Monday, November 28, 2011

A new adventure awaits us

Goodness, a lot has been happening. I'm the kind of person that appears to make rash decisions suddenly, but truthfully, I am not a spontaneous person. I am a thinker, a researcher, an information collector, who then sits on that info for however long I need to and then, at some point, I put that info into action. It could be hours, days or even years later. Our recent adventure is that kind of decision.

For about a year, I have been toying with the idea of putting one, two or all the kids in school. There's been various reasons over the year for that decision, but most of them always ended up in the column of "Mom is being selfish and is tired and wants an excuse to quit homeschooling." However, this past couple months, the reason has been more valid and so, armed with that justification, I dove headfirst into researching our options and plotting the different scenarios and outcomes. Then I sat on the info and kept it in my just in case space.

Well, just in case showed up about 3 weeks ago, at Ben's counselor appointment. He and I have begun sharing the hour separately, because it was becoming obvious that I can do him more good if I work some things out too. The counselor was very concerned with the load I am carrying in my "wheelbarrow". Her suggestion was to start parceling out that load, and that perhaps starting with the school aspect was a good place. I left the office, convinced that I did indeed need to put all three kids into school somewhere. However, after much more thinking and researching and praying and talking, we decided that perhaps I would start with just ONE child in school. The obvious choice was Soph.

Why obvious, you ask? Why not Ben, the one with Tourette's, who could maybe benefit from special services in school and who is the main instigator of all fights and conflicts here at home? Well, a few reasons. First, Ben refuses to go to school. I know, I'm the parent, don't I decide? But due to his nature and his challenges, I opt to respect his very strong feelings toward this issue. Secondly, he does have serious challenges that would prevent him from doing a lot of learning...the sound of pencils on paper makes him very angry; he can't handle people kicking their legs or moving their feet; weird breathing bothers him; if the chairs make noise it can give him a headache. I know these sound like excuses to get out of school, but if you'd been his parent for 10 years, you would understand that they are not, and that these challenges make life very difficult. Thirdly, Sophia was ITCHING to try school. She's the only one who really never got a chance at even our local parent partner program, Home Choice Academy, because she had the long hospital stay when she was enrolled there and we quit shortly after.

So, those reasons led me to choose to let Sophia try public school, in the 3rd grade. I will concentrate on getting Ben caught up in math and writing, as well as helping him with his ability to handle the challenges he faces with Tourette's, in hopes that maybe next year he can do some sort of online school or maybe a local magnet school. We will see how it all plays out. All I know is that Tourette's is changing our family in ways we never expected and I'm very excited to see the growth that Sophia goes through (as well as the rest of us, without her!)

For today though, I cried just a little as I peeked through the window of her second story classroom, seeing her sit at her table, such excitement surrounding her. Of the three kids, she's the one who is the most outgoing and adaptable, and I have no doubt she will be fine. But we are missing her tons and hoping that the kids and teachers continue to be as kind and gentle as they appeared today! :)

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