With the beginning of a school year upon me, and my first ever as a home-schooling mom, I find myself wondering what the heck I was thinking when I said I would home-school our deaf kindergartener. And yet, here I am, taking on the responsibility of teaching my child myself.
I myself am from a home-schooling background – I spent 2 weeks (or so) in the public school kindergarten before my mom pulled me out of school and began home-schooling. Because of this, the intimidation factor that I think many first time home-educators feel (“can I really teach my child myself?!”) isn’t there in the same sense. For me, the intimidation comes from the need to study ASL intensely so that I can teach her. It’s knowing that because she’s deaf, she is going to have different learning needs than my other two girls – and the pressure to learn how to adapt to her. I’m intimidated that I am, to my knowledge, the first family in our state to try to home-school a deaf child.
So one might wonder then, if I am so intimidated by all of this, why on earth am I doing this? When I was told by our school system that they could have her reading – upon graduation from high school – at a 3RD GRADE READING LEVEL, I was stunned. Especially as they were presenting this to me as though it were some sort of accomplishment. I know that this is not just here in our schools, but it is a nationwide average – but I am astonished that they don’t see this as a major problem and something that needs to be fixed. They don’t seem to see just how much we are failing these children if that is the best we are doing for them.
I can’t speak to other parents of deaf kids, but in our case at least, there is nothing cognitively wrong with my daughter. She is absolutely capable of learning – and in fact LOVES to learn. Why are we not expecting more? It saddens me, and it also drives me to say that I can do better for her than that.