Our three kids in junior high.
Today is the first day of school for my traditionally educated children. Our family now has: two 8th graders, one 7th grader, two 5th graders and a 1st grader. Yesterday was a chaos filled day of rushing from one school to another. Whoever makes decisions about these things apparently thinks it’s a fabulous idea to have the junior high and elementary orientation/meet the teacher events overlap. This means everyone with both an elementary school kid and junior higher gets to rush from one school to the next, likely speeding down the highway to make both events.
It has been a year and a half since I wrote My Farewell to Homeschooling. Some aspects of that have gotten easier. I know more of what is expected, I am more familiar with the schools, schedules and routines. My kids look forward to being back in school with their friends. But it is still hard. I am sad that I am not homeschooling my kids. It still feels like a failure on my part at times.
At the junior high yesterday I was struck by the fact that everything, every routine, every external motivator make the life of my son with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) more difficult.
The noise and chaos were overwhelming to me, how much more so for my child who gets overstimulated easily? Or a child who struggles to process language? To make friends?
The school rotates through A Days, B Days, etc. Every day is different. Some days have periods 1 and 2 and then breakfast, others start with second period and then move on to “base camp”. Yes, he figures it out, but it is one more layer of instructions to remember.
“Base Camp” is designed to help kids who are struggling or falling behind in class to get caught up. On one hand I love that the school has this built-in to their schedule…on the other hand, while two of my kids get free time during that period, for my son struggling with FASD, it’s one more class (no break for him).
In one class the teacher has a system set up where the kids can earn point for things like: turning in homework on time, when the entire class gets a C or higher on a test, class participation. All things that nearly impossible for my son.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think this systems are bad or that the entire school should change for my son, it’s just one more reminder about how difficult his life is because of FASD.
These three are off to another year of elementary school. Avi and Tucker are in fifth grade and Apollo in first. The school did a great job of planning and Apollo’s teacher is the student teacher from his kindergarten class last year. She is very familiar with Apollo as a little boy and familiar with his medical issues. In addition, this has made the transition easier for Apollo.
Tucker was thrilled by having a male teacher for the first time and Avi’s teacher was her summer school teacher this year. She and Avi know each other and are used to working together. Hopefully this smoothes the transition for both of them.
Here’s to another year of learning and growing!
How is your school year shaping up? Homeschooling or traditional school?