Monday, 16 February 2009

School Daze

I don’t know why, but since Violet was born I have never envisaged that she would go to school. Not necessarily that I didn’t think she would be able to, but I think in my own mind I just never thought I would have to face that day for some weird reason.

It is such a big thing when I have spent all this time caring for her, helping her with therapies etc and to then send her off to school…I have to admit it damn well frightens me!

I know it may seem a long way off, but this year I have the daunting task of putting the paperwork in for Violet to start pre-school in 2010 and Kindergarten in 2011. This is so we can organize her early intervention and an aid for her at pre-school and school. Also for any alterations needed to facilities/equipment. So of course the long road starts organizing funding for these.

The hardest task is finding a place I am even “a little bit okay” with her going to. It’s such a huge step and I do not want to make the wrong choices!

I don’t really know much about it all or where to start, even though I have Emily who is in 3rd grade this year… just thinking about a special needs child starting school is such a different experience.

We are also considering home schooling . We do not want to hide Violet and her disabilities away from others at all but this is something we feel would be more beneficial to Violet in respects to her Education, Safety and Psychological effects.

As I have posted before in her Being Different post, she only has to come with me to pick up Emily from school and there is always a constant worry for her safety and also the stares and nasty comments she has to deal with on a daily basis. On Friday we had an older child at the school say “don’t touch her, you’ll get a disease”. I didn’t say anything, as most days I just don’t have the strength and I get so upset I just couldn’t do it without breaking down.

Of course with the decision to home school come a lot of other people’s opinions on what they think about homeschooling and how they think Violet would benefit more from going to a mainstream school instead.

You only have to spend a moment with Violet and see that she is already a happy, outgoing, friendly and social little girl. So if we do decide on taking the homeschooling avenue, we will have our thick skins ready for all the comments that will no doubt follow!


Kristen said...

My heart just breaks along with yours to think of those awful things kids can say. Why do they have to be so mean?!

Sweetest Girl in the World said...

Whatever you choose to do, Violet will only benefit from it. If it's in a public setting, the two of you will be able to educate those surrounding her on special needs and despite her differences she is an incredibly happy child. If you decide to keep her home, you both are benefited because you're in control of what she's learning.
I will pray that you find an answer. There's a lot to worry about but you probably already know what's best for Violet.
She is so beautiful!

Shannon said...

By the sounds of some of those kids could benefit from experiencing the magnificence that is Violet in their class.

Best of luck with your decision Sarah. It certainly is a tough one.

Ally said...

Good luck with your decision Sarah. Whatever you choose, I know Violet will do so very well.

She's lucky to have such a wonderful mother :)

Josephine said...

It must have been so hard not to say anything to that child who said such a horrible thing. Oh, my heart aches for these poor precious little ones who have to cope with the cruelty of children!
It's a touch decision, but one which only you can make, no matter what other people might think or say. Good luck deciding!

Big brother, Little sister. said...

Sarah, I understand entirely what a hard decision this is. In the end though it becomes all about Violet and how she copes in these situations. As her mum you would have given her the tools to be so resiilent that she will blossom in any mainstream setting. Have you thought about perhaps easing yourselves into mainstream setting? doing half and half? I am sure after a year of preschool you will have a better idea about what is best for you and your family and Violet.
thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

With experience I have found no decision is permanent. If you try the mainstream and it's not working, you can change to homeschooling. So whatever you choose just know if it works great, if not there are always other options. Good Luck!

Hamza Zakir said...

awwwww....i wanted to tell u that i homwschooled for 4 years...(high school) its not that bad....except it gets really boring!.....but if you do decide to get violet homeschooled i know she wont be bored with you around! good luck.....

n0thingbuteverything said...

hhhmmm, tough questions and I totally hear you! I hate to hear how mean kids are!!! The only positive light I'd consider though is that while kids might say nasty things, they are often just based on first impressions - like the kids who've said something nasty about BC's dribbling or his walker but who now just shrug and don't even notice these tings. What I mean is, that once they got to know Violet, they would just see VIOLET, and the beautiful girl that she is!!!
I agree with what Paula and Bron said too, you could try mixing it up and don't have to consider any decisions as PERMANENT. You're such a passionate advocate for your gorgeous girl that you will find what works best for you. xo

Samantha Trenerry said...

It is such a tough decision isn't it, I already think about school! I think watching you and the other girls going through it makes me think about it even though we are miles off!

I am sure that whatever you chose will be wonderful, and the values you guys have instilled in Violet will help her through any difficult times she faces no matter what type of schooling she has. As for opinions, the only ones that matter are yours, your husband's and the girl's opinions. Only you know what is best for Violet and your family as a whole. xox

Korin said...

Sarah, you must be so torn...your head telling you to do one thing and your heart another. Amazing how children so innocent can be so cruel. Whatever your decision we all support you and Violet 110%.

Rosetta said...

Hello, you don't know me. I was doing some searches on children with hydrocephalus and found your link on a website. I know of a family who has a baby that is less than a month old and has hydrocephalus. The doctors are trying to convince them to take her off of the ventilator to die. I was trying to find some people who have children with hydrocephalus to encourage this couple and give them advice. If you would be willing to do this, you can visit their blog at

They don't know me. I have a daughter with brain injuries so my heart really goes out to them.

Carla said...

Why are some kids so mean? I would have screamed at that kid and the parent! I'm not so good at holding my tounge:P
As for schooling, previous posters are right. Nothing has to be permanent & there are many benefits to both homeschooling & public school, if all depends on what is right for your family. I'll be praying for you & Violet!

Laura said...

I totally hear you with this struggle! Whatever you decide, just remember that nothing has to be permanent. You can adapt and adapt again. Whatever decision you make will be the right one because you've taken Violet and her needs into account. It's sad how cruel kids (and adults) can be. I agree that we need to educate them, but I have my limits too.

Maria's Uncle Andy said...

My niece, Maria, is finishing her second year of preschool. Obviously every school is different, but it has been a great experience for us.

Maria's mom was terrified of sending her off to school but had to in order to keep our government benefits. She chose public school over a private program because public school was only a half day. After a couple of months, she started wishing it *was* a full day.

Maria's teacher is great, the class aides are great, the school therapists are...ok, you can't have everything. Maria loves school, the kids love her and one little girl say Maria is her best friend. Understand that Maria can't walk, communicate, feed herself, see well, etc. Despite the fact she is so "unique", the kids don't think anything of it.

The other thing to consider is how much you help the other kids by letting them know Violet. This is how people overcome ignorance and prejudice. The younger they learn it, the more powerful the lesson.

Cathy (Maria's Mom) said...

If you do decide to send your daughter to school, don't make the mistake I did--for 18 months, I prepared myself to send Maria to the developmental preschool (public school), so it wasn't too difficult to leave her on the first day of school.

What nobody warned me about was the 2nd day and the 3rd day, etc. I hadn't thought beyond Day 1, so I wasn't prepared to continue dropping her off with "strangers" at school day after day. The 2nd day was much harder than the 1st because I wasn't prepared.

For the most part, it's been very good. Of course. They don't take as good care of her as we do (for example, her shirt is usually wet with drool); but overall, the teachers are wonderful, the kids are great, and as my brother said, a lot of it is about the lessons of tolerance your daughter will teach the other kids and their parents.

Good luck with your decision!!