Returning Home to School, Homeschooling When Chronically Ill, Pt 2
You have been called in again. Several times a week, you receive the call from the school to come get Johnnie and take him home. Today it was due to a meltdown over another child choosing the book he wanted to look at. It’s always something that causes your special blessing to lose control over his emotions. In this article, I want to address the topic of bringing your child home due to chronic health issues or perhaps behavioral challenges at school making learning difficult.
A surprisingly high percentage of children today have some type of chronic health condition (opver 50%) or are diagnosed being on the autistic spectrum where learning can become a challenge. In these situations, the parents may decide it is easier to simply bring the child home than to continue to fight for the child to receive needed services.
The decision is made. What do you do next?
Before pulling the child out of school “officially,” it would be good to look up your state’s homeschool laws. States range from requiring an “umbrella” school to never having to tell anyone or test anything. Since I began homeschooling in a relaxed requirement state, I learned to never consider certain states to live in simply based on the homeschool laws. A good site to compare state laws is https://hslda.org/.
After learning the laws, the next step is to decide on curriculum. While this decision can take some time, it is recommended to allow time to “deschool” after removing a child from public school. A general guideline is one month per year in public school. This is not a period of goofing off. It is a period to adjust to being home, to find natural interests, to discover learning styles, to break free of the “rules,” and to let go with the public school expectations. Deschooling is important for both parent and child.
While you are learning what your child’s learning style is, you can examine curriculum that teach using this method. You can examine programs that allow your child to explore their natural interests/skills. You can also use this time to reach out to the area homeschoolers and find out what resources are available. What you do not do is worry about your child falling behind. They were already having challenges in the public school. I can guarantee that being home and deschooling will not harm them in any way. It’s part of the healing and learning.
When dealing with a chronic health issue or other challenge, it’s important to set up a schedule. Remember, schedules are guidelines to help you keep moving efficiently, but they are not to become shackles to make you feel your life is no longer your own.
During this deschooling time, I would also examine recommended dietary plans that could benefit your child’s condition. You may use this time to research area resources that can be a support for your child/family. And, don’t forget to play and learn who your child is in a whole new way.
After deschooling, purchasing curriculum, finding local resources, and adjusting your schedule, some parents take time to set up a school room. This is wonderful if you have the space. Just realize that homeschooling can be done at the kitchen table or the living room couch. As you adjust your own thinking, learn to look at homeschool, not as much as school at home, but as a lifestyle. You have plenty of time to assess the current status of your child and help him move forward to where he needs to be.
Returning home to start a new lifestyle of learning takes time to adjust and adapt. Give yourself that time, along with your child. Pray for God’s guidance each step of the way. Don’t allow yourself to become bogged down on what others expect. You made this step for your child. God will bless your effort.
If you would like some professional guidance during this time, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.