Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School! (Morning Edition)


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.

Marialina and Fulton will be attending preschool programs from 9am to 2pm every Tuesday and Thursday.  This will free up 2 days a week for me to focus entirely on the older childrens' school without interruption.

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!


  1. God bless you and your family. What a brave little boy...I hope he loves it there!

  2. Prayers for your school year and for a wonderful new school year for Fulton. God bless you all!

    Love in Christ,


  3. Each parent does what is best for each child and their family. Sounds like you have a wonderful plan. :)

  4. You could move up to Maple Hill and have a load of playmates for him. ;) But seriously, God bless you for using prudence and wisdom with your family; it's not easy to let go of what we ultimately want and just trust. I am praying for you and your kiddos during this translation.


  5. Dear Cassandra,
    Oh you are a wonderful mama.
    Looking at the needs of your children and adjusting your own expectations and hopes to fit.
    I pray that they both settle in well and enjoy their time at the school and you catch up on those other things you need to
    God Bless

  6. You are making decisions based upon what YOUR family needs and most of us, Praise the Lord, have never had to make decisions like these because we have never been in a situation like Fulton is. You are doing what is best for him, despite your original plans, because it is what YOu feel is best. What great parents you truly are. Fulton is blessed to have you in his life and looking out for what he needs. As far as Marialina goes, she looks pretty thrilled to be going to "school" with her big brother. That's probably good for the both of them in ways we can only imagine. Congrats on making tough decisions (again) and trusting in God.
    Julene =)

  7. Homeschooling looks different for every family. I have many friends who send some children to school so they can focus on other children. One of the benefits of homeschooling is it flexibility, even if that means sending some children to school. And I know being far from friends can be hard. We are blessed with many good friends close by, but we have several who travel to our parish like you and I know how hard it is on their kids. My Fulton's friends no longer see his wheelchair, although they still ask questions, but I know it won't be long before your Fulton's classmates see past the bandages. Good luck to you and Fulton!!

  8. God bless you and your beautiful family, Cassandra. It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful school year. Fulton and Marialina look absolutely adorable. My kids never fail to mention him by name every night during the rosary. Love and prayers, my sweet friend.

  9. Well, this is all new territory for you all and I applaud your decisions as they seem to be based on experience, thoughtfulness, love for Fulton and your family and I am glad that Fulton has YOU for his mom!

  10. Hello Cassandra, My sister lead me to your blog when I came to her with questions about helping a little 3 year old girl in the Congo who has been burned by her extended family members after being accused of being a witch. I came home in September with my 5 1/2 yr. old daughter from the Congo and my heart bleeds for this little one. She has suffered, among other injuries, burns to the outside and inside of her mouth as well as a serious burn to her leg. I am putting together whatever supplies I can to send over with friends who are travelling there in 2 weeks - they will be travelling with our agency staff - and my sister said that you had mentioned a homeopathic burn cream that you found to work well on your son. Plastic surgeons we have contacted are suggesting we bring homeopathic type creams rather than medicated ones as they cause serious reactions. I'm not sure how else to contact you other than posting here... They will be flying out (we're in Canada, in BC) on the 11th so I am hoping to have all supplies to them by then. My email is agnesbartle@gmail.com. If you are able to share any advice that would be much appreciated. I will include a link here to my agency's blog post about this little girl. The photos are hard to look at. Thank-you so much!