A tale of two orientations

Yesterday we got to go to the middle twice; first, for Chickadee’s 8th grade orientation, then later, for Monkey’s 6th grade one.

I took Chickie in the morning and marveled at how different it was, now, from her first foray into this building two years ago. She met up with friends easily, ran to greet and hug favorite teachers, and then parked herself at the brief assembly with her buds, leaving me happy to catch her glance now and then from the row behind them.

We picked up her schedule and discovered she hadn’t gotten a couple of teachers she’d wanted. Worse, it appeared many of her friends had the classes she didn’t. I braced for her disappointment.

And it didn’t come.

“It’s fine,” she said, waving her hand. “I got a couple of teachers I really wanted. Did you know the new Spanish teacher is a native speaker? I’m sure there will be people I know. And you know, when I’m in class with a friend, we talk too much. I’ll probably learn more this way.” We walked around to her various classrooms, or perhaps I should say that I walked around, while she glided ahead of me, introducing herself in a calm, clear voice, smiling and chatting as we went along.

“Anything you want to tell me?” one of her teachers asked. She shook her head, so I took that as my cue to make my daughter squirm.

“You’ll have to keep an eye on her,” I offered. “She’s trouble. BIG trouble.” I let a grin twitch my mouth before returning to a solemn nod designed to convey my condolences about my rotten child.

I was sure she would roll her eyes and/or protest, but she only glanced sideways and then mimicked my sorrowful expression and nodding. The teacher laughed. “Oh, sometimes I like trouble. Some kinds of trouble are good.” They smiled at each other and we all said our “see you next week”s and moved on to the next classroom.

Just when I began to wonder if my Chickadee—my goofy, giggly girl—was still in there, under all that poise, we passed a classmate of hers we’d spotted earlier. This girl had dyed her hair a shocking shade of auburn over the summer, and earlier I’d commented that it was… quite something. She strode past us and Chickadee slowed to meet my side, snaking an arm around my waist to pull me in close.

“I just figured it out,” she murmured into my ear, chin grazing my shoulder. “She looks like Strawberry Shortcake, now.” She pulled back slightly as I worked to stifle my giggles, then with a wicked grin moved back in and whispered, “I am tempted to run up to her and say, ‘It’s BERRY GOOD to see you again!’”

We collapsed against the wall, gasping for breath and composure. And then another friend appeared and she was off again, while I trailed a respectable distance behind.

“Are you ready?” I asked, as we headed home.

“Definitely,” she said.

* * * * *

In the afternoon, we headed back to school as a family. Monkey’s hastily-assigned parapro met us in the office, and while she was lovely and kind, Monkey refused to speak to her or even look in her direction. During the assembly he fidgeted and squirmed and sat so close to me on the edge of his chair, I feared he’d topple it over. By the time we’d fought our way through the crowd and located his homeroom, he darted inside and hid between a couple of bookshelves.

I picked up his schedule. He’d been assigned the one teacher I had specifically requested he not be placed with under any circumstances. That would have to be changed. But first I had to get Monkey… off the floor, as it turned out. He’d curled up with his back to the noise and asked if it was time to go home.

Otto and I looked at each other. The parapro offered helpful tidbits like, “He’ll get used to it!” and “It’s kind of loud in here for me, too.” When none of that got a reaction, she finally said, “Don’t you want to stay for ice cream? There’s ice cream later, after the schedule walk-through.”

“I have ice cream at home,” Monkey said, sounding tired and flat and utterly DONE.

We decided to head back towards the administrative offices, fix the teacher assignment, and leave.

His schedule was amended in record time, and we made plans to coordinate with the parapro on Monday morning. This was done while Monkey sat in a chair, insisting that he had a headache and he wanted to leave.

“Can we go to Sonic?” Chickadee asked, hopefully, as we headed out. “Because we didn’t stay for ice cream here? And it’s so hot out?”

