Wednesday, January 17, 2018

School Days

Well Steve is back to college-it's his next to last semester as it looks like he will be graduating next December.  He has worked hard and done really good.  It's hard to believe he is almost finished with college-dang he JUST started it seems like!

Shad is back to homeschooling.  We have started an on line program called Acellus.  He had finished the other curriculum we used through 8th grade although he'd normally just be starting 8th grade this school year.  When he tested for the new curriculum he was placed in 9th grade in English, History and Biology/Science. He did test at 8th grade in Math but that's ok-that's his one struggle.  Shad will be picking out an elective also.  I think he is going to take Spanish!  Hola!

Well yesterday Sam and Sarah started school for the first time ever!  We had felt for some time that Sam was ready for school but we absolutely were not going to send him to public school.  We've had  many bad experiences just with the homebound aspect of the public school system in our county  that there was no way we'd send them off to the public school!  We had looked at a small private school that was at our son's college that took kids with disabilities but that did not work out.  I'm not sure I could have handled the drive daily anyhow.

When I'm faced with a need, I look into things then I set back and let God take over.  I do NOT try and "make things happen"   I learned THAT lesson a few years back LOL!!!   So for the past 1-2 years I kept homeshooling and looking around.  Florida has many different ways for parents to have choice in where their kids go to school.  We applied for the Gardiner Scholarship that is a tax credit based scholarship.  There is also Step Up For Students and McKay.  I think there are a couple more -one that is called AAA but I don't know much about it.  I LOVE school choice as I feel parents should have the ability to place their children in whatever setting they feel is the best for their child. 

So last fall a friend of mine mentioned a new private school in our area that works with kids with varying degrees of needs.  I contacted them and we began talking.  Sam and Sarah have more needs overall than any of their other children but they were willing to give it a try.  We worked out all the bugs, made sure we had someone to work directly with them and made sure the class was ready for them.  Finally everything came together and they started yesterday.  They are doing a shorter day of school for now to help them orient themselves to it.  One great thing is it is only minutes from our house!!!  I'd looked at schools in three other cities and then found one down the road!  That just makes me happy.  I feel like God leads even in the small stuff.

So yesterday.....
I was very nervous for Sarah and she did struggle some but Sam had a blast!!!

Our supplies for the week

Sarah and Sam with Ms Ashley their respite care worker.

Facing the school!

Sarah in class

Sam playing

We love this picture of Sam in class

They get released earlier

Home at last with a treat

Sarah was very upset by the end of the day and couldn't even stand for me to touch her.  When we got home, it was beautiful outside so I thought if she got on her swing for awhile she'd calm down and she did.

Until the past year or so, Sam and Sarah have never had anyone other than family care for them except very limited amounts of time.  It was rare for us to leave them with anyone.  Then we began getting respite care and we had Ms Ashley in the home some.  That was a transition for all of us but very nice for us.  I began to go out more with my friends during the day and I could go shopping on my own!  Woohoo!  The kids adjusted to her quickly.

School is the biggest transition yet especially for Sarah.  She is very attached to me and she likes the security and safely of being home. She does not like loud noises.   If she can handle school I'll be happy but if she can't then it'll be ok too.  She has been through alot in her little life and I'm not one to want to add stress to her.  She made it through yesterday but was already stressed out this morning.  I can read her body language, it's pretty easy, when she is upset, she balls up her fist...both hands were balled up this morning!  Then she wouldn't walk holding hands with Ms Ashley and had to be carried in but she didn't cry.  She loves her Ms Ashley and we are so happy that she can go to school with the kids.  That helps alot because she has worked with them and has learned how to read them.  When a child is non verbal, the caregivers have to learn the child's language.  So I "speak" Sarah and Sam.  I can understand what they are wanting/needing.  My biggest fear is Sarah will think she is back at the orphanage....that might sound crazy but I don't want her to be afraid or think we've left her.  Last night I held her for a long time so she would know I was still there and she was home and safe.

With Sam we are really working on him wearing his glasses.  They help him see better and they protect his eyes.  Protecting his eye is very very important!  With Sarah we are working on getting her to use the walker again.  I have to admit it is easier to carry her or to lead her by the hands than to walk her with the walker.  But it's better for her to use the walker.  Academically we are working on them getting used to the classroom setting for now.  We are going to be evaluating the situation daily.

So now I only have Selah at home with her nurses and Shad home with me.  I feel like an empty nester!

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