Friday, September 16, 2011


Home schooling (really we're doing supervised independent study if you want to get technical) is going well.

I like a few things about it. Number one, T gets to sleep more, and so do we. Teens need their sleep! If T can sleep til 9 and have an afternoon nap, he's a lot mellower. He benefits from a lot of "down time."

Also, schooling him from home is like having a lot of homework, in a good way. The homework is directly linked to his credits - it's not seen as "extra" on top of other expectations, like showing up and behaving in class. The learning is the thing. He has a nice retired teacher who meets with him once a week, reviews his assignments, and gives him new assignments. There are fewer distractions and clearer expectations.

Which brings me to my next point: homeschooling strikes me as a healing opportunity, because it gets him a lot more one-on-one time with adults. His teacher sits with him for an hour at a time and focuses only on him. We sit with him for part of the day and help him with his work. He likes to sit very close to us, and he organizes our schedule, letting us know who is helping with what each day. It's a chance for a lot of proximity, and eye contact, and engagement, and yet another way to show him that he's important.

Neglect is a bigger factor in his background than I realized, and only as we've settled in to a deep long-term attachment have I been able to see that. He has many of the hallmarks of a neglected kid to this day, which is especially evident to me now because his more distracting, dramatic trauma-related behavior has settled down. He behaves like a parent sometimes, he has trouble in school, he has bursts of temper that he can't control, and he's extremely controlling about his food. Anything that surrounds him with love and attention helps him relax and grow. In that context, it makes sense that sitting close to us and getting daily attention from us and from his teacher are beneficial. In place of traditional school, with its emphasis on discipline, it feels like we've arrived, for the moment, at a situation where his needs rather than his behavior are the focus.

Sometimes he's bored and lonely for his peers - he's taking a class at the local junior college one night a week, as much for the social stimulation as for the credits. But I'll take a little boredom over the chaos of trying to navigate him through the school system anyday. Plus, I think having him out of school forces him to try harder to make actual plans with his friends, rather than just hooking up after school. For a kid struggling with impulse control, that's a good thing.


Jen said...

Oh, it sounds wonderful. I'm so glad it's going well, and feels like you're able to address his needs more fully.

Erika said...

Our healing started with homeschooling. Though a lot changed at once. New therapist, homeschooling. We started with a 2 hour a day tutor. The next year, she requested homeschooling but with me as the teacher. We're into our 3rd year and still loving it. Part of what makes it work is - she doesn't have to worry about the chaotic and sometimes mean stuff that goes down in school. The other part is feeling the love and nurturance and closeness of a parent.

Karen said...

Homeschooling is indeed wonderful, and I am glad that T. is benefitting from it! My mother homeschooled me and all of my five younger siblings, and it was always wonderful. It must be great for attachment purposes!

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