Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home Education Week-Looking Back

How and why did I decide to homeschool my children?

Once I brought my newborn daughter home, I devoted my time into teaching her baby skills. Yet, we seemed to be falling short. By the age of 1, she was seeing a physical therapist to learn how to get into and out of a sitting position on her own, how to crawl, how to stand, and then how to walk. Wow, the things I learned! It is fascinating how complicated the steps are to move from one position to another. It is truly a science. This took a year. In the meantime, her wonderful speech shut down, as is typical while gross motor skills are developed. Sadly, she didn’t start talking again until she was 2…and struggled with speech ever since.

Later my son was born with some physical needs that required extra doctor care. A year later, we learned that he and his sister had Sensory Integration Disorder. Our weeks were full with physical therapy and speech therapy through the state at the Easter Seals building. We had occupational therapy at the base hospital. We had far more success with the OT, who taught us SI skills.

As a side note, my son was not able to sit up at 6 months. The PT said there was nothing I could do to teach him how to sit. The next day we went to the OT and she said, "Hogwash." She taught me some cool stuff and he was sitting independently in a week. That seemed to be all the stimulus he needed and he was soon crawling, then walking and then running…keeping me busy! Additionally, my children resisted any involvement with the therapists. The time was mainly training time for me, to employ training during teachable moments at home.

Although released from the different therapies for being high functioning, the therapists made sure that I would take on the challenge of continuing training them at home. The therapists really felt the best place for my children was special education services in the public school. I argued that I had seen every single one of those children doomed to a life of boredom and never learning to read well or do math well, much less write. I was certain, with God’s help, I could homeschool my children a little better.

Then we were at our weekly pediatrician appointment for my 3yo son. Dr. Habel was terrific. He was always supportive and helpful. He endured my gazillions of questions about my son’s medical needs from birth. My son has never been in bad enough condition to require too much intervention, but has always required continuity check ups to keep an eye on various issues that could take a turn for the worse. After my son’s exam, the doctor asked if I was going to homeschool my daughter, who was 5. In surprise, I said that yes, that was my hope. He smiled and encouraged me by asking if I was aware of the winner of the recent National Spelling Bee, who was a homeschooler. I was absolutely shocked that he would bring any of this up since he was not a homeschooler himself, that I knew of. Yet, he sealed the deal for me! I had my official support from a medical member whom I deeply respected. His words of encouragement have rung like peals of joyous school bells in my memory ever since. 


  1. Our pediatrician is supportive of homeschooling, too, and it is always such a relief!

    I know what you mean about special needs children in the public school. Anyone who doesn't fit the typical profile doesn't seem to do that well in school.


  2. How wonderful that your physician recognizes the benefits of being home educated. My daughter was a little different, despite a low-average IQ with absolute deficits in many areas, she was getting average to above average grades. She needed the smaller classrooms and more structured environment of a special ed environment and she didn't qualify...

  3. What a wonderful homeschooling story! You do such a wonderful job with your children too. I love reading your posts.


  4. Thanks so much for sharing your story. That is great your pediatrician was so helpful and supportive of homeschooling.

  5. That's so neat how God used your son's Dr. to encourage you in homeschooling. I am hearing more and more how parents are bringing home their special needs kids. My sister tried public school, private school, and finally homeschooling just 2 months ago. She knows now that she is doing the right thing for her two special needs boys.

  6. First of all, I want your pediatrician. :)

    Secondly, yes our stories are very similar! You touched on some other reasons why we are homeschooling, like seeing kids fall through the cracks and teachers being spread too thin.

    Finally, God chose you especially to teach your children at home because He knew you would have such a tender understanding about all children.

    I really enjoyed your story, and I am looking forward to reading more from you this week! Thanks for stopping by my place!