Saturday, September 15, 2012

We All Need Support!

Today we had a support group meeting at the Almaden Valley Christian School office and ranch. It was an awesome time!

It was good to meet others who are homeschooling special needs children. Of course, special needs come in all sorts of colors, and the staff at AVCS helps parents to homeschool kids that don't fit the mold. I wish I had known about Sharon Hensley and AVCS when I was homeschooling another of my children, or even sooner with Ms D. I think I would have been a lot more confident and knowledgeable.

Today, we first had a time to talk and meet with the staff and other parents. Oh! I'm not alone!

We had a short time of learning some technology. There is a program I'd like to look into called Paper Port Notes that looks interesting, if not for the kids, maybe me or some of my kids that are in college.

Then Sharon talked on Reality Scheduling: How being both scheduled and flexible can keep you sane.  I liked that she acknowledged that each family and each child is different, so the ideas given weren't set in stone, but ideas to help us make decisions for our own families. She also had great insight into how to have things scheduled, yet teach flexibility to our children who have such a need for routine. This extreme need for routine is one of the areas where FASD and Autism Spectrum cross, so I think ideas she had will help with my kids. It was good to know that I'm not the only one who needs to deal with meltdowns when the phone rings or we have to go to an appointment and can't do school at the same time every day. Some of the ideas given were to have a visual schedule, slowly stretch a child so that she can learn to wait and handle changes, if you have to change the schedule be sure to warn the child ahead of time and remind her that there will be a change, and ways to smooth transitions. There was so much more, but those are some of the things that I can focus on now.

After that we had a delicious lunch of Chinese chicken salad in the back lawn. We were able to talk some more with other parents. I was also able to look through some of the suggested curriculum in the office before I bought it. Hopefully I'll find something that will be a better fit!

Even though I've been homeschooling over half my life, which is a pretty weird thought, I still need the support of other people who are following similar paths. Yes, I could probably manage on my own. I could have researched and read some of the same information I got at the meeting today. But I would have missed out on the intangibles. I would have missed being face to face with other parents of special needs kids, and seeing the humor, grace, and kindness of Sharon and others on the AVCS staff. Or I would have missed being with other people who don't think you're either crazy and irresponsible, or a saint with perfect patience for homeschooling your kids. And in all truthfulness, I would have missed the relief of having little bit of a break from the pressures and responsibilities of raising and teaching kids that need a whole lot of attention. I's so glad I have that kind of support!

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