I have been hesitant to blog now that my children are older and their privacy is the utmost concern, but there is a desperate need to hear from the Moms that have journeyed before.
So here i am.
Navigating the public school system has been by far one of the greatest challenges in our adoption. There is no right or wrong, and you will make so many mistakes along the way. There will be tears. You will cry. They will cry.
You will wonder if they will ever graduate. You will hear, "That's why I homeschool," from your well meaning friends and it will make you feel even more like you are an utter failure.
We can simply try, fail, and then get back up and try again. What works for me will not work for you, but we can learn from one another.
It's HARD. Oh so hard.
Joseph is 15 now, and still in middle school. When he came to live with us, we made the decision to put him in 5th grade at 12 years old and because of never setting foot in school before, we had him repeat 5th grade.
The days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months. We realized he loved to run and HE WAS GOOD AT IT! He started playing the saxophone and we saw him THRIVE.
We saw his self esteem flourish on the track. I realized that sports and band were just as important as academics. Then 7th grade rolled around and we realized he would lose his eligibility to run track and play basketball because he would age out. The same thing would happen his Senior year of High School.
At the time of trying to figure out grade placement, we didn't realize he would age out of sports. Sports wasn't even on the radar. We were so focused on what he was behind in academically, that we didn't see the importance of rounding out his education.
I talked to a local charter school and explored our options there, but realized they didn't have the ESOL support that our districted school had. I had round robin meetings with the Care teams that deal with this sort of situation, but we are truly a unique case.
Then one day, i simply poured my heart out to the principal. She told me about a program where Joseph could combine his core middle school subjects and finish them in one year so he could move on and not lose his eligibility. Essentially, he could do 7th and 8th grade together.
And this is where we are at this year. In August, he will be in high school, one grade placement behind his peers. He will not lose his eligibility to play high school sports and he will continue to play the sax.
I have lots of fears over this decision, but i'll save that for another post.