Verse of the Day

Friday, March 5, 2010

Challenges of School

My kiddos all may be sweet little things, but they sure are behind in school! I have to remind myself over and over again... sometimes multiple times within a couple of hours... that they will catch up. Eventually.

B. is 8.5 years old and is at the educational level of a preschooler. Maturity-wise, I'd put him under 6 years. He is left-handed, making some of life a bit more of a challenge. He doesn't know his numbers (1-20) or colors. He has just learned to write his name. He can not follow simple directions; I don't know whether this is an issue of language or of distraction. It is hard for him to stay on-task. He does not seem like your typical "first child."

Miss G. is 7.5 years old and is at the level of a preschooler. Maturity-wise, she is a 6 year old. She does not know her numbers (1-20) and does not know her colors at all, despite daily work. She can not write her name without letters being backwards. Grace does quite well at focusing on a task, and wants to do things well... the first time. She can sit down and finish a task with good concentration.

A. is 6 years old and is at the level of a preschooler. Maturity-wise, he is a 5 to 6 year old. He is very coordinated, and can write many letters and knows 80% of the colors. He is good at building puzzles and enjoys working with mazes. He doesn't have much interest in "coloring." He wants to zip through the school work so he can play outside. He enjoys answering questions for his siblings; he seems to know more than either of the other two.

Socially, the older two are quite immature when compared to American kids. They are loud, screaming at inappropriate times. They throw tantrums at odd times. A., the youngest, seems to be the most "tuned-in" of the three. He shows as much or more maturity than the older two. Perhaps because of his more aggressive, yet shy personality, he spends more time digesting what was going on around him. He seems to think before he reacts; the other two seems to react, then think. B. and G., maybe because they are older and remember more, seem to be operating in a "flight or flight" adrenaline stress response to seemingly insignificant struggles. A., being the baby, seems to have been insulated from some of the emotional trauma.

I remember being advised with our first adoption, that staying under 5 helps with adjustment and school. This seems to be the case... if you think life has to be all neat and in a box! I clearly don't believe life is either neat or orderly. Kids, just like the Lord, can not and should not be put in little boxes for our convenience and sanity. Sanity is highly overrated.

That being said, I have had to purchase lots of new school curriculum. After completing an entire workbook on colors (, the kids still don't know their colors. After completing an entire workbook on numbers, the kids still don't know all of their numbers. We review colors, numbers, letters, etc. every single day--- to no avail. To try something new and hopefully more effective, I have now purchased some of the Kumon workbooks. They are very, very simple and highly colorful. The letter recognition and formation workbooks have numbered steps to help kids remember what they should do first. Thus, we are starting all over again!

Perhaps the school work will simply be an issue of repetition and time. If that is the case, the Kumon books should be helpful. If it is an issue of a learning disability, then time will tell also.

In retrospect, I did not start formal school with Miss B. until she was orally fluent in English. Yet, because of the hyperactivity and destructiveness of the new kiddos, I have instituted school significantly earlier. All I can hope is that once the kids are fluent in English... which I hope is within another few months... the tide will turn and the light bulbs of learning will start to glow.

I do understand, though, why many people simply put their adoptive kids in school. These kids are so used to being physically active and around kids all day; the environment allows them to thrive. Yet, for us, the good Lord has made it very clear that we are to home school. Interestingly enough, the daily Scripture verse that appears at the top of my blog today is the very reason we home school (Deut. 6:6-7)! That being said, we shall persevere! I just have to hope that all of this helps the kids get to the place the Lord intends for them to be. They sure are teaching me a lot of new lessons: joy in perseverance, enduring under pressure, and celebrating the little victories.

I love my family!

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