I’m sure there are people in my real life and “out there” that question our homeschooling decision. I mean, taking a child out of school mid-year might seem extreme, I get it. Actually, it was extreme…extremely needed.
How are you helping him by avoiding school?
How will he socialize with others?
How can he develop strategies when he is sheltered?
Honestly, I have asked myself all of these same questions at some point in our journey.
After seeking guidance from a well-respected therapist and other parents going through similar situations, we’ve come up with what we consider a good approach.
Attempt to create days where my TBP experiences mostly strengths and interests, but has some “have to” or “must try” learning opportunities.
Academic work that is not interest driven, chores, or pushing himself either socially or sensory-wise, all count toward the “have to” time.
Today, it was a definite “push him real good” moment.
In the past, we have had mixed levels of success with summer camps. Too loud. Too crowded. Too overwhelming. Too expensive.
Because of this, we were very reluctant to sign him up for any camps this summer, but there was one nearby that was not too long, not too crowded and covered two of my TBP’s favorite things…
Minecraft and Legos.
Yes, one week of Minecraft Lego camp seemed like it could be a perfect fit.
We signed up and sent in the money.
We put the class on the calendar and started casually mentioning it more and more the closer we got to the start date.
Last night we reminded myTBP and he was fine with the news. This morning, I was met with a cheery boy, fully aware of the camp plans.
When it was time to get our shoes, my boy became quiet. This quietness grew as we walked through the parking lot to the front doors of the community center.
Once inside, he was immediately turned off by the sound of twenty children ferociously digging through large plastic bins of Legos.
It wasn’t long before participants were loudly talking, trying to share their Minecraft knowledge and one up each other with their “master crafter” abilities.
Now I like Legos as much as the next person but the sound of the digging, laughing and bragging was almost too much for even me.
I looked at my son and his face was white.
He stood near me, pulling at his name tag with one hand while he poked me in the arm with his other.
I looked at him and asked him to stop. I knew we weren’t staying. This was going to be the shortest camp experience of any from the past.
He repeatedly told me that we needed to leave; I managed to get him to sit and watch. I negotiated with him to stay past the free play and to just listen to the teachers explain the day.
Reluctantly, he agreed.
He sat on the stage, leaning against me, while the others sprawled out around the room.
The over-excited students needed many reminders to listen and that made the directions drag on a bit too long, but mine listened.
I wasn’t sure that he would get up to gather the supplies, with a bit of encouragement, he did.
When he had a question about the directions, he wanted me to ask the instructor; I told him that he needed to go because I might not understand Minecraft enough to follow his instructions.
He got up, walked across the room, and tapped the instructor on the shoulder to get clarification.
When the instructor went around the room, testing to see if a zombie could enter the built shelters, mine moved his masterpiece from the stage where he worked to the floor and grinned when his Steve character was safe.
” I kind of like this…it is a little fun.”
I wanted to leap right into “I told you” mode, but instead I just said, “I’m glad.”
After an hour and a half, he was done. He walked over to the teacher and asked if he could return tomorrow if he left early.
Thankfully, the teacher said that he could and added that they would be happy to have him.
I’m ashamed to say that in years past, I would have handled today very differently. I would have been more concerned about what the strangers thought.
I would have felt embarrassed.
I would have felt judged.
Today, I felt so proud of my boy who managed to work through his fear and anxiety and really stretched himself.
PS. I know that I am dating myself by using this title; however, when I thought about an appropriate title for today’s post, nothing else seemed as good as this 1987 hit!