It's been four days since we pulled Jack out of school. Right now we're in the decompression stage. We're realizing how much stress he's been under in his school environment. Nothing against the school. It's a very good school, and we always felt lucky to be a part of that community. We made some really good friends there and had some fun times together. But we've realized that because of his disability, a lot of Jack's energy has been spent just coping with the environment of school. For a child with ADHD and sensory issues in addition to his autism, it's really hard to hold yourself together in such a structured environment for seven hours a day. For him, it was just too much pressure.
When I was in school, even though I was a good student, it wasn't my favorite place to be. But I tolerated it for the privilege of spending all day in the company of my peers. I was always ready for vacation, but at the end of a long break I would always look forward to seeing my friends again. Jack is a very different kid. Even at the end of summer vacation, after having had nearly three months off, he never wanted to go back to school.
"Don't you want to see your friends?" I'd ask.
"No. I can see my friends without going to school. School is like being in prison. I hate school."
I don't think we realized how really bad it was for him. Every morning getting him ready for school was so stressful for all of us. He'd tell me how much he hated going to school and how awful it was. I don't blame his teacher or the school. I'm sure there are lots of kids there who are perfectly happy. Just not mine.
Now that we've finally made the decision to keep him home, I don't know why we didn't do this a long time ago. He's so much calmer now. He's not stressed. I'm not stressed by having to fight with him about going to school. We don't have to stress about homework. Learning can be an adventure again and not a chore.
His teacher invited him to come back to school to enjoy one last recess with his friends and to say goodbye. He doesn't want to go, which makes me sad. Just the idea of going back to school--even for a visit--is anathema for him. No class reunions in Jack's future. What's done is done. There's no looking back.
We're looking forward, though, to adventures in homeschooling. There's a whole new world in front of us.