I am seriously considering homeschooling my son after preschool is over. I am worried about his social skills with homeschooling, but I worry more about his education and one on one attention in public schools. The preschool teacher already warned me most of her students parents opt to home school once they hit kindergarten age. Any advice?
I was told the same by one of my son's teachers. I didn't do it because my son is mildly autistic and social skills were his disability- staying home (we tried for one semester) was not solution and even instructor recommended sending him back to school- too lonely. Better to be prepared for the world by being exposed while you are young, than being sheltered and then thrown out into the world as an adult already set in their ways. Social skills first priority and education will follow. For one on one - request a Paraprofessional for your child. So many programs available now to help. Wish I had had them for my son.
So far everyone has been against Homeschooling, but sometimes the school system does not work... even the schools designed for special needs. I've met several mothers that had to remove their children from the school system, either because the school could not keep track of the child (sensory seekers) or due to the child having a delicate condition. In such cases homeschooling and ABA services become the only answer.
Homeschooling is not the answer for everyone, but if you are worried about socialization, it is a myth that homeschoolers are unsocialized. Join one or more homeschooling groups in your area, find groups to help support you with your being a special needs mother, sometimes the groups are mutually exclusive, sometimes they are not. Both groups will offer chances for socialization for you and your child. In some states the public schools now offer online classes or extra help.
In the end you know your child best. I agree that you need to do your research, contact the local homeschool and special needs groups in your area. Contact the child advocate groups in your area, they can tell you what is available for your child in the school system (they know the education system in your area) and can help you work within the educational system for what your child needs.
Good luck, no one knows your child like you. Do your best, do your research, and you will find what you need if it is to be found.
Homeschooling would have been a big mistake for my daughter. School was difficult, but she learned so much about life and people and the real world there. Social skills were so critical and exposure to other kids is the only way to develop those - and a LOT of exposure. Asking the way, we met some incredible kids who connected with her and socialized her way better than any therapy possibly could have. And, although other parents and often the teachers didn't always understand, and sometimes could make life very difficult, we had some incredibly productive relationships with other parents and professionals, and my daughter made continual progress. And that was back before people were as aware of and educated about autism as they are now. I highly recommend sending your son to school.
After one year of special education preschool, we opted to homeschool our son, who has autism. Our school district did not have a strong program for kids with autism, and we felt that he would get a better education with the individualized program we could provide at home. My friends who teach special education fully agreed with our decision. We eventually homeschooled him all the way through school, and it was one of the best decisions we made.
I agree...if your child's social skills are your biggest concern, he may be better off in school. School teaches manners and social rules-how to be polite, take turns, be quiet,You can teach him social skills just like you teach them to read or how to hold a fork. I worked with him on how to have a conversation and how to make eye contact. My son is now finishing his 12th year in public school (and has been in FL, AL, and NC)...it was scary for me, but actually. it was ok.
Some school systems are better at dealing with ASD-learn and educate yourself on what's available via IEP etc. I was able to get the sheer volume of my son's homework down in grade school and we had several schools with great programs (Alabama was the best)-one had a social skills class. For all of that, he has been mainstreamed the whole time. He has been without an IEP since 6th grade. His diagnosis qualifies him to have private testing and longer test times, but he doesn't want to be singled out in that way. Sharon above is right-smaller children are either not aware or far more accepting than we adults would ever imagine.
Be a helicopter mom when you have to. Tell his teachers privately about his diagnosis and make sure you are in the loop. Phys Ed (high school, when they have to change clothes) was a major worry for me, but a chat with his PE teacher made it smooth sailing and he got an A. I worried about bullies but we escaped that also. Don't let your demons be his demons. Encourage his interests so he can find one or two good friends through hobbies or interests. I threw a Transformer party-only one kid came, but that boy is my son's best friend, seven years later. Drama/theater has also been a good extracurricular activity for us.
Good luck. It will be better than you think. The schools are far better equipped and educated to assist you than you imagine....and in a few years, you can anguish over that child becoming an adult, which is an entirely different set of worries. wink