Yesterday while we were at Jason's OT, I over heard another mom talking with an intern about her son starting kindergarten next year. They were talking about how she would need to work to get the school to make some accomodations for her son…he has high functioning autism. I did not say anything, but I was trying to figure out if there was a way that I could tactfully butt in and mention homeschooling….just throw it out there as a suggestion at least. But there was not, so I kept my mouth shut.

Interestingly enough, I heard the intern having another conversation with another parent and they mentioned homeschooling. So when the intern came back over my way, I asked her about it. Turns out that she had homeschooled for high school. While we were talking, the first mom happened to overhear us talking and joined in. Turns out that she was open to the idea of homeschooling and started asking me a lot of questions. The biggest thing she was curious about was support and having other kids for her son to play with. I was able to explain about all the homeschooling opportunities that we had around here and explain a bit about the law. I gave her the VaHomeschoolers website and the VaEclecticHS email list information and my phone number and told her she could call me if she had any more questions.

Then today we went to a fun nature center presentation with the Arlington Homeschool Families group. Afterwards we stayed in the park and had a picnic and the kids ran around and played frisbee. While we were sitting there, a guy came up and explained that he was making a documentary for the park showing all the different things that people can do while there. He was hoping to be able to film the kids and us to use. After he finished, he asked if he could ask us some questions about homeschooling. Turns out he is not even married yet, but he has always been interested in homeschooling. We all had a really nice conversation about it and he seemed to really understand it and be interested.

I have to admit that I have no desire to "convert" everyone to homeschooling. But I do want people to be aware that it is an option. So if school is not working for their child and they are fighting the school to get what their child needs, they at least have heard about homeschooling and realize that it is doable. I think that too often people think that if it is so hard just to get their kids to do homework and study for school, then actually doing the whole school thing has got to be even harder! But in reality it is like comparing apples and oranges. Once you get your child home, you have so much more control over what you do…if they are struggling with something you can slow down and help them or even put it aside for later. You do not need to make sure they "keep up", you do not need to get them to change because of how the school teaches. You can change how you teach because of how your child learns. And that in itself is huge.

So I am happy to talk to folks about homeschooling and whether or not they decide to do it really is not the point. The fact that they know a little bit more about it expands their options. Which means that they realize that going to school is a choice. And when you have choice you have freedom to do what works for your family. Which is what life is all about.

~Steph

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