Education Is For Everyone!

My years spent in education taught me a very important lesson: when the out-of-the-box child goes to school, hold on! I met some amazing kids, and learned that there are some special considerations that need to be addressed.

Your child will spend years in the school system, and how he or she does academically and socially will have a huge impact on who they become as adults.

It is important that their educational experience be as “normal” as possible.

For the Parents

Now, mother or father, that does not give us the permission to be helicopter parents; constantly hovering and trying to fix every problem.

After all, an important part of school is learning how to struggle and solve problems.

When you are a parent advocate for your child in the school system, you are responsible for building relationships with other adults, and setting in place structures which will provide the least restrictive environment for your child.

It should be the primary goal of the teachers and parents to teach the student to function independently at school, and to wean him or her off of adult imposed interventions as soon as possible. There are many scaffolding techniques that can be used to fill in those gaps.

Please note that I am discussing individual potential which may vary tremendously depending on individual ability.

Think about it. As an adult, there won’t be a mommy or daddy to talk to your boss about structuring a special work schedule. There won’t be someone there to make sure your adult child gets his or her deadlines accomplished.

We want them to be as independent as possible. We all know that for different kids that means different things.

Which Type of School?

Public or Private? Is there another choice?

You do have a choice when it comes to school, and they each have their pro’s and cons. You have:

1. Public School (the school designated by your address)

2. Private School 3. Charter School

4. Home School

You should never feel bound to a school because of your address. If you are lucky enough to live in a great school district, congradulations! Take advantage of those tax-dollars.

If your school district is a poor performer, then consider alternatives for your child.

What About Special Education?

Special Education may be a consideration under two conditions. The first is cut and dry: if your child has a specific diagnosis, and has needs that need to be addressed.

Of course, for the out-of-the-box child, it’s usually not that easy. You may have a child that has problems, but doesn’t have a clear diagnosis. In our case, when I asked our psychiatrist what her diagnosis was, he gave me FIVE possibilities! That can be a challenge!

So, here’s what you need to ponder: does your child’s behavior issues get into the way of his or her education? If it truly does, then you may qualify for special education services (read more about it on the navigation bar).

Life in the Classroom

The classroom is a miniature universe. Your child will have great days, great teachers, and learn a ton of things. They will also have horrible days, horrible teachers, and feel like the year is a waste.

The neat thing is, it's the same as real life. There are times you thrive, and there are times when you survive. You need to learn to do both.

There are many tips you can utilitze to help your child start the year off right, manage setbacks, and be a successful student.

Homework!!

Homework should be a natural extension of the classroom, and serves a purpose (and no, it's not to torture you!). It teaches children responsibility, accountability, and personal pride...

all qualities needed to be a successful adult!

It can be a nightmare if too much is given, or you don’t have an organization system in place for managing the flow of paper into and out of your home.

The trick is to learn how an organizational system that works FOR YOU. When it works for you, it will work for them. Create your own homework survival guide.

Signs of Trouble

Most of the time, your child will have a great teacher and be adjusted to life in the classroom. However, there are times when things might be headed in a different direction. Be willing and open to work on problems as soon as they arise.

In our home, I did two things when this happened:

1. I made this setback into an opportunity to learn how to deal with difficult people. This was my mantra: "Today I am going to get to practice dealing with a difficult person. I am so lucky!"

2. I decided to verbalize one good thing about that person every time I felt frustrated.

It was still hard, but changing my mindset made getting through the year a lot easier.

Wrapping Up

There are two sides to your role in the educational process of your child.

First, they need you to advocate for them because they are too little to do it for themselves.

And yet, they need you to give them sufficient room to function independently so that they can learn all of those valuable skills that will make them successful, wonderful, and independent adults.

You can help set up the structures to give them a shot at success, but it is up to them to make it happen.