We were homeschoolers when my boys were in their very early years. We enjoyed it, but they asked to go to public school. For the past 2 years my youngest son has gone to a K-8 school, he is in middle school. There are only about 60 students in the middle school. He has had friends, and done fairly well. He has Aspergers, and has had communication services for years now. Over the past few months the stress and anxiety has just become too great for him. He was getting good grades and getting along with the other students, but it was at a huge emotional cost. Overload, I think the term is. We tried several different adaptations to make things easier for him, but it wasn't enough. At some point last week I realized that this is silly, I am home anyway, there is no need for him to be going through this. We started last week, and are still doing a bit of organizing of our resources. I think we will find our location is a wonderful place to homeschool, there is a large population here that does and we are fortunate to have access to a ton of different social and learning opportunities. In many ways he is an ideal candidate, he is self motivated, can focus well and follow a project to completion, and is a pleasure to have around. During his trying breakdown time, I have had a bit of an epiphany. One of the focuses of the school system has seemed to be integration into the mainstream school setting at all costs, and the push to "normalize" children who do not fit that mold. The speech therapy seems to at times be out of touch with understanding how children on the spectrum think. There may be an academic understanding, but that is very different than really "getting" the wiring differences. In the fifties, children on the spectrum were thought to suffer from "frigid mother syndrome" - the idea was that their mothers were cold to them, not interacting with them and that is what caused the social/communication issues. Many times they were taken away from their mothers. For as much progress as has been made since then, but much of the focus on treatment still seems to be to "direct teach" children how to be "normal". Guess what? The wiring is different, and it always will be. There are huge peaks and valleys. Can people on the spectrum learn to live in the "normal" world, marry, hold jobs and get an education - many times, absolutely. And there are many tools to help them do just that. But the push to mainstream every child can lead to serious self esteem, anxiety and depression issues that last a lifetime, and that will be much harder to overcome. These issues seem to really hit in middle school and high school, when the social structure becomes subtler and the organizational demands are much higher. Edited to add that this is really no reflection of the school or his teachers. They are lovely, wonderful teachers who work very hard on this exceptional program. It's really institutional learning in general that is the main problem for him at this point. My other son is thriving in High School. Different kids, different needs. He is already happier then I have seen him in months (if not years), I love seeing him smile again.