Today, Tom and I took a trip to Boxboro MA, to a homeschool conference. It was an unusual type of event, run by the Family Resource Center - an organization that creates homeschooling programs with museums and other non-profits. There were all kinds of exhibitors, and all kinds of programs - and we had a great time last year. This year was more so-so, but that was partly because we had so little time (had to rush home for Sara's 4:00 bus).
Interestingly, to me, many of the exhibitors were very focused on selling us on "what boys like," on skill building, and so forth. I found myself, more than usual, aware that my child was NOT like most boys... that he ISn't a skilled engineer-in-training, or "loaded with energy," or any of the usual stereotypes. In fact, he spent a fair amount of time in the exhibit hall engaging with soft animal pelts... blech.
Not to complain, because he really did do a great job, and enjoyed the one program we did attend (weaving). But I did find myself continually looking at "cool" programs (US Constitution for Kids, Exchange City, Invention Camp, Challenger Space Programs) and saying to myself "too abstract... too group-oriented... too focused on fine motor... too this that or the other."
It feels strange, because honestly I've felt - at home - that Tom's doing a great job, developing all kinds of skills, and really progressing. Yet out there in the "real" world, where typical kids are more common than those with autism, it's still a pretty rocky road.
On the up side, I got lots of ideas - not only for homeschooling, but also for marketing my new unit studies materials!