Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to Homeschooling

Blossom is no longer a public school student.

This morning at 6:18am I received a call from the bus people saying that the bus, which was supposed to have begun service for us TOMORROW, was running ONE HOUR LATE this morning.

My Firefighter took Blossom to school this morning in plenty of time, but no one was there to meet her at the drop-off point and take her to class.

We went to the counselor's office and printed out Blossom's current schedule. The counselor confirmed that Blossom should be in those classes. I went to the first period class. She was not there. She was in another building with another special ed teacher just as she's been since starting school.

At least today she was playing an educational board game with two other students and not Curious George cartoons.

Then, she was put on the computer. I could see it was the math program that I pay for. Here it is, the third week of school, and they still don't have any curriculum materials for her.

I knew that the bell for 2nd period was about to ring, so My Fire Fighter and i walked to the next class and waited in the hallway. We greeted the teacher on her way in and watched all the students file in. After five minutes, I went in to inquire as the to whereabouts of my daughter. "Yes, she's supposed to be in this class," the teacher said.

I could clearly see it on her schedule.

I went back to the first period classroom and met the teacher, coming to find me, in the hallway. I didn't say a word, thinking that surely when she saw me, it'd trigger her memory and she'd send my child to English class. Nope. Didn't happen. We sat down, discussed how things were going, she said the same empty stuff about needing to evaluate Blossom before giving her math, etc... She went on and on about how she's still in the Recreation and Leisure Class, something NOT on her schedule, and that they are still playing bowling in the hallway (instead of going to math class). I let her run on and run then asked why Blossom wasn't in her English class. Oops! Everyone forgot. The teacher and all the aides forgot. Off runs the teacher to tell them to get my child to English class.

This confirmed what had been brewing in me since late last night.

The reason I turned to public school is because I felt like I couldn't teach my child any more. She didn't seem to be learning. She was being disruptive. I thought, surely a special education teacher, who is trained to teach kids like this, could do better than I can. I FELT LIKE I COUDLN'T DO IT, that I was failing.

Well, the public school can't do it either! And they are failing. I sure did it better! The fault isn't with my ability to teach. It's with Blossom's inability to UNDERSTAND! Therefore, she has trouble learning and sometimes just CAN'T learn the material.

So, what's better?

A public school with a program designed with good intentions, but in reality has a gross lack of resources to carry them out? So many kids at so many levels of ability and disability that they experience even more interruptions throughout their day than a daycare mom? Then add all the bad influences like bullying? Time wasted watching ridiculous TV instead of something educational and/or uplifting? Time wasted coloring pictures of girls in skimpy clothing? Playing games all day? Sitting in classes without a chance of comprehending?

Or a single mom, loving, smart, though imperfect, teaching her children in a safe environment, at the child's level, where God's laws are taught which means there is an established code of conduct and morality, where family is paramount, despite many interruptions but with real life experiences and opportunities to learn.

I now know what's best and what will work with a little tweaking. Our focus has shifted, that's for sure. It's all about life skills now and which academic skills are needed for daily living. That will be our focus. With a few more things in place, I can run my daycare smoothly and teach my girls, just like I did before we moved. The next couple of weeks will be about getting all those things in place and making the necessary adjustments to make homeschool work and be enjoyable for all.

One of the changes is that our delightful sister missionaries are eager to serve by listening to the girls read aloud each week and they'll teach the girls Bible stories.

Things are definitely getting on the right track now. Many people have been praying for us and I've felt their support. People at church who were once judgmental, have softened as they have finally been around the girls enough to see how their special needs affect their lives, and especially seen how the public school wasn't able to meet Blossom's needs.

Out in the school parking lot after all was said and done, Blossom hugged me like she's never hugged me before - tight, close, sincere. I could feel that she loves me. I could feel that she knew I love her.

My Firefighter took us all out to breakfast at IHOP afterward, all four girls and a little daycare baby. We made quite a parade!

We're resting this week, keeping things basic, catching up. Next week, we'll ease into our new school year.

Oh, in case you're wondering, the one hour late school bus had still not arrived at school when we left at 10am. School started at 8am.

And, how did Blossom take the news? Much to my surprise she looked quite upset. I wondered for a brief second if I'd made a mistake, then I asked her why she was so upset. Her answer, "If I don't go to outside school any more, can I still keep my backpack?" Yes, this girl LOVES her purple backpack! Once she knew she could keep it, she was just fine.

On our way out, the sweet old (79 yrs. old) lady who runs the front office whispered to me, "She'll be so much better off homechooled. Bless you."


Anonymous said...

You surely gave it a fair try, K. A few weeks of that kind of program and I would withdraw my daughter too! It seems that in the long run teaching the practical basics of everyday living will benefit both Blossom and Sissy far more than a haphazard approach to academics. I have two daughters who cannot grasp the academics, but they love, love, love learning how to do little jobs around the house as well as at school. I can't wait until they are old enough to be in the vocational training classes. It will still be challenging for them to learn anything complex, but they will really enjoy the productive activity. They obediently sit through the academic classes that they must take at school (I'm a single mom who must work outside my home), but they actually comprehend and learn very little. It's a formality at best, but my choices are limited. Luckily they like being at school with other kids. Good luck to you as you plan out your new program.

Alison Franklin said...

Wow I cannot believe that. The school district is failing miserably. You should not have those issues. Glad you have a plan of attack. I enjoy reading your blog and refer people often to it.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter had been home for one year, and we were in the middle of homeschooling Kindergarten while we worked out her vision issues, when we decided to have her evaluated by the local school district (she was 5 1/2). She tested above age/grade level, but with her low vision she was going to need extra help. They could not tell me ONE thing they would offer to accommodate her in the fall if we placed her in the public school system. I knew without a vision specialist they could not give me specifics, but the special education coordinator, 2 special ed teachers, and the principal could not tell me one thing they could do. They were discussing what grade level in which to place her, and the special education coordinator said "preschool" and then recanted because by fall she would be too old for the state to approve preschool. Why would you put a child who tested above Kindergarten level in preschool?! She was 5 1/2 and tested 7 years 8 months in language skills on a test NOT designed for English as a second language. My husband and I both said, "We'll continue homeschooling."

Fast forward to now, and we are struggling with reading. We know she has the intelligence, so we are unsure if it's sight related or a learning disability. It has taken us a couple of years to try to decide, with her ophthalmologist, between these two possibilities. We are having her tested through a neuropsychologist. The neuropsychologist told us she is so thankful for our ability to home school our daughter because she is the kind of child who slips through the cracks in conventional schools.

Schools can be a blessing or a curse...just as homeschooling can be. Different strokes for different folks. So, do what you have to do for your daughter and have no regrets.

Anonymous said...

I know Blossom has some serious cognitive impairments, but at least she's not in charge of running a public school district's special ed programs! Seriously, something is very, very wrong with the minds of these people you've had to deal with.

I still think you should pursue some formal action to try make the school district pay *you* for doing their jobs, since they have repeatedly proven themselves unable and/or unwilling to do their jobs.

I shudder to think what would happen to a child like Blossom in this school district, if she didn't have a parent who was exceptionally energetic, intelligent, and persistent. And a LOT of special ed kids don't have a parent who's capable of monitoring the wide-ranging incompetence of the school personnel you've dealt with (in many cases the parents are special ed material themselves). Really, REALLY bad things can happen to a cognitively impaired child when school personnel can't be bothered to keep track of where the child is or should be.

Sam J. said...

I just stumbled across your blog today. (I am aware this is an older post.) As a former special ed teacher it hurts my heart that you were treated this badly by the system.
Praying for you and your girls.
God bless.