Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week One Of Home School

School - the place that totally complicates trauma and everything that goes with it. There are excellent school's out there, school's that do their best to provide for the traumatized child, but the fact remains, there is a lot that can go wrong even with the best of intentions and knowledge.

For many years, parents who have children with the level of trauma ours have experienced, have been telling me home school is the only way to cement relationships and work through trauma, I said, "No way! I need some quiet time to regain my equilibrium!" Ever hear the quote, "Never say, never?" Well, let's just say I am eating all my forcefully spoken words! 

When we had one child struggling in school we limped along, but by the end of last term we had three struggling and home school didn't look so impossible after all. After one particularly trying week, I brought up the subject once more and Dean said, "I think it would be best for the children but only if you are up to it." At that point we started asking questions and looking into our options. We laid out our fleece and waited. There were several hurdles in our way, one seemingly insurmountable one, but one by one they were all taken away.

There were many reasons home school looked appealing, here are some of them.

Childen with FASD:

- need extreme structure, something that is hard to come by in a typical school setting. Field trips, special activities and birthday parties were too much stimulation for Joseph.
-they don't do well with transitions. Going to school and coming home, are two major transitions that happen five days a week.
-they need plenty of down time and some times school is simply to more than their brains can handle.
-they need all of their caregivers including teachers to be on the same level. This can be difficult to accomplish.
-it takes an incredible amount of brain power to understand the world around them, as a result school drained Joseph's brain leaving him prone to violent meltdowns.

-lyme disease brings many physical and neurological complications making school a challenge.
-some days school was simply out of the question but Kiana always wanted to go for fear she would miss out on something. Other days I could hardly get her out of bed.
-Kiana is still in the beginning stages of Lyme treatment, we have no idea what the year will bring. If she needs daily IV therapy, she will do best doing school at home.

Attachment Disorder:
-Most of our children have disorganized attachments to some extent. School is a prime opportunity for them to triangulate and manipulate others. 
-While they may fight against us at home, they are also fearful of something happening to us while they are gone. This caused intense levels of anxiety while they were at school.

All these reasons along with a host of others, made home school look pretty attractive. With one week of school finished, I can say with certainty that there was a whole lot less drama than the first week of school in previous years. It hasn't all been easy but as a whole, I think it will be just what our children need. 

The remainder of Lia's school books came in the mail yesterday so she will now be "going to school" along with her siblings. I was giving her writing lessons and other activities to keep her occupied as I had my hands full answering questions for the other three. Hopefully next week they will be able to proceed without as much help from me so I can give her the time she needs.

This is what school looks like for now. My original plans were for the children to do their work in their bedrooms so it would be quiet with fewer distractions. While I hope to get to that place with time, until they become familiar with the curriculum, they are working in the kitchen.

Our school tote containing answer keys, books and the usual school paraphernalia. All the extra books are currently stored in our bedroom, not exactly an ideal place but we are still working on a system.

Lia's math came in the mail! She will be doing Semple Math, beginning on Monday. I am excited because it looks like just the thing she needs. She is also doing Handwriting Without Tears. I wish I would have known about this curriculum when I taught first grade. 

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