"Why don't you homeschool Nathaniel?" The question was the first thing my mom asked when I answered the phone early Tuesday morning. It was asked last Saturday by a college friend, who has close to thirty years experience in public school special education, after she read my blog post about a Christian school's denial to consider enrolling my son. It is a question Rich and I have repeatedly asked ourselves, and it is a logical one given that homeschooling has been our educational choice for our other children. Answering the question and making any educational decision on Nathaniel's behalf forces us to reflect on his journey.
When placed in our home through foster care, Nathaniel was enrolled in early intervention services offered through our state Department of Education. We have homeschooled for twenty-five years. Our experience with public education was limited to our older two sons who attended while living at their mother's home. Despite the unfamiliarity, we continued the services. The intervention model identified the child’s greatest need and offered one therapist to address concerns. Nathaniel was assigned an occupational therapist. We loved her. However, together we quickly realized that Nathaniel had more needs than she could meet in an hour a week. Speech and physical therapy were added. Nathaniel’s experience with early intervention speech therapy has been documented here. Not soon after we began sessions, we stopped them. We sought private speech therapy to tackle what we knew would be long-term communication needs.