“YES,” I said, too loud, surprising all of us. “Sonic. Yes. Good. Great idea!” Otto raised an eyebrow at me but played along.

One root beer float later, Monkey was insisting he felt much better. He headed upstairs, and Otto and I sat in my office.

“No,” I said.

“I know,” he said.

“He can’t. He just can’t.”

“I agree,” he said.

“What if the Hippie School can’t take him, though?” I said.

“We’ll figure it out,” he said.

Have I mentioned how fond I am of Otto? Very, very fond.

This morning I filled out the Intent to Homeschool form. Chickadee may be a little more confident than I am at the moment, but I guess we’re both ready. I keep reminding myself: different needs, different paths, different adventures, different challenges. Different kids. And I wouldn’t have them any other way.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m terrified. But I also slept great last night, for the first time in a while.

92 Responses to “A tale of two orientations”

  1. 1
    Angela August 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I’m glad you feel peace. Even if it is terrified peace. We’re homeschooling for the second year and there are still times I wonder what I’m doing. BUT my Monkey is where he needs to be and that is what matters. Plus you know I am rather fond of him. ;)

  2. 2
    Tara August 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    All the signs were there and you heeded them. Good for you. No, it won’t be easy, but nothing worth it ever really is.

  3. 3
    Tara August 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    And Otto sounds like a really great (step) dad and husband.

  4. 4
    Karly August 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Homeschooling is tough sometimes, but you are going to ROCK at it. You just know your kids needs and how to handle them so well. You’re gonna be amazing.

  5. 5
    Chuck August 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Sometimes decisions that you’ve agonized over suddenly become quite clear. Good luck with everything, Mir. I’ll be rooting for both of your kids to have a great school year!

  6. 6
    Christina August 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Good for you! I can’t wait to hear how the homeschooling goes!

  7. 7
    Brooke August 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Bravo for doing what you feel is best for your child – even if you are a little terrified! :)

    I’ve been homeschooling for 6 years. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t wonder if I’m doing it right or if my kids are learning enough. Then they do or say something and I realize all is FINE!

    Find a support group and hang in there for an amazing, wonderful, wild ride!!!

  8. 8
    Brooke August 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Oh, you don’t have to have a child sit at a desk/table to learn! Some kids retain things you read to them better if they are building LEGOS or standing on their heads in the living room! Think outside the box!! :)

  9. 9
    burghbaby August 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Sometimes it takes a 30-second incident (or non-incident) to give clarity to a complicated situation. Glad you found your moment of clarity, even if the situation does continue to change.

  10. 10
    Kelly August 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    I was hoping the decision – no matter what it was – would give you peace. I’m glad you got a good nights sleep!

  11. 11
    amanda August 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    I’m proud. You took the leap of faith… from one homeschooling mom to another… it’s not easy, but it’s so much easier than public. Please tell me Monkey’s sigh of relief is heard across the planet.

  12. 12
    Carolyn August 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Yea! Just making a decision – even a “terrifying” one- can bring such relief. If you need any recommendations for your gifted guy, please let me know. My email changed, but I’m the Stinky Boys mom. We’ve somewhat been in your shoes (drug kicking & screaming into homeschooling our Aspie/gifted guy). It’s been a great adventure.
    :-)

  13. 13
    Randi August 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    I’m so glad that you slept well – I’m wondering what Monkey thinks of the whole thing and if he’ll start sleeping better as well. As parents we always know what’s best for our children and it sounds like Monkey has great protectors in both you and Otto.

  14. 14
    bj August 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    “It’s berry good to see you again.” Wow. It’s a amazing time, I’m guessing, a she grows into the woman she’s going to be. I have a younger chickadee, and you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to see the glimpses of what might yet be.

    (mind you what’s so wonderful is that she both thought it and didn’t do it)

    Good wishes for your planning for M. Keep reminding yourself that you *will* do what’s best for him. We all worry, but in the end, we do, maybe especially if we worry.

