I have heard that the definition of an idiot is someone who does the same thing over and over and hopes for different results. That is the point I feel I am at with some of my children and their behavior. While I haven't written about Julia and her challenges in some time, I assure you they are alive and well. The toughest thing about Julia's behavior is that I really don't have a clue what is causing it and how to improve it. We have tried many, many things (even professional) and nothing seems to make much of a difference. Her issue manifests with screaming and crying. On any given day, she makes tons of demands that are not doable and when she doesn't get what she is demanding, she cries and screams. There are days that she cries and screams three to four hours of the eight that JD is at work. There are other days that it may only be a few rounds of 20 to 30 minutes. We also have issues of her just picking trouble with the other kids; she seems to have the goal to make them angry and then will come and tell on them, (often telling me that they did whatever she actually did).
I am also not able to ever leave Julia in the care of Moriah or Alyssa; I do with Gabriel and Alei, but it's tough on them (as it is on me). JD is really the only person that she doesn't perform her extended screaming displays for. This presents quite the problem when I need to take other children to places that aren't equipped for Julia.
Over time, it is obvious that Julia does the best with complete structure. She does great when she works with me in the kitchen or out at the garden and I keep her completely busy. While I do that as much as humanly possible, it is REALLY, REALLY difficult to home school the other children with her present. If my attention is not on her, she is usually screaming. We have done hours and hours of school with her on the couch screaming. To put it nicely, it tries all of our nerves and seldom helps with a learning environment.
I decided that I want to provide as much structure for her as possible in hopes of "resetting" her habit of demanding and screaming. I also want a home environment that is more conducive to learning for my other children. The only logical combination was to send Julia to school. While I would have loved to send her to a Christian Montessori school, there is nothing of the sort in our area; so for the first time in 20 years, I enrolled a child in our local public school.
When I told my mother-in-law, she seemed rather shocked. That is because I used to be one of those people that thought they had found the superior method of education and was planning on homeschooling all my children all the way through. It may of taken 20 years and eight children, but I am far less sure of my beliefs at this point. It is easy, easy to see that some of my children have done well with the experience. I am also quite convinced that homeschooling is the only hope for James and Ben to actually get an education. I also have a few other children that all my energy is put into constant power struggles and arguments and I often wonder if the strain of homeschooling them will intimately hurt our relationship.
The reality is that I have many children from many backgrounds and traumatic beginnings. There is not going to be a clear "best" that fits all of them; I am really just going to have to pray for them and do what I feel is best for them as individuals. In Julia's case, right now, it's going to school. I am only planning on sending her to 1st grade next year and then I hope to be able to pull her back out and home school her along with Elijah and the new little girls.
Since yesterday was Julia's first day, JD stayed home until Julia was at school. She was very excited heading to the bus with her new back-pack and lunch-box, but the bus never made it's scheduled appearance. JD took her to school and I went to the transportation office to work out the kinks.
First day - I pinned a note on her with her name, the teacher's name, the bus number and "This is my first day" plea to anyone who saw her standing around looking confused. I figure that they aren't walking kids to class at this point and she would need a little extra guidance!
Today we walked down the drive way and the bus indeed came at the scheduled time. Julia hopped right on and I was relieved, (because there would be little hope of me getting her on unless she wants to go).
She sure is cute for being such a stinker!
Julia still carries Magnum around like when we first got him; it won't be long that he is as big as her.
I intended on taking a picture of Julia boarding the bus, but I was too distracted trying to remove Lincoln and Magnum from in front of the bus wheels so the bus driver could actually drive off.
Tori, Elijah and I took a little walk on the way home from the bus stop (and I only cried a little).