My [Short] Story
As a parent, I have been homeschooling since my son’s birth. In my 11 years of raising him, I have been his feeding teacher, his holding-the-bottle-on-his-own teacher, his learning-to-sit-up teacher, his music teacher, his learning-to-balance-in-standing teacher, his language and communication teacher, his playtime teacher, his signing teacher, his practicing-to-walk teacher. I have been his spiritual teacher, deal-with-the-scary-sounds teacher, and his make-it-through-a-meltdown teacher. Now, I am also officially his “school” teacher.
My [Long] Story
Like a deer in headlights, I looked to each professional we encountered in his first months for answers and hope. The answers were usually vague, and there was hardly ever a glimmer of hope. I’ve learned over the years that it wasn’t because my son didn’t have hope. It was because the professionals lacked the connection with and the love for this being who was not placed in their lives to care for, but mine.
When we discussed medical issues, they were always presented with a huge question mark in the tone of their voices. The truth was, professionals didn’t know more than I did about my child.
When my son turned one, I felt that first year had whipped by me like a whirlwind. I had been so caught up in appointments and research and worrying (oh, you will learn about all that worrying if you stick around here long enough), that I did not enjoy that first year of his life as most parents do. I felt robbed of my parenting right because the system took over our lives.
I vowed on his first birthday that I would put a stop to the craziness that had overtaken our lives, put an end to the outside influences and reports, and just spend the days ahead caring for my son, and seeing him for the person he is.
This change in perspective was life-changing.
I decided I wanted to stay home with him and spend my days with him as stress-free and as “normally” as possible. Although I did work part-time for a three year period, my heart was torn. I felt the pull to be with my son, in our home. Now that he was showing progress interacting with us, and indeed displaying understanding, I knew that I wanted to be an integral part of his life – not just a frazzled mother taking him from one appointment to another. We decided to homeschool.
Here is a short-list of the reasons we decided, as a family, that homeschooling would be the best decision for us:
- We don’t trust just anybody with our son’s medical issues.
- He has irregular sleep patterns that inadvertently affect mine/ours.
- As much as possible, we want a free schedule.
- We also want the freedom to take him where we want for additional learning experiences.
- As his teacher, I am easily able to tap into his learning style.
- One-to-one, hands-on experiences.
- Nobody knows him better than I do – there is no wasted time with paperwork and no need for transitory meetings for outsiders to get to know him before “getting to work” each year.
- I allow him to learn at his own pace.
- We have a bond, and since he trusts me, I can push him a little farther and help him reach new goals in a loving environment.
- We want him to learn life and personal skills in the place where he will be using the skills.
- A calm parent makes for a calmer child, thereby reducing the frequency of his meltdowns.
Gabriella Volpe, B.Ed.
Educational Consultant for homeschooling families with a focus on special needs; Certified Teacher; mom of a homeschooler with global developmental delays
- significant work experience with children with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHD, Dysgraphia, learning disabilities, developmental delays, speech and language difficulties
- IEP preparation
- modification of the curriculum to meet individual needs
- adapting to diverse learning styles
- differentiated instruction
- knowledge of multiple intelligences
- Homeschool Teacher/Educational Consultant, Montreal & Globally, 2013 – Present
- Elementary School Teacher in public sector (K-6), Montreal, 1997-2013
- Student Teaching Practicum, Elementary School, Montreal, 1997
- Student Teaching Practicum, 1995
- Private Tutor, elementary and secondary, 1995-1997
- B.Ed., Elementary, McGill University, Montreal, 1994-1997
- DEC, Business Administration, Dawson College, Montreal, 1991-1994
Specialized Training & Professional Development Initiatives
- Start Where They Are: Differentiating for Success with All Learners, Karen Hume, 2011
- Engaging All Our Students, 2011
- Talk to Communicate and to Learn, 2007
- Organizing for Quality of Evidence of Learning, McGill Centre for Educational Leadership, 2006
- First Steps® Tutor Certification, Pearson Professional Learning, 2003
- Practical Strategies for Differentiated Learning, McGill Centre for Educational Leadership, 2003
- Inquiry-Based Learning, WESNRÉCIT Workshop Series QEP/ICT, 2003
- Brain Compatible Learning to Differentiate Instruction for Student Success, 2002
- Discipline with Dignity in the Classroom, McGill Centre for Educational Leadership, 2002
- Technology and Information Communication for Education, CSLP, 2001
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teachers, McGill Centre for Educational Leadership, 2001