Friday, September 2, 2011

Homeschool Bennies #2

We can adapt our academic style and environment to accommodate special learning needs or disabilities.

This has been HUGE for our family, and one of the primary reasons we began homeschooling.  Even though our school district has a great itinerant ToD (Teacher of the Deaf), were providing Tate with an FM system that worked with his HA's, and the teachers were kind and going out of their way to help Tate and include him in everything, still it was a struggle.

Tate would come home exhausted from the work of listening.  HA's amplify all sound, not just the sound you want to hear.  Sure, the FM helped with that, but it was still a lot of work for Tate.  When you have a classroom full of 25 - 30 (or more, with state budgets being cut) squirmy, wiggly, noisy little bodies it's just a lot of noise to filter out all the time.  Then, of course, there were the occasional times the teachers would forget to transfer the FM, or forget to turn it off.  Like the time Tate's teacher dropped him and his class at the library, but the FM went on with her to the bathroom and the teacher's lounge, sending everything directly into his little 6-year-old ears.  Sweet.

But honestly, he was coming home every day absolutely spent.  At that time he was in grade 2.  In our area, the K-2 kids went from 9am to 2:30pm, while the 3-5th graders' day ended at 3:30.  When I thought of him having to stay for another hour I just couldn't bear it.

True, we may not have all the resources at our finger-tips that the taxpayer-funded government schools have, but guess what?  We can access any of that we want.

After beginning homeschooling FT, we had two years of once-a-week time with the ToD, to work with Tate on listening skills and for family ASL classes. (We could have continued, but we chose to stop.) Also, Gunnar received a year of speech therapy, and "graduated".  We pay the same taxes everyone else does, so we are entitled to the same services.


Anonymous said...

I can only imagine!

When I was studying ASL, Deaf Culture, Interpreting, etc, at one point we were assigned a paper comparing and contrasting the various modes of education for the Deaf. "Various modes" included gov. school, day schools (both oral and sign based), and boarding school (both oral and sign based). We were supposed to include arguments for what we considered the best mode of education.

Mine was the only one that covered home education, and mine was the only one for which the teacher asked for a copy for personal use - a request I freely granted!

leah said...

That is a HUGE benefit. The lack of extra noise, the individualized, tailored instruction, and the ability to get the work done without completely exhausting a child struggling to listen are all great things.

Nolan's FM system helps a lot, but we still get comments (even from family) that since the hearing aids "fix" the hearing loss, there is little for him to contend with. They really have no idea that he has to work to listen to each and every word uttered. Sure, he does a good job at it, but it is a lot of WORK. He is tired at the end of Pre-K... I guess we'll see how all-day kindergarten goes.