A New School for Honeybee

Thank you all for your prayers and comments.  I am deeply grateful for this loving community that surrounds my blog and my family.  Today is a day for waiting – for calls to be returned, emails to be answered, and God to give us direction.  In the meantime, Dimples is at day camp for one more day.  We haven’t figured out the weekend yet…

This morning, while the kids were still sleeping, I filled out paperwork for Honeybee’s new school.  The decision to change schools was not easy, but we are feeling increasingly happy about it.  She spent the last two years at a small, Christian school where she grew academically, but even more, matured in her faith and character.  She made great progress in overcoming lingering orphanage behavior, gaining self-control, learning respect for adults, and finding satisfaction in hard work.

Despite working very hard, having extra help from volunteers and tutors, she could not keep up with the demanding academics and was auditing most of her classes.  There was some hope that she would simply “catch up,” but the lack of education in Ethiopia was more than she could overcome without more help.  She came home at the age of ten having never learned to read Amharic and having limited academic skills.  She is very intelligent and is making great progress, but she needs a learning environment that can provide more support and allow for her individual needs.

Next year she’ll attend an Expeditionary Learning charter school that we think is going to fit her very well. We are excited to see her experience school in a new way.  There is a reading specialist available to help her as well as many other benefits.  A classmate of hers from last year will also be in her class at the new school.

We were very concerned about how she would take the news of this change, but God answered our prayers and it was a beautiful conversation.  As sad as she is about leaving her friends and the wonderful people at her previous school, she is relieved to be at a school where she will have more hope of making academic progress.   When we talked about the new plan, she said, with tears in her eyes, “Mommy, I hated going to school and feeling stupid every day.  I think this new school will be better for me.”

We could not have asked for a better response.  We are excited for this new experience, for the way that God is once again expanding our world and bringing new people into our lives, and for Honeybee’s happiness.

Once again we’re learning more about how to educate each one of our children according to their needs – all to the glory of God.

Have a great weekend, friends.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

19 Comments

  1. Jillian
    July 20, 2012

    I am SO HAPPY for her! What a great opportunity with so many resources! I know you guys put a lot of thought and prayer into this and we will continue to pray as transitions are never easy. Much love!

    Reply
  2. Gwen
    July 20, 2012

    Your family has been in my prayers so much this past while. May God continue to give you the strength and perseverance that you need.

    Your post struck a chord with me (particularly Honeybee's words about feeling stupid), because we are really struggling to know how to handle our son's educational needs. I've spent about 10 minutes trying to write a coherent comment, but it keeps turning into a book. 🙂 I'll just say that we're in the same position as you: trying desperately to preserve our son's self-esteem, while scratching our heads trying to figure out how best to help him learn.

    He is many years behind his peers — like Honeybee, he came to us when he was probably about 10 years old, without any education whatsoever — and he feels so ashamed when he cannot understand the things that the other kids can do so easily. But homeschooling would be disastrous, as he needs constant stimulation, routine and structure, and thrives in a classroom environment. I'll be very interested to read about how Honeybee adjusts to her new school, and how her learning progresses. Thanks for this post!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2012

      Gwen, I will be sure to blog about it as Honeybee adjusts to her new school. It is a big change for all of us, but when I think of her enjoying school and feeling smart and capable (which she is), it gives me joy.

      Reply
  3. Ann Marie
    July 20, 2012

    I am always so impressed at the individual path you have each of your children on. I know it is NOT easy and takes alot of selflessness. Thank you for always sharing your story. It is so encouraging to me.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2012

      Thank you Ann Marie. It's been a journey of loosening our grip on things we held dear and seeking God's best for each child.

      Reply
  4. Emily
    July 20, 2012

    Yay for Honeybee!!! Give her a hug for me!!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2012

      I will, Emily. She'll be excited to talk to you when you get home from Bolivia.

      Reply
  5. laurenjess
    July 20, 2012

    God is so kind! How wonderful to have choices!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 20, 2012

      Amen, Lauren. We're super happy to have friends we already know at the school with us. God meets our needs.

      Reply
  6. I am anxious to hear more about her experiences at her new school. We are in the midst of trying to make a decision (again) about what to do with our special son this fall. Public, private or home. None are quite the perfect fit for him. I keep praying… The excellent christian school our older kids thrived in has large class sizes and a traditional teaching style. He really needs more one on one and some different teaching methods. Public school has the promise of "services" but they aren't providing as much help as he really needs. Homeschooling is so good for him academically but he really, really needs constant the stimulation/socialization/struction/time-away-from-mom that school provides.

    Reply
  7. Vertical Mom
    July 20, 2012

    What a relief that must be! It's so nice to see parents who look individually at their kids and determine what best fits their needs instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

    Reply
  8. Kayla
    July 20, 2012

    Oh breaks my heart to hear her say she doesn't want to wake up and feel stupid at school. (Public school teacher here…) I pray she will see that smart is measured in a multitude of ways and that this new venture will help to close some of the gaps.

    Reply
  9. Leslie
    July 20, 2012

    That is wonderful. I know it is so hard to figure out what is best for them individually. It sounds like a promising setting for her. Praying for you and Russ as you balance all these decisions. Hugs.

    Reply
  10. Paige
    July 20, 2012

    Lisa,
    My big kid has attended an EL middle school for the last 2 years, after homeschooling from the start. It's a terrific fit for hm,and for lots of non-traditional learners. We were very relaxed homeschoolers, and my guy has a ton of sensory issues, between the two, I wasn't sure he'd be ready for the demands of school, but it's been tremendously successful. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, etc. We really do love our EL experience.

    Reply
  11. Paula Miles Spears
    July 21, 2012

    That's great for Honeybee!

    Reply
  12. sleepyknitter
    July 21, 2012

    So happy to read some happy news for you! Praying for you over this weekend.

    Reply
  13. FullPlateMom
    July 21, 2012

    That is wonderful! It's so hard to learn when you feel "stupid". Hopefully, this will be a GREAT change for Honeybee.

    Reply
  14. kristine
    July 23, 2012

    So happy for Haneybee!

    Reply
  15. Traci
    July 24, 2012

    Thank you for sharing. Our daughter came home at age 7 with no education. She just completed 1st grade and we have been talking about buckling down and trying to move her up to grade level. Your post has really helped me to see that this may not be the best option for her even though she looks three years older than all the kids in her class. The trauma of struggling with her education could be a lot worse than the social trauma of physically maturing ahead of the other girls.

    Reply

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