I have not been able to post to the site for some time now…we have been in a state of flux. There have been some forks in the road that we needed to navigate and, while I felt like there might be something to say, I wasn’t quite sure what that would be.
We are still very much in the beginning stages, but the big decisions have been made and we are forging a new path with schooling our girls. We have decided to keep them at home. For those already seasoned on the world of home-schooling, this may not sound so earth shattering. It may not evoke the feelings of fear or confusion that I have been experiencing. Nevertheless, that is the new path we are on and I am excited and terrified to see where it leads us.
Many factors came into play with this decision, and as I have have come to discover, the topic of whether or not home-schooling is an effective (never mind possibly superior) method of teaching your children, can be just as delicate as religion or politics. Who knew?!? I have been toying with the idea of it for years. First with just Virginia, wanting the best education for her and not really being able to afford the high-dollar price tag the local private schools carry…but even more so with Kimberly and the short comings of public education for a child with special needs.
We have been navigating school for Kimberly since she was three and entered the pre-school program in Chatham County. There were bumps in the road for sure…many I have likely buried in there recesses of my mind. It was a difficult time. The past five years have brought countless IEP meetings, changing school systems (while in Richmond, VA and then back to Chatham Co), working with various teachers over the years as they “get to know her” and her abilities…let’s just say Virginia’s time in school has been a cake-walk comparatively.
All that aside, we happily dropped Kimberly back two grade levels last year to place her in a “typical” classroom aka General Ed. She enjoyed her Kindergarten year in Ms C’s class and still saw Ms J daily for resource time. The elements of this scenario that troubled me however, included how little was expected of Kimbo in her “regular” classroom by her teachers and other students and the limited time she was able to receive low ratio interaction for academics. I chalked it up to not being able to have it both ways…the separate setting room allows for more one on one time, yet had she stayed in there she would have been the only verbal child out of five. Not much in the way of modeling going on there.
With Virginia entering a less than stellar Middle school this year and after having experienced some disappointments in the quality of her education last year I was concerned that the year or two ahead may not challenge her enough and/or play to her strengths. Couple that with realizing I can give Kimberly one on one instruction as much as needed, and challenge her more (as I know better what she is capable of), this all seemed to be leading us in one direction…home-school the babies.
So here we go. This week begins week four, our curriculum is predominately on-line, but we are supplementing with workbooks and hands-on instruction. I am trying to get them out for some type of “field trip” every week. Brad is totally engaged and has been towing the line on days I travel for work. It is certainly a team effort, with the girls a vital part of that team…I am going to be bringing in Kimberly’s former resource teacher periodically to see what we are working on and get ideas form her on ways to reinforce new concepts with Kimberly.
One thing I can say for sure is that support from friends and family is critical. It is a scary decision but all in all I know we can provide a better scenario than what we have as an alternative at this point. I don’t know where we will be in the years to come, but this is where we are now. Encouragement and belief is much appreciated! We are traveling this road, scarificing various aspects of “down-time” and working harder to balance work/life so that we can help the girls reach there goals and stay in forward motion. Wish us luck!
Oh, and since it’s been a while…here are some recent photos of our lovelies compliments of the best photographer I know…bellefleurphotography.com