Texas Home Educators 

How the School System Failed My Son   

I have been reading all the emails about the reports on CBS, but haven't responded to anything yet. Ann's post prompted me to post why I have withdrawn my son from the high school. I am very comfortable posting it here, because I have used the support of this group and the resources of Ann's site.

My son is 15 and has two health conditions that are rare. He has Pierre Robin Sequence (www. pierrerobin. org is my not for profit group's website and www. sticklers. org is the group I belong to related to his Stickler Syndrome). He was homebound and was taught approximately six hours per week for the past three years. He was really going to try to go to the high school this school year. He also has social anxiety issues, mild to moderate. He tried to go to school and didn't fight me, but he couldn't do it. It broke my heart to see him so anxious and upset.

We had a meeting the second day of school with his counselor and his case manager. His case manager was emphatic that he couldn't do homebound this year. She said he had classes that only could be taught at the school. I did realize this was against FAPE, but I let her say it and was shocked to say the least. After that meeting, I started investigating homeschool options. My biggest concern was me working full time, I am a single mother. David never stays home alone for the entire day, he has always stayed with my parents during the day. We also have a growing side business that keeps both David and I busy. I joined some email groups and did lots of reading.

I ended up enrolling him in an independent study program, so he would have some structure. He is mild ADHD, also. He works as much as he can during the day. Some days, he can't do anything because his sight is comprised or he just doesn't feel good. He isn't lazy, but he can never sleep more than
3 hours or his joints start to ache. It has now become a habit for him, so he has a very unusual schedule.

After I withdrew him, I was getting phone calls every 30 minutes from the school. Only then did they offer any alternatives. They told me homebound was an option, but 6 hours a week? They are so far out of compliance, he has had an OT evaluation ordered for almost four years, it was never completed. They were behind on his IEPs and I could go on and on. They haven't even started on a transition plan for him and his testing was behind. They used the excuse that he was homebound, but that isn't a reason. He was available every day of the week for testing and evaulations.

I have seen a complete turn around in my son. He is no longer angry, he no longer walks around with his head hanging down, he is very cooperative and pleasant. I had no idea that attending a structured school was causing him so much pain. The school system failed my son miserably and I am thankful for the Internet and the information available on it. I would have never known what to do or where to go for help.

I was one of those parents who didn't understand why people homeschooled their children. I didn't disagree with it, just didn't understand it. I kept thinking the kids might be missing out. I was wrong. I teach 1st grade Sunday School and have several students who are homeschooled. Those kids are more accepting of others and more intuitive than the other kids. I am amazed at the levels of their abilities, as well.

There might be families who homeschool to avoid being exposed to the public and having their ways of life exposed. But, there are so many more who do it because of other reasons. I have absolutely no regrets about taking my son out of the public school system. I am encouraging other parents who have children with similar issues to do the same. It is our job as parents to make sure our children are taken care of and their needs are met.

Okay, off my soapbox now, but I felt I needed to respond. I am also the daughter of a retired high school teacher, who supports my decision 100%.


used with permission (c) 2004 Texas Home Educators