  15. 15
    AlisonC August 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Whetherits the hippe school or home schooling, I wish you and Monkey all the best. He is lucky that he was given a mom (and an Otto) like you.

  16. 16
    Rebecca August 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    You are doing what’s best for your boy.

    Scary, yes, but good. My money’s on you, and on Monkey flourishing this way.

    My prayer is for peace for all of you.

  17. 17
    Mary Fran August 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I truly believe everything happens for a reason. The Open House experience was just what you needed to help you make the right decision. It will all work out for the best.

  18. 18
    WTMCassandra August 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    You have done everything you know how to do for Monkey. Homeschooling, while initially terrifying, might turn out to be a relief for both of you. Check out the Well-Trained Mind forums for a GREAT community. It doesn’t matter whether you use WTM type of curriculum or not–the community is very diverse. The special needs forum is very active and helpful. There are LOTS of resources out there to help you with homeschooling.

  19. 19
    MelissaB August 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Mir, I hope homeschooling exceeds all your expectations. Just keep in mind, there is no *right* way to homeschool. Be flexible and don’t try to “do school” at home, just learn together. If you haven’t already, seek out some local homeschoolers, meeting face to face with parents and kids that have been there, done that is so very helpful. If you can find a group with kids on the spectrum, you’ll likely get loads of help and experience to help you find you and Monkey to find the best path.

  20. 20
    Stimey August 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Oy. But I am so glad you have a Plan B that can work out so much better. Hugs to you, because I know how stressful it is to have to deal with school trauma. Good luck!

  21. 21
    elz August 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Well, at least that’s done. His mom HAS to be better than a hastily arranged parapro. Plus, no more meetings, right? Good luck, momma. You will all be fine. I know it.

  22. 22
    Clarity August 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Ok I’ve been all quiet and neutral about all this because lord knows I struggle enough to make decisions for my own wacky family let alone yours, but can I just say….

    YAYAYYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

    I’m so happy to hear you’ve decided to find another solution and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that it will be a huge positive change for Monkey and the rest of you.

  23. 23
    Nelson's Mama August 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I like the wise words of Carolyn…just making a decision and knowing where I’m headed usually helps me feel better, even if I don’t love the decision that I’ve had to make.

    Hang in there.

  24. 24
    Sassy Apple August 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I’m a public school teacher, and I’ve worked with so many students with special needs. I ‘kept quiet’ when you posted earlier about all the changes at the school, but I was worried. I know YOU know you made the right decision because you slept well, but whether you care or not, I think you made the right decision…..and I usually defend public school vociferously. Good job Mama Monkey.

  25. 25
    paige August 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    So happy that you guys have a clear direction in which to go. I know you “hear” this a lot in this space, but…your kids are very fortunate to have you and Otro.

  26. 26
    Mary August 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    What a scary decision for you to have to make! Though, from what I’ve read here (and I’ve been reading here for a long time now!) you’re going to do great at homeschooling. I don’t have children so have no sound advice to offer but I’m betting, as others have suggested, a support group will do wonders, especially in those moments when you’re second guessing yourself (which we ALL do!)

  27. 27
    KarenP August 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Wishing you all the best. Seems like Monkey, in his own way, showed you what he needed.

  28. 28
    MaryP August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    I don’t know what other decision you could have made, really. Good for you! Though I don’t think there’s ever been any doubt you’ll do what it takes to support your very different kids. I wish you all the best as you take it from here.

  29. 29
    Aimee August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Yay, Otto — and yay, you! The lead-up to such a big decision can make it seem so impossible, but I think it’s really true that when you know, you know. And now you do. It sounds like this is the right decision for Monkey. When a school can’t get right even the small things (ONE teacher you specifically requested he not get, and that’s who they put him with? Come on.) then it’s a pretty safe bet they’re not going to get the big things right either.

