What Will School Look Like This Year?

 

At four-thirty this morning I was up  with lots on my mind.  Torn between writing, reading, and tackling the far overdue project of taking last year’s school books off the shelves and replacing them with books for this year, I chose the latter.  I hate to admit that I had not yet done it, but it’s true.  This is what our table looked like by 6:00 AM.

Once again, school is going to be different this year. Prior to the adoption of our children, we had exclusively homeschooled and it was a significant part of our family culture.  It has been a process of letting go of our ideals in order to truly meet the needs of our children, and we’re still figuring out what is best for each one of them.

This is our plan for this year:

Ladybug will be homeschooled and also take three classes at our local high school.  When we registered yesterday, she was so excited.  As we stood in front of her new locker, practicing the combination, she literally jumped up and down saying, “I’m so happy!”  Her classes are first thing in the morning, leaving the afternoons for homeschooling, piano, art, and other activities.  She is also on the freshman volleyball team; it is going to be a busy fall.

Honeybee is attending an Expeditionary Learning charter school.  We are excited to see her flourish in this environment which we think will enhance her strengths and support the areas where she is still catching up.  This is a brand new experience for our family which we hope will give Honeybee much more joy in her education.

Dimples will continue attending a Christian school and will be in 5th grade.  The high-structure, high-nurture environment is just right for her.  Not to mention, I am a huge fan of uniforms!

Sunshine will be homeschooled using Sonlight’s Eastern Hemisphere program as well as various other curricula.  She is very excited to study art (along with Ladybug) with our favorite art teacher, be in a Bible study, and do a variety of other exciting things.

Eby and Little Man will be homeschooled with Sunshine.  Additionally, they will attend a small class three mornings a week focused on intensive reading, writing, and math.  This will leave me more time for Bible, literature, nature study,and other subjects.  They will also still have lots of outdoor time, which I find extremely valuable for them. Clearly I am capable of teaching these subjects, and I feel slightly sheepish about not doing it, but my life is extremely full and this extra help will ease some burden on me.

Noah and Samuel have already begun classes at the University of Idaho.  Noah is spending the year completing prerequisites for applying to medical school.  Samuel is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

Isaiah’s college plans have changed significantly in the last 24 hours, after two long weeks of discussions and prayer.  I’ll share more soon.

I’ve got to get back to tackling the mess on the table.  Dimples will be home Saturday and I need to be calm and ready to help her start her school year on Monday.

I know that many of you have already started your school year.  What are your plans for educating your children this year?  I would love to hear from you!

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.

0 Comments

  1. Kylee
    August 23, 2012

    I'm the youngest of 4 biologicals and we always home schooled as well. I'm now a sophomore in college and the 4 little ones (all of whom were adopted at various times) will be in 6th, 5th, 2nd, and kinder. One will be home schooled this year and the other 3 will be in public school. My parents always loved homeschooling, but, much like your family, there are so many challenges and unique needs, that this is what will work best for our family this year. It changes every.single.year as our family needs change.

    Wishing your household a wonderful school year!

    Reply
  2. sleepyknitter
    August 23, 2012

    Public school for now. Sunshine, our nine-year-old and recent arrival from China, will be in the second grade, is blessed to have a female classmate adopted from China, and has an outstanding ESL instructor who keeps in a great deal of contact with me. Pumpkin, our five-year-old, is devastated to discover that kindergarten rooms do not have toys the way preschool room does, but she is putting up a brave front. We are not familiar with either her teacher or her speech teacher (or as she would say, her peach teacher), and I confess I am a little nervous about this year for her. Slick, our three-year-old, is staying home with Mommy, and I am a homemaker for the first time in nine years. I am using the book -Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons- with him and am so pleased with it that I think I will use it with the other two girls after school, and teach all three children to read in the same semester. We'll see what happens! I would love to homeschool all three kids, but we're in such a strong school district right now and have access to some significant resources that we would not be able to afford otherwise as we are unemployed right now. If the children learn to read well this year, then I would like to consider Sonlight curriculum for next year if we are employed by that time, even if I'm using it to supplement their public education if we continue in this great district. Whew! That's a long comment. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Lori
    August 23, 2012

    I still haven't swapped out books yet either. I really need to get on top of things if we're going to start next week. I haven't even ordered the few things that we need. I never dreamed the baby would come so late!

