"You should leave schooling your child to the experts."
"There are experts who can deal with that for you."
"Read this book, it’s written by an expert."
"You should really call in an expert for him/her."
A few phrases that you will hear over the course of your home educating experience. These phrases tend to pop up when discussing the typical child as well as the special needs child but with the SN child they are more frequent and the tone is different.
We’ve all heard the "tone". That "aren’t you cute for wanting to do this but now lets get serious and send the poor deprived child to school" tone.
Well I have few words about experts and their place in your child’s education.
First and foremost. The most important thing you can know is that no one, no matter how many degrees or how much experience they have, no one is an expert in your child but you. You are nodding your head, "yes, yes, I know." Don’t dismiss the concept that easily. Think about it. You have been with this child since the beginning. Since he was a two celled teeny little life within you. You know every look, every quirk, every movement, every gesture. You know what makes him crazy and what calms him down. You know what he loves and what he dislikes. You often know this before he does. You know within a few minutes of his waking what kind of day it’s going to be and how much you are going to get done. You know his strengths and weaknesses intimately and you are passionate about his success.
You don’t get that kind of knowledge in graduate school. this is the knowledge that will determine your child’s success. Not a book, or a teacher or a therapist. You. God chose you for this child and this child for you. He imprinted on your heart everything you need to know to fulfill His will for this person. Going back to Part I of this series, pray often about your plans and maintain a constant dialog with God.
Mothers have an edge on everyone else in the world. God gave us the ability to be intuitive about our children in a way that no one else can be. Even the dads, the best dads in the world, don’t know the child the way we do. We’ve all heard the stories of the mom who wakes up in the night knowing something is wrong and comes to find one of her children in some kind of distress. A high fever, a blanket wrapped around their neck, some situation that requires immediate attention. That is God’s gift to us. An overworked guardian angel and a connection that alerts us to what is needed.
That doesn’t mean that the expertise of a specialist isn’t sometimes necessary. Speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, etc… These are specialized fields of study that may be necessary to your child’s success. You can receive these services through your school district, although many people choose not to involve the schools in their lives. Some people have health insurance that covers a lot of these services. They are fortunate.
Either way I think we can all agree that recognizing that you are the foremost expert in your child does not preclude your seeking help in some specialized fields. Make sure that the therapist is one who supports your homeschooling lifestyle. A therapist should not be undermining your life or work to your child or to anyone else. Make sure that it is a good fit personality-wise as well.. You are likely to be together for a while and it makes no sense to have to see someone on a weekly basis who annoys you. Make sure that there are things you can do to reinforce the therapists work at home. This makes the whole family and important part of the therapy and helps the child improve at a quicker rate.
Leanne Cooper says
I was given a link to your blog from my homeschooling girlfriend. I am actually a private, Catholic school teacher. Our fourth child was just diagnosed with Autism. He is 12 years old. He is part time at school and part time at home. I am looking for curriculum ideas for him.
I am also a bit perplexed with the diagnosis as I believe Aspergers is a better fit, but the specialists say he is not that good – moderate to severe autism is the phrase he used.
In any event, I am going to look to purchase the tape you recommended on teaching styles. Seems like a good place to begin.