    Monkey couldn’t have a better teacher. :)

  30. 30
    Leandra August 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I know you’re so going to miss baking for all of your IEP meetings and so I just wanted to say to feel free to bake those homemade cinnamon rolls for me. ;)

    I have no doubt that while it may take you a little while to get your feet under you, you will definitely make this work. An old hymn keeps coming to mind…”One day at a time….”

    As for Chickie? Well, it sounds like she’s done a little growing up this summer. I’m thrilled for you both.

  31. 31
    Kathy August 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Oh good grief! I’m a teacher … so I’m qualified to say this … school people are idiots! REALLY? The one teacher you said you didn’t want is the one he got? OY! We finally “fired” my son’s counselor when he was in 10th grade. We didn’t know we could do it … but it was such sweet relief when we did and got someone more in tune with his/our needs!

    I’m so happy that you’ve made this decision! I wish I lived closer. I would so help you on this journey. It’s going to be tough, but you are always Monkey’s best teacher!

    And I’m so happy for your good night’s sleep! That’s half the battle, isn’t it?!

    Have a wonderful weekend … full of peace and love and joy … and Otto!!

    xoxo,
    kathy

  32. 32
    Jessica August 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Chickadee is reminding me of my niece (who is going into 9th grade this year), and I am always amazed when I see her how grown she looks and how different she acts than she did a few years ago. She is turning into an amazing young woman, and I make sure to tell her that, because I don’t think she hears it often enough.

    Regarding Monkey: I was reading something the other day and came across a Maya Angelou quote that, for some reason, made me think immediately of you and what you’re going through. I thought that emailing it to you was a bit forward, so I’m glad to have an opportunity to put it here:

    “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

    This exactly. We live each day doing what we know how to do, and when we realize that may not be for the best, we change and do it better. It’s hard, but that’s much better than realizing that it isn’t working and putting our fingers in your our, chanting, “La la la! I can’t hear you!”

    Keep rolling. (Or, “just keep swimming,” if you’d prefer. ;) )

  33. 33
    Jen August 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    OK, Big Hugs all around. Here is my BTDT advice: DON’T panic, and DON’T overschedule. We took my then-8-year-old son out of public school the day he came home and said he might as well kill himself. My first mistake was trying to follow a “schedule” for learning. Wake up, eat, 9-10 for history, etc. As much as aspies love routine, trying to force that kid into doing things on MY agenda, didn’t go so well. Once I learned to let go of MY thoughts on how things should go things went much better. We’ve now become largely unschoolers–I sit down and say OK, I want you guys to learn this this year, how are we going to do that, and what do YOU want to do. Letting them choose what to do gives them accountability and makes for fewer fights. Online education and the Ipad has also been GREAT for my kids. I don’t think you’ll have ANY problems at all. Your monkey is curious, and knows how to find things out, and he will do JUST FINE. You’ll find your people: the homeschooling communities are manifold, and you’ll find those who fit your philosophy. There’s NEVER one right way to do things. And Monkey will turn out to be a GREAT adult, and a much more confident kid, you’ll see. Took mine about a year to undo all the loss of confidence that public school put him through, but he’s really getting a grip these days–it’s much easier for him to hold it together for a few hours out when he knows he can go home for the majority of the day and decompress. Also, my father is a professor at a major university, and he says he’d rather have homeschooled children in his class than any others… Congrats on the new adventure–for you and Chickie AND Monkey.

  34. 34
    Sara August 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    I am so happy for you Mir. I know that this decision was a tough one to get to, but i think you and Monkey will have a great year. I’ve been homeschooling my 12 year old and 9 year old daughters for about three years and I can honestly say that it has changed our lives. The pace is a much better fit for my big girl especially. The first year is a big experiment. Just take it one step at a time and don’t try to be “school”. I’d be happy to chat with you about our experiences anytime. My homeschool blog is http://secularschoolhouse.blogspot.com/.

    Good luck!
    Sara

  35. 35
    Lisa August 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank goodness for Plan Bs. Plan B put my 15 year old daughter in an on-line high school during her sophomore year. It was the best move ever for her. My other 2 children completed “traditional” schools. I’m so thankful for options these days.

