…But What About the “Other” Kid? — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

…But What About the “Other” Kid?

by Heather P


Jack is homebound currently. We are anticipating him entering a virtual school next fall. If not, then he’ll homebound some more.

Jack isn’t my only child. I have a very neuro-typical child. As a matter of fact, she’s the most wonderful kid in the whole world. She’s bright and compassionate and funny (just like her mom! HA!). Until three years ago, she attended public school. I wasn’t thrilled with our choices for public schools, but it worked.

Then, when more and more of Jack’s issues came to light (mostly the fact that his lungs are junk and he’s so immunocompromised), we pulled her out and put her in K12’s online virtual school. It’s free public school conducted on a computer. It’s awesome!

I was criticized by everyone from my own family to “teachers” who thought I was doing a disservice to my daughter.

“She needs socialization!”

My answer is simple: I now have the time to allow her to do sports (she’s a swimmer) and take classes (art or what have you) during the day. She meets friends and is perfectly adjusted and happy.

“How will she ever go to college?”

As a college level instructor, I am well aware of the college environment. She will be prepared because she is learning, in this school, to be independent and self motivated to study. I think she’ll fare much better than many of her classmates, as she will have a better grasp of how to study without someone guiding her and holding her hand!

My worries about Jack will never go away. However, I feel like we have made a decision that will allow our environment to be more “safe” during the seasons of sickness.

Have you ever considered home school? Virtual school? Alternative schools? If so, what do you like/not like?

Email Author    |    Website About Heather P

Heather is a mom of two, wife, and nurse educator doing what she can to save the day! She lives in Orlando where she is routinely spotted driving while singing ABBA--all on a mission to advocate and educate!

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1 TammieMP September 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm

LOVE IT! We don’t do a digital program(they laughed at us when we inquired), we’re more unschool than typical schooling. I only have one child, but he has many issues. Homeschooling allows us to be flexible for doctor appointments, therapies, and life in general. I can’t believe the difference in him, and he amazes me each and every day. I wouldn’t do it any different, if I had other children, I’d do the same. And I have to admit, I would have never considered it until I saw what our schools had to offer.

2 Heather P October 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I know! I really can’t believe that life can be a little bit of everything…and I don’t have to worry every single minute about school schedules, packing lunches, and what time to pick up! It’s bliss. Sorta. Sometimes. 🙂

3 Sandra October 1, 2011 at 1:34 am

We may be moving to an area that is known for their less than desirable school district. I have begun to look at home schooling as an option. But how do you balance being a teacher and being a care giver?

4 Heather P October 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm

You’re both. I like to think of it as being the coach. The teacher is really in the computer. My girl child is pretty independent and comes to me for help when she needs or has questions, and I can give Jack the attention he needs when he needs it! There are TONS of online options. The Keystone School is another one…very reputable and highly respected. Let me know if you need someone to hold your hand through it. I would reccommend it to anyone!

5 Mary E.S. October 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

I removed our oldest from school in the 6th grade because of issues with our school system.I’ve homeschooled him for six years and love the relationship we have.Most of the people we know would give anything to have the close relationship with their teenager that I have with my son.I am thinking seriously about taking our youngest son out of public school as well.Both our son’s are high yield autistic and have multiple sensory issues.The little one started a new class in a new school this year and it is not working out very well but I’m giving it until Christmas before I make a decision.In homeschooling there are bad times as well as good times but I wouldn’t trade the last six years with my boy for all the money in the world.At first I didn’t think I could do it but with God’s help I did and am still learning along with my child.

6 Heather P October 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

YES Mary! Oh my goodness, I have such an amazing relationship with my daughter. She is becoming such an amazing person, and I’m not dealing with any of the rebellious teenage stuff! I believe too that God leads us to it… 🙂

7 Debbie K. October 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

We’ve constantly considered homeschooling for several years. Our son is also high-functioning autistic. He’s very smart, but has social issues. Also is not very motivated to study on his own, which is one of the main reasons I’m afraid to homeschool. He would rather stay home and play video games than do anything else, but so far he’s doing well in his charter school. We’re lucky that he’s been with the same group of kids since kindergarten, to they accept his “quirks” and admire his computer skills. He would miss his school friends if we schooled him at home, but we talk about it all the time. It may come to that when he gets to middle school (he’s in 6th grade now).

I know many, many people who are teaching their children at home, and one friend who teaches homeschoolers. Many of them go on and excel at college for exactly the reasons you’ve stated: they’re used to working independently and know how to study. Bottom line, you have to do what’s best for your own children. Sounds like you’re doing it!

8 Heather P October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

That’s one of the reasons I chose to do the online virtual school…it’s more structured with expectations daily, but we’re in a better place emotionally. I’m trying!

9 Charity October 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Four of my six children are in Public school but I have decided after much research and my daughters week immunne system that I will be homeschooling her. She is only 29months but even her doctor agrees it will be best for her. I have gotten ALOT of criticism about my decision. All I hear is how she needs the “socialization”. She has five other siblings, I take her everywhere we have playdates and she is exposed to family and friends constantly I think we have socializattion covered.

10 Heather P October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

You totally do! I was criticized too…but you know what…they’ve suddenly all shut up! Let me know how it goes! Keep me posted!

11 Gen December 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Great article! Luckily, we were already homeschooling our three older children when our youngest, with many medical problems, arrived. We belong to a co-op that meets in the fall and spring, but takes the flu season off. At first even my mother questioned my ability to homeschool and care for a child with complex needs, but after spending a few weeks with us she said she would do anything to help us continue homeschooling because she saw that it really was the best for everyone!

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