Starting tomorrow, our school district will begin graded distance learning. They have been providing enrichment learning for the past month, and now it’s time to make it count. As the parent of a kid who is in a special education setting the majority of the time, I’m not sure exactly what that’s going to look like in our house, but dang it, I’m willing to try.
My son thrives on routine, and this whole not-going-to-school thing has got him down. (Hell, it’s got me down too because as a sub, I’m not going to schools either.) For a person with autism, he is highly social and loves to interact with his teachers and peers. He’s fortunate to go to a high school where the majority of the kids are accepting and welcoming, so missing out on all that socializing has been hard for him.
All of his teachers have been in touch with us, and expectations have been set. We are aiming for 3 hours per day of learning with assignments posted on Mondays and teachers’ office hours available if we need to chat with them. Fortunately, we were able to pick up his district-provided laptop a few weeks ago, and we have reliable internet in our home. The trick will be getting him to participate with me in getting his assignments done.
I’m not a special education teacher. I understand IEPs and accommodations and know how to implement them in a general education setting, but I wonder about getting my own special needs kid to do his work. I have trepidation. I have worry. I have great respect for the people at his school who work so hard with him every single day and do such a good job that he loves being there.
Our home office can’t replace that.
Like everyone else around the globe, we will do our best and muddle through. We might even thrive. Who knows? We still have two full months of school left. I can tell you that, even as teacher myself, I’m worried about educating my child at home. We are truly all in this together.
So today, while he’s still at his dad’s, I will be cleaning and organizing the home office. I’ll be arranging his art supplies for one elective and planning workouts for the other. I’ll be preparing an actual schedule for the week that also includes his 10 weekly hours of outside school therapies. I’ll be hoping that we can make this work.
And I’ll be giving us both a ton of grace along the way.