  36. 36
    Crisanne August 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I have prayed fervently for wisdom for you and Otto. It may not have come in a way you hoped, it came nonetheless. I continue to pray that Monkey’s father will be accepting of the new arrangements. I wish you all the best!!! I am starting a new journey with homeschooling my three kids this year, too.

  37. 37
    el-e-e August 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Is Monkey excited/relieved, too, about the prospect of homeschool or a different school experience? I hope so. I posted on FB but just came back to re-read the blog post again. Very glad you got a good night’s sleep, and glad the way was made clear-ish. ((hugs))

  38. 38
    Lucinda August 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Chickadee is amazing. I love reading about her transformation. Also, the right choice can be a scary choice but I am so grateful for those moments when the right choice is so clear. I’m glad you slept well.

  39. 39
    Beth R August 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    It sounds like both Monkey and Chickadee fed into your night of good sleep – knowing that everything will work out one way or another is an amazing sleep-aid.

    Hugs to you for making a hard decision and raising a couple of pretty cool kids :)

  40. 40
    ellen August 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    We always have a pre-orientation with kids with Aspberger’s ahead of the big one – a more private tour and one on one time in a quiet setting. In the last few weeks of your postings I was thinking that the school is just not a good fit. Good luck, you’ll do it!

  41. 41
    Tenessa August 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I cried. I’m still crying. It’s a sad cry that regular sorts of life things can be so overwhelming to our Monkeys and it’s a cry of relief that you saw what you needed to without having to go through the roller coaster of starting middle school.

    I start my first foray into homeschooling on Aug. 22. I’m working on my lesson plan (which is for me and not the state. NC rocks like that.) and I’m getting more and more excited as the date draws nearer. I have faith that I can do this. If I can, then you can too. Good luck!!

  42. 42
    Anna August 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Oh, Mir. Relief, and yet… trepidation.

    There is a growing community of special needs homeschooling families out there. I’d bet you’ve already scoped it out, but if you haven’t, look up yahoo groups and forums and whatnot, not to mention your local groups. Also, check into the concept of deschooling for a while.

    I am a homeschooler, but I only want the best for Monkey, whatever that is. Hopefully this will release him from stress and he will blossom. Fingers crossed.

  43. 43
    Sherri August 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    You slept good – that is a good sign you made the right choice for the current situation.

  44. 44
    Tammy August 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I’m so happy that you have found a path to take! It may not always be clear, but at least you’re on it. :)

  45. 45
    CJ August 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Awesome. Not knowing what’s right is stressful, but knowing what isn’t right is powerful. Good for Monkey that he has parents who keep him out of a wrong situation and work really hard to find a right one. Go Chickadee! Yay you, and yay Otto.

  46. 46
    Andrea August 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Clarity sometimes finds you. Give it a warm welcome and enjoy what comes next.

  47. 47
    Christy August 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    It is good darlin. If you’re anything like me I’m guessing you have been praying for some guidance and wisdom about what to do here….and I’d say you got it loud and clear. You will be amazing, and so will he. Much luck to you…the good news is that now of course you get to bake for yourself every time you call a meeting. Hurrah!

  48. 48
    Jenn August 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Whew – If I’m this relieved I can only imagine how you feel. I’m glad you were finally able to settle in to a decision that’s right for you and monkey. Sending encouragement to both of you

  49. 49
    Kristine N August 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I am so glad that you decided this path….. I think it is the best thing for both of you…. Sending hugs to all of you…

    Sleep well

  50. 50
    Karen R. August 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    You are all going to make it. You have been agonizing over this decision for so long, and you know that you have made the right choice — at least for now. If the hippie school doesn’t come through, look into cyber school. Many states offer that as a free option for those students who don’t quite fit the public school mode — and for whom they do not want to fund a private placement. I didn’t find out about that option in my state until my youngest (homeschooled for grades 9-12) entered college, but a friend of hers really liked it.

