It is also going smoother for one of my full-time homeschooling boys. I don't know exactly what has changed, or if it will last, but he is progressing nicely lesson to lesson in several subjects and there are definitely other years I would have never said that.
Tori is really struggling in the 2nd grade class-room. I accept responsibility for some of that because I constantly shortchanged her and Julia in the school department because James and Ben take SO MUCH TIME everyday. Tori would silently sneak off to play and there were too many times I didn't force her back, because I was drowning trying to keep James and Ben on track. Julia hasn't suffered as much just because she is younger. Beyond the time factor though, reading isn't coming easy for Tori. We drill and drill and she has to memorize a lot of spellings that other kids seem to just be able to hear.
I will say that it's possible that I now spend more time "schooling" Tori and Julia with their homework than before they went to school. Since Tori is going to school, she is getting four intensive rounds of phonics a day. She participates in her 2nd grade reading group, also goes down to the first grade reading group, has a reading specialist teacher that takes her for another round every afternoon and then JD or I do all the reading homework with her every afternoon. We (the school and I) are hoping that we will see a big difference in a few months with the intensiveness of her program.
The reality is that I hoped to have the home schooling experience with my four adopted children that I had with my first four biological children. It was probably "pie in the sky" dreams considering I adopted children that had lead poisoning, were malnourished, had malaria and lived in an orphanage environment. I just really was not prepared for how much my kids would struggle with day to day learning. I see daily struggles and patterns that totally dumb-found me; I really don't think there are many people on the planet who can day after day teach a simple concept, only to have the child stare at you the next day like they have never even seen such a problem, and not become discouraged.
I was near tears every night the first few weeks of school. I start homeschooling James and Ben at 8 a.m.; I can seldom walk away even for a moment and have them stay on track. If I was lucky, we could finish by 4 p.m. when the girls get off the bus. I would then have three to four hours of homework between Moriah, Tori and Julia. Now that Moriah is working on her own, I'm down to about two. Thankfully, now that JD comes home at a decent hour, he is taking about half that load as well. Two hours is still too much for us to have any evening life beyond homework and dinner, but I am not near as over-whelmed and discouraged as I was two weeks ago. We are taking the kids roller skating tomorrow night for James' birthday and It will be the first night in four weeks that the kids have gone anywhere on a school night!
What does this mean for Selah and Bella (and Brooke)? It means I totally expect them to have serious learning challenges. (Unfortunately, it also means that I have many more years of challenging teaching!) It also means that I will have more realistic expectations and won't be as flabbergasted when they respond the way my current crew does. I will definitely keep them home the first year for bonding purposes, but then I will have have to see if it seems in their better interest to home school or send them for a year or two of school. I will definitely home school Brooke, since she isn't fluent in English; I just have to be realistic in how many Kindergartners I can juggle alongside of what I have going now.
I would so love to be a fly on the wall of some other large, adoptive, homeschooling families to see if they have some secret that I haven't discovered! I have to say that if I got things my way, I would be homeschooling all of them, and we would all attend Classical Conversations together, but my plan wouldn't include Julia's challenging daily behavior or the learning challenges that send me to my chocolate stash in the closet! I am hoping that "my way" will be more realistic in just a year or two!
Keeping it real - Jenny