Another school year has come and gone.
Come August, Sarah Kate will move up to the sixth grade, and Nathan will be in Pre-K. We’ve registered him for three days a week again at the same private preschool he’s attended the past two years, and of course, he’s also still eligible for the developmental preschool class at the public school. They also have an inclusion Pre-K class with a mixture of both typical and non-typical children; we won’t know until the beginning of the school year whether he qualifies.
I’ll be honest: I really want him to qualify for the inclusion class. If he does, it’ll feel like a “sign” that he can be successful in a mainstream school setting. If he’s passed over, it’ll be a blow, because I’ll feel like maybe he’s not as smart as people say he is – or if he is, that people don’t expect enough of him.
It’s easy to treat him artificially young.
He doesn’t speak well, he’s tiny, and he has a little round baby face, all of which make him seem younger than his four years. But he is four, he knows all his letters (upper and lower case), knows his colors, can count to twenty, and has mastered the art of “playing dumb” when he wants to ignore what you’re telling him. He may not can say a lot of words, but he sure does understand them.
But treating him like a toddler doesn’t do him any favors.
I’ve always worried that people won’t expect enough of him – and that includes me. I worry that I let him get by with too much because he’s “so sweet” and “so cute” (Sarah Kate got a pass on forgetting her homework for months a couple of years ago because she was “so sweet”), and if Mom does it, how much harder will it be for a teacher to stand firm?
These concerns – that there will be resistance to mainstreaming him and that people won’t expect enough of him – have me thinking about something that I never would have expected. When Mr. Andi and my family (and probably most of my friends) read what I’m about to say, they’ll be shocked as hell.
I’m considering homeschooling Nathan.
The thought of it makes me incredibly anxious. I’ve always joked that I don’t like kids enough to homeschool. Of course I don’t hate kids, but the thought of spending my days teaching them isn’t my idea of a good time – and teaching a little boy with ants in his pants and a speech delay all by myself sounds, in the abstract, like torture.
But returning from the abstract to a real-life example, I know that when Sarah Kate started kindergarten six years ago, I learned right quick I wasn’t going to be the homework parent, because I didn’t have the patience for it. If I can’t manage to supervise the nightly homework of my brilliant straight-A student, how could I consider providing all of the schooling for my son with Down syndrome?
This idea is just a tiny little spark right now, and I have a year to think about it (and, of course, I can reevaluate the decision every year). But think about it I will, and that in itself is a shock.