    Reply
  4. Alyssa
    August 23, 2012

    I'm still planning here and haven't even sorted books yet! I have been praying and this week seeing doors open and close, just as I prayed!
    I have always homeschooled and used a local co-op/charter type center. My oldest girl(20) is on a mission trip to Haiti and will continue her studies in dance and getting a coffee roasting business off the ground when she returns. My next is a 17 year old son who will graduate this year. He is writing a book and has a few things to finish up with me and his sister, who is in 10th grade and a serious ballet dancer and learning to drive . Our youngest is 8 and adopted 1.5 years ago from foster care. I am slowing our schedule way down this year– just soccer and speech therapy– to have lots of time with family and friends and work on his reading, which is really behind. I plan on a lot more time at home this year than usual and I'm really looking forward to it! My home, my health and my marriage all need attention after the adjustments of our son's adoption.
    Lisa, I want to tell you I appreciate your heart and your writing so much! I am on the trust based parenting FB group and that has been also helpful. I am about to return to your last blog, since I didn't have time to read the comments yesterday. I'm in Oregon and hope to attend the conference in WA next winter. God bless you!

    Reply
  5. kristen
    August 23, 2012

    we’ve homeschooled for 5 years now. and every year i just add to the bookshelves. this swapping books out is a new concept. 🙂 tell me, where do you store the other/old books? seriously, i would love to know…we’re running out of space and i can see i will have to come up with another system in another year or two…

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 23, 2012

      Kristen, This is my 22nd year of homeschooling and I've done the full range of K – 12, so I've accumulated lots of materials. I have bins on my garage shelves containing individual Sonlight years, Great Books (for online classes), math books, teacher's manuals, DVD's, Kindergarten materials, and at least two boxes labeled "Books to Sort." I also have bookshelves with science and nature books, Latin, classics, Childhood of Famous Americans, theology, Bibles, children's literature, and who knows what else. I even have four or five boxes of school books stored at Aunt Michele's. We are tight on space and overflowing. With Little Man moving up, I plan to part with some of you early grade materials as he finishes with them.

      Reply
      1. Carly
        August 29, 2012

        Hmmm, Lisa, still trying to grasp that concept… "switching out books…" Nope. I cannot get my mind around that one! You are my hero! 🙂

        Reply
    2. Emily
      August 23, 2012

      I've recently discovered the Book Crawler app for our iPad. You can enter your books by bar code or ISBN, and then tag them as a certain collection (i.e. garage or storage closet bin). Then, when I'm thrifting books, I easily know what I have so I don't duplicate while hunting the perfect book bargain. And my kids seem to enjoy entering all the information–so that makes it easier to get all the input information done. I think there's even a way to check them out of their location (i.e. if you lend one to a friend, etc.) so you can keep track of where all those materials have gone. It has been very helpful for us already.

      Reply
  6. Amy
    August 23, 2012

    Just got started back this week! And it was a major undertaking. Whew. But we have 2 at home using Calvert 1st and 5th grade materials, 2 attending our state's fine arts high school in 9th and 11th grades – boarding in the big city during the week, 1 in Nursing school at UAB and one a senior at UA. I have homeschooled for the last 20 years and I have to confess that I am more than a little tired of it. But the school district we live in is terrible. So what is a Mom to do?

    Reply
  7. Amber
    August 23, 2012

    This year I am blessed to have been given the option to homeschool my twins (13), 3 days a week and send them to a small public school the other 2 days. My other 2 will be attending the same Christian school. Over the last several years we have had quite the variety ( homeschool, charter, public, Christian, internships and some combos.) My other 3 have now left the nest. It seems like every single year we have to re-evaluate and do what is best for each child THAT YEAR. Blessings to you. I love your blog and admire your heart.

