some other points of view and situations as well.

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