I guess it’s a normal part of motherhood, the second guessing, the awareness of my unawareness, the perfect perception that exists in hindsight.
But ok, before we discuss education, I have to acknowledge that I’m coming to the table much later than some others parents do. At a meeting last night about IEPs, there was a mother there whose child is 2yo. And Kepler is 11, which means she is 9 years ahead of me in addressing this.
You know, if I’d been able to do this when he was 2, I would have. And even though I know that, it still stings to be coming to this so late.
So, about education. Kepler (and all children with disabilities) is legally entitled to FAPE, which stands for Free Appropriate Public Education. Such a small acronym but it contains a bushel full of concepts and information, none of which I will elaborate on here.
The trickiest part of his education for me is that I am an educator who taught some of our kids anywhere from K to 12th grade. A real do-it-yourself-er. So I didn’t really learn how to navigate the public school system; what the expectations are from year to year, what changes happen as the student moves to the next building, what kind of responsibilities are placed on the student in each successive grade, how to handle the disparities that come up between the school setting and the individual child’s learning style or personality or anything having to do with the social experience of school.
Throw into the mix developmental delays and it’s quite a tangled web to find my way through.
The trick then is to discover the balance between me using my good ideas and homeschooling experience, and working within the system and availing myself of their experience and resources. This may be the first time I’m being faced with working collaboratively with a team.
My typical grade on “works well with others” is “N” for “needs improvement.” I might look unprepared! I may be judged by others! I might ask a dumb question! But what if it really is possible to give and receive in this process, imperfectly, knowing I will make mistakes along the way, but trusting myself and trusting the process. I feel a slight stirring of hope, of energy around the current process.
I can wish all I want that I already knew it all, but that sure seems like wasted energy. Instead, let me take the next baby step in learning and keep on learning how to advocate for this boy and his future.