    And I agree with the comment above, about letting Monkey set the pace and the schedule. One of the most exciting things about my experience was watching my daughter realize that she is intelligent and loves to learn. With her ADD and LDs, she had been so beaten down in middle school that she was convinced she was stupid. With homeschooling she could delve as deeply as she wanted into topics that interested her. And we could stick with the material she struggled with until she understood it — none of this moving on to the next topic before mastering the first. She had a blast in college, and loved all the material she learned.

    Best wishes to all of you.

  51. 51
    Jodie August 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Oh man! This brought the good tears today! I am so glad you made it to the peaceful sleep.

    As an aside – I was a clinical director for some remediation programs for students on the spectrum. I’d be happy to send things your way or just answer questions. We worked with a lot of kids that chose the homeschool route. (ps…also not at all in that field anymore nor a particular advocate of any one program.)

  52. 53
    Kristi August 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Ahhh, peace. Or at least a bit. Just as you’ve figured this piece of the puzzle, so too will you figure out the next.

  53. 54
    MomCat August 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I bet Monkey is so relieved, too, that he doesn’t have to go there and deal with all that. Best wishes to you both. I’m betting he will have a much easier year this way!

  54. 55
    liz August 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    When it’s clear, it’s clear.

  55. 56
    Emily August 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I don’t know why, but this post brought tears to my eyes. Here’s to a good night’s sleep – finally.

  56. 57
    The Mommy Therapy August 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    I have been out of the loop lately, but I feel so fortunate to be coming back in for the post where you have reached peace about this huge decision for Monkey. It seems like he helped you figure it out, which is awesome.

    I can’t wait to hear the year goes for both of them. I’m sure both will be filled with lots of stories and lots of fun.

    Have a good weekend!

  57. 58
    Em August 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I am so happy that you each won’t have to endure the anxiety over what might happen at school. You know Monkey and how he learns and his cues about when he has had enough. I think you will have good days and bad days but I doubt you will have any bad days as bad as he might have had where he was with people who didn’t know him as well.

  58. 59
    Stacy August 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    I’ve been following your blog forever, but this is my first comment. We have an Aspie (and Type I diabetic) son the same age as Monkey. We struggled through K and 1st at our local school with an aide to manage his brittle diabetes and help him with his sensory/Aspie struggles. Then the local school district decided that since he would be starting 2nd grade, he now needed to magically be able to manage his diabetes/Aspergers/SPD on his own without an aide. I never could get them to quite tell me how he was to have acquired this skill, since he seemed like exactly the same boy to me. I’m an RN and managing his diabetes is a full time job for me and I don’t have the mental challenges he has. I fought them tooth and nail and all I could get was a general classroom aide assigned who’d “keep an eye on Andrew”.

    Cutting to the inevitable end, I peeked into the classroom on the second day of school to find him curled up on the floor crying, completely overwhelmed with having to manage his diabetic care.. while juggling his schoolwork… while on sensory overload. I withdrew him from that school 5 minutes later and enrolled him in a public charter school that was all online, done at home. It was a challenge at first to balance life along with being his “learning coach”, but it has been 100 times better for him. Plus, it has a better curriculum than his old school and he can do the GT work the other school didn’t have.

    I was scared to make the change at first though too.. wondering if I was making a huge mistake that would just damage him further. But no, it was the best choice we’ve made. I hope yours works out the same.

  59. 60
    crgilvr August 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    You know, every time I ignore my instincts about a situation like that, it bites me in the posterior. I think you made a good call.

  60. 61
    kathy August 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    I am a HUGE homeschool supporter but I am just pissed at your school district for treating you like shit. Honestly, they SUCK. I’m pissed on your behalf.

    If you decide to homeschool, be prepared to go through a lot of curriculum finding the one that fits your kid. :)

  61. 62
    Cheryl M. August 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    I’m so glad you finally got some sleep (I’m sitting here yawning because I don’t think I’ve slept since son #2 was born in Feb.), and I know Monkey is going to be fine – because you and Otto are awesome and love that boy to pieces.

