Thursday, June 08, 2006

Farewell to Middle School

That's Bantam 15 on the left, with the one good friend he's made since entering public school. They actually used to play together as little guys at the park, but they've reconnected at lunchtimes in middle school. His friendship has been an answer to our prayers!

Bantam 15, due to high-functioning autism that his teachers treat as Asperger's Syndrome, struggles with relationships. It was a big challenge in 6th grade, in a self-contained classroom with some behavior-disordered kids that he really didn't know how to handle. Seventh grade was better, with help from the caring adults with which God surrounded him, and as an eighth grader, he's done very well with other kids, carrying himself maturely and responsibly. The adults on his "team" were all so pleased--as are his parents.

It's been hard to have him in public school, knowing that he's struggling and feeling lonely sometimes. But what a balm to my heart to know that at least he has someone to sit with at lunch time.

We keep praying about whether we should keep him in public school or consider homeschooling him again, and every year the Lord just confirms, in some small but clear way, that He's got His eye on him there. I think He has lessons for him to learn there: relationally, academically, in perserverance and in discipline. There's been a grace for him too, in that he's completely uninterested in the whole teen social scene and doesn't seem to feel much pressure in that area. (I was so delighted when he mentioned wanting a certain kind of sweatshirt because that kind seemed to be in style! Besides his hoodies, he only wears shirts that button up the front and have collars; the last time he wore a t-shirt was when he was about six.)

High school will be another big adjustment, but he seems ready for it. More ready than I do!

By contrast, here's a little story on his sister--who's clearly not ready for college, anyway!:

After "graduation" and to celebrate his last day of school, I took all the kids to the local college ice cream joint, where they serve HUGE cones for cheap. As we got out of the van and started walking across campus, Blondechick 13 asked me, "Mom, how long is college?"

"Four years," I answered.

"Psschhhhhhhhttt!" she choked.

(She thought it was something like one year, she said later.)


HolyMama! said...

yea for bantam 15!!

And you probably don't want to tell blondechick 13 that for holymama, it WAS about 1 yr!!

At A Hen's Pace said...

Well, some days, I'm wondering if she'll make it that far! :)

sparrow said...

I appreciate that you are willing to listen to the Lord for each individual child. It's not easy to go against all the voices (our own and otherwise) who think they know what is best.

And how comforting to know that God has provided a friend...

~ that blondchick is hilarious!

Julana said...

We've also gone back and forth on the homeschool/public school issue for our son, who has Down syndrome. I think you have to look at all available options, and at your child, and then make the best possible choice.
(I grew up near Plain City. :-)

maria said...

I'm so glad for B15, and that you are doing what's best for each of your brood. I'm so thankful he's found a friend and lunch-mate, and so glad that you all (and he!) are going into next year confidant. I have seen that kind of connection make such a significant difference in other AS kids' years. I am so proud of him for making it through those difficult middle school years.

YAY!! (Peter and I often recount our conversation with him about his Legos Starship Enterprise.) We miss you guys. Give your chicks hugs from me and kisses from Nyssa.

(and thanks for your comments.)