She Wants to Go to Public School


Posted on : 5:38 PM | By : Anonymous | In : , ,

Now that the news has come out that we are moving to a new house, there is the usual excitement with the usual acting out that accompanies any change in our home.  Annie gets a little violent when change happens, and this time it has been particularly bad.  I got kicked in the side and later tried to trip me going down the stairs, and today a twitch bashed me in the eye.  Ouch!  These are not intentional, but typical Asperger's anger issues.  

Asperger's is pretty rare in girls, which is possibly why it has been so hard to get a diagnosis. I found a great article on Asperger's subtypes and she falls in the angry and anxiety category most strongly with many of the others thrown in.  One thing that we have always puzzled over is that she does better when she's not at home and away from us - even though her social skills aren't that great and she feels shy.  She does well in institutionalized, routined, predictable programs - she craves them and thrives on them.  Here we are an unpredictable (like any family), artistic family that can't get up at the same time every day.  We have more of a routine than many people simply to accommodate her needs, but I've realized I'm still not meeting that need even remotely.  She is asking to go to public school, begging me, because the reason she does better away is because we are the source of change, transition and unpredictable-ness in her life.  

I have struggled between meeting her needs, and fighting for the issues.  For most children, public school can be crushing, stifling, and harmful. But as a student who went to both public school and having been homeschooled, I've never thought of it as us vs. them - public school vs. homeschool, right vs. wrong.  This is exactly the kind of black and white thinking I am trying to avoid.  I also believe that the real difference in a child's life is not what sling I used to carry the baby with or what foods they ate or where they went to school, but rather what kind of parent I was.  Did I try to control my child based on my own needs, or did I allow her the freedom to be herself and find ways to meet her real needs?

But that's the trick isn't it?  *sigh*

So since she has asked and asked and begged and begged and understands now what it means to go to public school, we are going to give her the freedom to choose that for now.  It is only 2.5 hours a day and I can walk her there around the corner so this is probably the least shocking way to introduce it.  It's also the middle of the year so she is being given a low dosage, lol.  And it's not like I'm done unschooling - if anything, this is part of it.  An experience that she is interested in.  We will revisit it every year and continue to have an environment in our home that is of respect, love and learning. 

I try to always play devil's advocate with myself... I was raised to believe in the evils of public education, and I am opening my mind to experiencing the positives of the institution and what it can offer Annie in the form of a social, predictable routine.  I imagine us allowing our children the freedom to make these choices without judgement or bias on my part, and the freedom to quit if she really wants to.  If it means one child in school and one radically unschooling, so be it.

Comments (5)

I don't have much help to offer, but if it makes you feel any better about this you should know we struggle with the very same things at our house. DS11 is (undiagnosed) Aspergers, also with anger and anxiety--though he doesn't seem quite as strongly angry as your Annie.

I am happy to hear your unschooling, artistic, not very routine family because that is so us, too. My son seems to like that and fit right in, but he also doesn't like change and transition so at times I think more routine would be good for him. That said, he doesn't thrive well in public school either. We've had him in and out, reviewing year by year. This year we're unschooing. Who knows what next year holds? Probably the same but maybe with a class or two at the jr. high nearby. We try to do what seems right at the time. I'm sure you'll do the same.

Thank you Lisa... you did made me feel soooo much better. As much as I am trying not to worry about these choices you're absolutely right and I have to do what seems to fit her needs at the time.

It's nice to hear from someone who knows exactly what kind of decision this is.

I have five children - one with Tourettes and two with RAD. We are still homeschooling all of them, and right now that is a positive for everyone. However, I know that RAD can turn on a dime during puberty. When you have two RADishes in the same home, they can really keep each other sick and work directly against healing.

So, we take it a day at a time. I will never say that we'll never use public education. I also never thought I would say that putting one of my children into an organized classroom may be the best thing for everyone.

But sometimes ... it is, and it's a blessing to have the option.

Thanks to you too Christine... I often find very little sympathy because unless you are living with this people really don't know what it's all about. I certainly didn't expect so much support. :)

Oh wow, how brilliant that Annie knows what she wants, knows what's good for her.

I have certain philosophies that I prefer, but I'm very much about child first. This means mum's intuition and child's lead takes precedence over beloefs, experts, and philosophies.

I'm an unschooler and yes, I dislike the school system, IN GENERAL. But I dislike more people being married to their ideas ahead of listening to their hearts and children.

She loves and thrives with routine, great, school it is. One day, event at a time.