    High five for Chickie! It sounds like she’s growing up to be quite the smart young lady, and someone the world will love to know.

  62. 63
    ChristieNY August 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Beyond proud of you. We haven’t had orientation yet. My “typical” is heading into 2nd grade, very “Chickie-like” in his excitement. My little one on the spectrum is going into Kindergarten and I’m NERVOUS to say the least. You and Otto make a fantastic team, and Monkey is all the better for it. BIG HUGS! :)

  63. 64
    Heather August 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    That girl of yours – love her! :)

    So glad you are following your instincts. Monkey will be fine….as long as he has you and Otto by his side. Since your post about everything fallling through the cracks, I was pretty sure you would not be sending him to that school. They say things happen for a reason…..

    Glad you got a good nights’ rest!!

    Heather

    PS – I am very fond of Otto too.

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    Megan August 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I keep running out of words! But the sleep is your mind at ease – or at least at better ease than before – and that’s wonderful.

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    kapgaf August 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    When you made the decision for Monkey to go to school, you worried that it might not be the right decision and it turns out that it wasn’t the right decision but it doesn’t matter because you and Otto know how to change it into what is the right decision. You know what to do for Monkey and you are doing it on this and all the other subjects you write about.

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    Sheryl August 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    I have been biting my tongue, knowing you didn’t need any opinions or assvice during this already stressful enough time, but I practically shouted hallelujah when I read this post. Any alternative to public school is amost guaranteed to be a better situation for Monkey than public school.

    Also so glad that Chickadee is doing so well! Emily is painfully shy still and not at all self assured.

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    Tracy B August 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    YAY! I’m so glad that the decision has been made. Can you share (and I’m sure you’ll get around to it) how Monkey feels about being home schooled? I have a feeling he’ll have mixed emotions at first. I’m so glad you have relief! Enjoy the weekend, Monday will be here before you know it….we still have a couple of weeks.

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    amy August 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Good for you to listen and pay attention to the people that matter most; your family. Monkey is going to be so happy and deservingly taken care of since he has such an incredible support system. Happy that you have found the path you needed to take, with confidence.

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    Mary Anne August 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Mir and Otto
    While your decision to not main stream M in public school has been difficult I really think, having lurked along for a couple years now, that you’ve made the right one! Your son told you loud and clear yesterday what his feelings on the matter are!
    Life on the spectrum is never predictable or easy, that said…. Why ask for trouble. Middle schoolers are the nastiest species on earth and unforgiving of any behavior that doesn’t conform. You are more than capable of providing Monkey with a middle school education. I bet he will fly through a home schooling curriculum. I even bet with his love of routine you could get your work done while he does seat work. The glass is half full!!!!
    Best m.

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    Sheila August 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I am very fond of that Otto, too. Is that weird?

    Wishing you the best possible outcome to a difficult situation. You’ll do right by Monkey, whatever you decide.

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    Lise August 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I’m so glad you’ve made a decision and that you’re finally able to sleep. Best wishes for a good school year for you all.

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    jetmom4 August 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I wish I could go to a hippie school…

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    Sharon August 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Homeschooling may seem overwhelming at first, and I’ve heard of people who change from public schooling needing time to just decompress, but it does get better. The wonderful thing is that you will be able to tailor it to your own needs. Don’t feel bad if something doesn’t work, and don’t be afraid to change things up (don’t be a slave to your curriculum guide if you use one). We use Sonlight and love it. It’s literature based. Imagine monkey curled up against you as you read him all kinds of interesting books, all while he’s learning so much. Check them out. Whatever you end up choosing, I really hope it works out for all of you.

