Monday, April 16, 2007

Homeschooling for kids with Ds?

I'm really loving this discussion over on Kerflop. I'm one of those people who was gifted and yet never bored in public school because I could find something to learn (not to mention that since parental disappointment was my greatest fear I never would have acted out if bored).

Now I'm faced with this same kind of decision with my son at the ripe age of 2. I've already been asked twice by his educational team if I've thought about what I want to do with him next year. Since he has Down syndrome he is eligible to start in the public system at age 3, but I'm not sure that even early school with trained professionals is the right way to go with him. Every child is an individual and he is (thank you, God!) at the far end of the spectrum of developmental delays. He probably isn't going to be reading above grade level like I was, but that doesn't mean that he won't be bored and unchallenged in a special ed class. I'm concerned that we will lose all the gains we've made if he's put in a situation that expects him to be slow in areas where he is not just because of a label that has been applied to him.

Really, our concern is that he will start on a path that will lead to an attendance certificate when he actually could earn a diploma. I don't want to squelch any of the joy that he has, for life or for learning. Now if it turns out that even with the best help he isn't capable of earning a diploma then (while heartbroken) I will accept it. But I'm not going to give up when the boy isn't even 2!

SO, (blah, blah, blah) I love the links and advice that I've been able to read on Kerflop, but does anyone out there have links and advice for kids that are not geniuses and gifted and skipping grades?


  1. I think that's the beauty of homeschool you can really cater to where he's at and what he needs. 'Course that doesn't mean the whole thing isn't completely overwhelming me.

    The elementary, jr. and high school I went to had these really awesome integrated special ed classes so I grew up along side Down's (and other) special needs kids. They'd come to our classes for some things and back to their classes for other things. It was awesome in so many ways.

    None of the kids I grew up with ever made fun of special ed kids because they were right there, with us from elementary school on up. The "cool" kids in high school were so nice to the Down's boys and high fived them in the hallways and stuff. The year after I graduated, the year my sister was a Jr. my high school voted for the cutest, chubby, adorable little Down's girl as the Prom Queen!!

    I loved that. That's one thing I really enjoyed about my public school experience. We could all volunteer in the special ed classes, we went to the special olympics with them... it was awesome.

    Okay so that doesn't have anything to do with anything. I'm no help.

  2. I was just at Karen's blog and noticed that the Cupcake will be here this Friday!!!!! How exciting! Congratulations (a little early) and I hope everything is quick, easy and that your new baby will be in your arms in no time so that you too can smooch her little face off:)

  3. We are a homeschooling family. We have an eight year old who is learning about a grade above his age, and we have the twins, Avery with DS. We're using Love and Learning right now, and some computer stuff. It's a terrific choice for our family, though it's not for every child, to be sure. If you want more info, just email me!

  4. K, I really appreciate reading things like this and the feedback you get.

    I can't wait to hear about Cupcake's birth. Is Biscuit excited? I totally respect your no pictures policy but man, I would love to see a picture of them together when she's here. I bet he will be so proud.

  5. Kerflop -- This actually is helpful. I think this is the kind of attitude that is so great with Buddy Walks. I just wish there was more local participation by people who are not family members directly affected by Down syndrome. In some areas (Missoula is an example if I remember correctly) the Buddy Walk is a big deal at the high school. They had great photos of the guys on the football team carrying the banner at the front of the group as they walked around their park. Here it seems to all be families with their kid that has Down syndrome and not a lot of outside involvement. Maybe it's worth not homeschooling just to force me to get involved outside the home? Food for thought.

    Pam -- That is exactly what I'm thinking. :-D

    Jennifer -- I forgot you were homeschooling. Personally, I think there will be lots of home learning even if we enroll him in school, but I'm going to have to make myself a big fat note so I remember you are a resource in this area.

    Karen -- Really? This stuff is interesting to you? Well, then cool. I don't think that The Biscuit has any clue really. He's not quite 2 and all he knows now is that Mommy's belly is big and she says "ow" when he tries to stick his finger in her belly button. We've been calling The Cupcake by name and telling him that she's in Mommy's belly, but none of that seems to have sunk in. On the other hand, he knows something is up. One night he woke up at 4am and just wanted to sit and stare at me; no asking for milk or rocking or anything, just sitting together. And he's asking for lots of hugs and attention while in his high chair. So, while he doesn't get the baby sister stuff, I think he's sensing change in the air.

    I can't believe that tomorrow is almost here!

  6. Well, yeah, of course this stuff is interesting. Though I don't have firsthand knowledge of mothering a child with Downs who's to say that someday I won't? Or that someone close to me won't?

    HOW IS SHE?? HOW IS YOUR LITTLE CUPCAKE?! Can't wait to hear the news.

  7. Karen -- Post & some pics up!


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