• Gina

The Other Side of Back to School

August has arrived and with that the school buses will fire back up and many kids will return to school. We are going to continue homeschooling our children this year, so our back to school will look much different this year than it has in years past. For this I am grateful.

For many parents a new school year signals a time for celebration. After late nights and busy days, most families are ready to resume a more regular schedule. They'll exchange high-fives with their friends and breathe a sigh of relief. If you're like one of my faves, Jen Hatmaker, you'll head out with your girlfriends and celebrate big. Another summer in the books. It is time to return to the days where the children are cared for and occupied five days a week, several hours a day.

While many are thrilled to have the school year resume, there is another group who will be agonizing over this transition. Each day will be filled with more anxiety, trepidation, and stress. Who belongs in this group? Parents of children with exceptional needs.

For several years, this time of the year caused the receptors in my brain to work overtime. Initially, it was worrying about the safety of our older son with life threatening food allergies while he was at school. Eventually this, while still a great concern each year, was overshadowed by the all-encompassing stress and anxiety we would experience wondering how our younger son would do with his new teacher and classroom.

It was agonizing. While I always wanted to believe it would be the year where the teachers and staff would be able to devise and follow a plan to help him successfully be in school all day, my momtuition told me otherwise. It never took long for the emails and phone calls to come letting us know just how uncooperative, defiant, and misbehaved our son was.

It was demoralizing for him and for us.

Each day we would send him off to a place where we so badly wanted him to fit in and be accepted for who he was, only to come to the realization it was just not meant to be. The incredible amount of stress and anxiety it caused all of us really took a toll on our emotional, physical, and mental health.

I know without a doubt we are not the only parents who have experienced this.

This post is for all of you preparing to send your children back to school, but for those of you who are able to send your children to school without worry (outside of the typical growing pains that accompany childhood) I truly hope you realize how blessed you are. It wasn't until we ran into these massive hurdles that I truly appreciated the ease with which my daughter could transition to school in the early years. The years before her learning challenges caught up to her that is.