    Reply
  8. Kohana
    August 23, 2012

    How do you manage staying engaged and up to speed with children in so many learning environments? I struggle not to miss important notes and details with two children in the same school? Also, schools here are volunteer-intensive so parents are expected to be active in the school as much as possible. Sounds challenging, but great that you have found environments that suit each of your children!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 24, 2012

      That is the greatest struggle. I end up feeling like I'm not really a good school mom in any of the environments, and that is tough, but there really isn't another option. I'm lifting some pressure off myself by having the little boys take their class. I have many good friends with kids at Dimples' school, so they keep me up to date on major things there, and I try to go to all of the important things — but I never feel that I'm doing enough. Honeybee's school is a brand new experience, so I can't say what that will be like – although I hope to be involved as much as I can. Ladybug is very independent, so as long as I make it to her volleyball games and any other important events, she'll be okay. Sunshine will primarily be home; my greatest challenge will be keeping up with her schoolwork. Russ does morning drop-off which is a huge help. This is the greatest challenge in meeting my kids' academic needs; we aren't like most families, and we just do our best.

      Reply
  9. karenpullin
    August 23, 2012

    My 13 and 10 year olds will be attending a small private school and the 3 year old will go to preschool 3 days a week. I have really struggled with this, as this will be the 10 year old's second try at regular schooling after being diagnosed with dyslexia last year. I'm hopeful that this year will be better, but admit to being anxious.

    Reply
  10. Kemery Kane
    August 24, 2012

    Alex is a senior at East High School. Being art focused and having completed his portfolio year as a junior (and winning third place in the district wide art show!) he is now doing his breadth year. He is taking AP courses in Literature and Writing, math and science more mainstream.

    Eilis is a junior at East, taking all honors and AP courses, swim team, ultimate frisbee team, debate team and wanting to start a club to work with underprivleged children.

    Corcoran is an 8th grader at the Gifted/Talented magnet school, trying softball and soccer this year, and trying to get clients for dog walking (she'd really do it for free, but she doesn't mind a little cash).

    Reilly is a 2nd grader at his new school (also G/T) and I'm excited for a smaller school and a more experienced teacher. He has energy seeping from his pores, and he needs someone seasoned to keep all that spark focused. He wants to take break dancing lessons and likes free running all over the city.

    It's nice to hear about your crew! Can't believe A is starting high school – holy moly!

    Miss you – K

    Reply
  11. Kasey
    August 26, 2012

    We started our school year this July by homeschooling our 5 and 7 year olds (K and 2nd). We are in the last days …. hours even … before I fly to bring home 3 more older children from ET (our 7yo is also from ET, home 2 years now). Our plan is to hunker down and learn how to do the family for awhile and then pick school up again (at home) when we are all ready.

    Reply
  12. Heather
    August 27, 2012

    We are homeschooling our bio 4th grader with Sonlight's D+E. (I am secretly looking forward to next year when we can do the Eastern Hemisphere course as well!) Our youngest son, adopted from Ethiopia, will attend our public school preschool for children with special needs. I'm even going to let him ride the bus. Thank you for you honesty on your blog. It has helped give me the courage to make the best decisions for everyone by letting go of my ideal situation in order to do what best meets everybody's needs.

    Reply
  13. Stephanie
    April 10, 2013

    Thanks for posting this…(evn though it was quite some time ago.) I had these plans where we would homeschool exclusively, and have done so for the past four years. We are now in a place where we need to make some changes for one of our kiddos. We need him to succeed and this isn't working for him. Now 8, adopted from China at age 3, has lots of trauma/ attachment stuff going on. I needed to read this. It isn't about MY ideals, but what is going to be best for him in the long run.

    Reply

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