Well, the day we both dreaded and were so excited about has finally arrived: Fulton's and Marialina's first day of school away from home!
"What?" you say. "I thought you were a homeschooling family!"
Yes. We are.
But we are also a family with children who have many needs and I have long come to realize that I am not SuperMom. Not by a long shot. I know my limits and a wonderful opportunity came our way like an answer to a prayer. So let me explain.
CJ, Virginia and Shannon will continue to work through their MODG curriculum at home. The girls will have additional help through MODG teacher assisted and teacher directed programs while CJ just has dear old Mom as his teacher.
Fulton will be starting Kindergarten with me this year on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However he will be attending a preschool program for the other 2 days a week for socialization issues. Yes, yes, I know all the arguments about homeschooled children and how children actually fare better in life WITHOUT 'socialization'. But hear me out.
Ever since the accident, when we go to a playground or any other social setting where there are children he does not know, he always gets the "Woah! What happened to you!?"
Bless his heart, Fulton is terrific at answering their questions and most times, the children play with him for the brief time we are there. (Or sometimes they chose not to play with him, which is fine for a child, too. *sniff*) But the problem is that we always go home and never see the other children again. So the next time we go, he has to 'lather, rinse, repeat' without ever getting to a point where everyone is comfortable enough with each other to start playing pirates or dinosaurs. No one really ever gets past his burns, and he never develops relationships with other children. No playdates, no birthday parties, etc.
I know these are not absolute musts for him, but he is a very social creature and needs the playtime outlet with other children. (He was SO excited about playing with other children his age last night and this morning, it was hard to settle him down!) We are the only young family where we live, and since we go to Mass an hour and a half away from home, all the other younger children he knows live way too far for him to visit.
The doctors at Shriners say it is important that he not only learns how to deal with the initial reactions from others, but that he learns that he can have longterm relationships with others as well. He has an extra barrier he must learn to help people break through.
Rest assured, he is in a very safe place. Jay's parents' church runs the preschool program and they have been praying for him from the beginning. They know his story well and are so excited to have him. We feel they are well equipped to handle any issues that may come up and look forward to the new experiences he will have over the course of the year.
Marialina gets to go to school with her big brother but unlike Fulton's reasons, I really do not have as many good reasons for her to go, beyond the fact that I desperately need the babysitting time so I can keep the older children on track with school. We are a semester behind because I was in Galveston with Fulton for so long, so we have A LOT of catching up to do over the next few months. If we see she is not loving her playtime there after the week or so needed for adjustments, we have the option of unenrolling (is that a word?) her and bringing her home at any time.
I have entrusted them to their Guardian Angels. And I will, of course, let you all know how the first day of school went for my little bunnies. Jay already told me a rather hilarious story about what happened when he dropped them off. ;) Stay tuned!