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    Navhelowife August 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Ok, you always have such wonderful comments that I want to read them all, but I’m tired after 8.5 hours driving, so I’m going to jump ahead.
    If Hippie school (LOVE That nickname btw) Can’t take him, and you do homeschool, please email me. I have some stuff you might be able to use. You can do it. Either option. But you made the right decision. And it sounds like when the time came, the decision, while not easy in substance, was easy in direction. You knew what had to be done.
    *Hugs*

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    Sharon August 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Also, if you need a way to organize your day, you might be interested in work boxes. Here are a couple of links:
    http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/2009/03/workboxes.html
    http://homeschoolcreations.com/Workboxes.html

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    Navhelowife August 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Oh, and yea for Miss C. I’m so pleased for her that things seem easier this year!

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    amanda August 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Mir, I don’t know about your state, but I have a piece of info you may find useful…

    Some public schools will GIVE the curriculum/books to a homeschool student to use for the school year for FREE. You can even have teacher books/guides/tests, etc.

    Find out what curriculum Monkey used last year… and see if they have it for purchase for homeschoolers if it worked well for him.

    Just a suggestion among thousands I’m sure you will be getting. :-)

    Also, join the HSLDA. ~ http://www.HSLDA.org

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    Navhelowife August 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Oh, and yes – the need for decompression is sometimes there – so if homeschooling is the route, allow for some easy things that first month.

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    addy August 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Congratulations on both fronts Mir. And best thoughts and wishes for the coming school year.

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    Karishma August 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    You’re going to be amazing, Mir. You’re doing exactly what your baby needs, and that’s what counts the most. Good luck to you and yours on this new journey.

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    Julie August 6, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Mir – all turns out exactly as it should. Thank you so much for sharing that with us – I love seeing how wonderful your family is!

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    Annette August 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Soooo…. Wondering if I am a “bad” friend for telling you how I saw it the last post I read! Lol! Glad the signs became clear for you! I wA waiting for you and Chickie to smell the Strawberry Shortcake’s head:). Mmmmm… Strawberry!

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    Daisy August 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Hugs and moral support to you and Otto. If you’re homeschooling, you can always email me for curriculum supplements. I taught 6th grade for nine years.

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    Amanda August 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    The different needs and different paths is so true. As long as both kids are happy and learning in an environment that’s appropriate for each of them, that’s what matters. I’ve been coming to terms with this myself this week as we were told our younger child is on the opposite end of the spectrum from our Aspie. This post helped with my perspective. Thank you.

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    Rebecca August 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Way to go! :)

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    Kris August 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Yeah!

    I’m happy for you guys!

    Honestly, the scariest part is making the decision. Everything after that is a piece of cake, because now you are in control and making the decisions.

    Not having to deal with the school and wonder and worry is going to take a huge amount of stress off of you. Not having to GO to the school is going to take a huge amount of stress off of Monkey.

    Brava!!!

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    vanessa August 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I am so, so sorry things are so tough with Monkey. I am also really, really glad that you have decided not to send him to public school. It sounds like it would have just been too much.
    For the record, I went to hippie crunchy Quaker school for HS and it saved my life.
    But I think–I know–that whatever you do, it will be the best thing for Monkey.

    And I’m so glad Chickie is so pleased!

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    amanda August 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    workboxes are GREAT for aspies… at least some of them. HAHA I am loving reading your comments… I come back each day to see what is added…

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    laura August 7, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Sitting here reading through your comments and just imagining the level of tension at your house today. I’m hoping Chickie has a wonderful first day of school! If caring thoughts had the power, Monkey would be insulated from all adversity just by the concern of your readers. Take care Mir, I hope this Sunday finds you and your family ready to take on the week.

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    Jen August 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Oh hon. Good luck.

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    Katie in MA August 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    You know, now that I think about it, you *do* mention from time to time how awfully fond of Otto you are. (Perhaps to stave off the hordes of readers who are itching for one of their own. Heh.)

    So proud of Chickie and happy that she’s found herself. And so glad that you’ve found (created your own?) peace with Monkey’s schooling situation.

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