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Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to Homeschooling On The Spectrum: Let's Just Say, We've Had Better Days

Today was our first official day back to homeschooling for the 2013/14 school year.  I'd like to say that everything went off without a hitch and the whole family is all smiles, gung ho about returning for the second day of learning.

But, I would be lying!

The day started out with me wondering if I should wake up the children or conduct an experiment on how long three children can sleep in.  I decided to allow them to sleep until my husband came into the living room where I was and said it was nice weather outside and we should all go for a walk to start the year off right, as a family.

So, he woke up my older two children.  My son proceeded to go take care of all the morning wake-up details of brushing his teeth, etc. And, my daughter waited.

By the time he was finished in the bathroom, the day was ticking on and we now had no time to walk before their scheduled online biology class...  At 12:15, mind you.

So, the older two kids sat down for their online class.

Afterwards, we decided to go for that walk.  After all, it would count as PE.

We weren't too far into the walk when my son decided to voice his first round of complaints about how terrible it was that he couldn't spend the day playing video games.  To this, my husband didn't take too kindly and decided to explain to him that most kids were in school and no one was playing video games unless they were home sick or hanging out without a job.

And, so it began.  My son had already made it clear to us that he was not happy about school starting.  I was hoping to ignore his lack of enthusiasm and get through the day.  I did a pretty good job of it too until the afternoon.

Let me explain that my son is amazing, but ever since he was quite small I have observed him, wondering if he is on the spectrum or borderline autistic.  I mentioned it to his pediatrician when he was little, and the doctor just laughed.  But, many days I question and try to raise my son who sometimes displays spectrum-like behavior.  It's challenging.  And, thankfully there are more good days where he absolutely amazes us than there are bad days, like today.  But, the bad days take so much energy out of parenting high hopes that it takes a bit to get a second wind.

So, he's either borderline on the spectrum or very headstrong.  He has never done well with being told what to do and having to do things within a required timeframe.  Transitioning from one task to another (like the start of a school year.....  Or every Monday) has never been fun.  Many a days, as a two-year-old, he had to be dragged kicking and screaming from a library train table or from anywhere he wasn't ready to leave.

We were almost done with school today when my son asked if he could take a break with his younger sister while we waited till his older sister finished her work and we could join together as a family for American History.

That's when it started to heat up.  He immediately made a beeline to get my youngest to join him downstairs playing a video game.  When I put an end to that, his attitude took a nose dive.

I will cut to the chase and say that American History's true battles probably don't hold a candle to what he had to spew out at me.  I was really determined to remain calm and not let his sour attitude ruin the rest of our first day at school.

...Maybe I failed.  Maybe I'm just not super human.

To say that the rest of the day was a challenge would be putting it far too lightly!

So, the sun goes down on our first day of school for the 2013-14 year with me feeling destroyed.

Years ago, before I had children, I observed others who homeschooled.  It was the way these homeschooled children acted that sold me on the idea.  It seemed like a perfect idea!

Today, I question my decision.  I feel numb and heartbroken and too tired to face another year with 4-hour arguments about why my son shouldn't have to learn about this or that.  We shall see how the rest of the week goes, but today that big yellow school bus looks magical.

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