Back to School – or the post I was never planning to write

Sam just wrapped up his first week back at school (with a day off, as his teacher is out sick today). But for four days this week, he got up, got dressed and went in for ELA, math and braille.

It’s a small group classroom (or resource room, or special ed room, not sure what they’re calling it now). He’s in with a group of three or four kids, and working on grade level stuff (I think, although it seems really below what he’s capable of at this point). He was hugely anxious about it – shaking so hard the whole car was vibrating on Monday, and he was throwing up on Wednesday morning. But each morning, he got up and went, and every day when I’d pick him up, he’s relaxed and happy.

I didn’t plan on ever sending Sam back to public school. And truth be told, I don’t know that we’d be here if it weren’t for the vision loss. Maybe we would. Maybe Sam’s always wanted to go back to school when he was ready, and on his terms. But the vision loss certainly made the decision a lot easier. He’ll need to be trained in equipment and braille, things that I don’t know enough about.

Homeschooling was perfect for us, for a long time. And looking back, I wish that we had pulled him earlier. Sending him back for full days (because that’s our plan for September) scares the hell out of me. But the point is that it doesn’t scare him. He’s ready for this.

There is so much to say about this that I’m stumbling with how to express it. What I do know is that I’m ridiculously proud of this kid. I don’t know what the future holds for him, and education choices can change. If public school doesn’t work, we’ll go back to homeschooling. It went so badly last time, and I’ll always regret that the last few months before he lost his vision were spent with us trying desperately to cram him into a public school environment that was failing him so much.

It’s been three years, three years of growth, and maturity and learning and healing. He’s ready for this – and I’m never going to forget how much he’s had to overcome to get here.

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