Friday, January 14, 2011

Homeschooling and other issues...


I have been researching homeschooling stuff for like 2 years. When Lilianna was in Kindergarten she spent a lot of time getting into trouble so I thought about pulling her out and homeschooling her. Time was a real factor then because I worked such long hours.
After all of my researching I thought I was ready for homeschooling Alex when she got here.
We decided on Sonlight and I do really like it...there are lots of great books, it isn't too time consuming but there is good stuff.

I was so excited when the stuff got here and we started that day. We did some Time 4 Learning with her too before Sonlight got here and it was abysmal. She literally just clicked through without listening or caring what it was trying to teach her....she clicked through the quizzes on anything without even trying to get the right answers...she would just click on an answer before the question was even finished being asked.

When we started sonlight we would go over the same things over and over again. I can't begin to tell you how many times I explained nocturnal to her. Ben and Zoe both know what nocturnal means....Alex doesn't...she just smiles with a blank look whenever she gets asked a question.

Apparently, she says at Beacon House if you didn't answer, they wrote down the answer for you and then asked you again and then if you didn't answer it, they just asked someone else. So she has told us that she doesn't want to learn anything. She has told us that she knows we will give her food and clothes and she doesn't have to do anything to get them so she isn't going to.

How do you motivate that to learn? All we can really do is surround her with the other kids and their enthusiasm for learning and hope it rubs off. Last night, Lilianna spent a lot of time reading one of her new books so we let Alex sit in the dining room with her and read a book too.

As you can imagine....her attitude squashed all of the excitement I had about homeschooling Alex. I think if we had some sort of testing metrics to give ME and Her a feeling of accomplishment that might help. Cindy Lajoy is homeschooling and they have a center or resource that tests her kids and wow what a great feeling for her and the kids get when they keep testing higher and higher! Good for them! I haven't found anyway to measure our success or lack therof!

Last night, Keith caught her chewing on her earring. She said she decided she didn't want it anymore so she was chewing on it so we would give her new earings. Ummm....i don't think so. She now has no earrings and won't get any new ones until she starts showing a little bit of respect towards her things. We have already taken all of her jewelry (that isn't a me) away. She just recently earned back the right to play with Barbie dolls and I am not entirely sure how long that is going to last.

We had to move her out of the girl's room to a bed in the living room because we can't trust her with the other kids. She has done some disconcerting and concerning things and says inappropriate things that I don't want the other kids to she is on parent lockdown. She has to be with a parent at all times and not allowed to be alone with the other kids. I want to clarify that I am not worried about anyone's safety...I just want to be able to be there as Alex's American concience until she understands what is appropriate. It is exhausting emotionally for us and for her. She is emotionally and functionally around 4yo....she loves to watch, sing and dance to the wiggles and barney. I understand and am supportive of her playing with whatever toys and watching whatever videos she likes. I think it is OK. However, my 2 year olds (even Zoe) and my 4 year old are able to focus, and follow directions better than she is and I think that is a problem.

She was in an institution for a year and a half, not 9 years. My hope is that this is just adjustment and depression that will ease up after she has had time to adjust. On more than one occassion she has said that she doesn't want to be a part of "this family". Who can blame her we are crazy hahaha!

So, we have taken a small holiday break from schoolwork as we determine if we need to place her in our local public school or if we need to just keep at it. I have a vacation coming up and maybe I will take her someplace for an educational evaluation. I understand the IA clinic in Cinicinatti is good....

Zoe is responding great with great leaps and bounds. She used to have these spectacular raging tantrums and they are almost gone now. We still see one every once in a while if she is really tired...but for the most part they are gone. Zoe is talking up a storm...some of it is still babble but she is verbally ahead of where Zebby was at her age. Her receptive language is amazingly good...if you tell her 2 and 3 step commands she is all over it. She is a really smart little girl and is full of lots of love.

So any suggestions are appreciated!


A. Gillispie said...

Oh my friend, I'm so sorry for the frustrations! It seems to me that one of the great advantages to homeschooling is that you CAN take it easy for as long as she needs, and just focus on learning how to be in a family. When my kids came out of public school they had such bad habits that we took most of the rest of the school year just to de-frag and learn to love learning again. They had forgotten that it could be fun. Another thing that popped into my mind is that maybe Alex is dealing with anxiety? Some of the things you wrote reminded me of how Bright would respond--and he has MAJOR anxiety issues. Kids that don't feel good about themselves often hide behind "I don't want to do it anyway!", right?

Hang in there. I know I am just one opinion among many, but if you are still struggling with attachment, maybe it would cause things to go even more south if you "sent her away" for school? It would give you the break you need though, which can be a NEED in these scenarios. With my attachment-challenged child she subconsciously tries to sabatoge things to prove to herself that, "See, they will give up on me if I'm not good."

Hard stuff! Hang in there!

Michelle said...

Thanks Anita! I think we are just going to take it easy a little longer....I feel like there is some depression and adjustment disorder kicking...more time will help I am sure...but it is still so frustrating!

RylansMom said...

Hey Michelle, I have a friend that has 5 kids and homeschools them. They are also very active in church. She does soo much for the SHEM organization. Maybe she would have some advice for you. She is on my FB acct..let me know.

Cindy LaJoy said...

Oh Michelle, I am so sorry this has bcome so frustrating. What you are dealing with is definitely not just homeschooling, there are so many things going on for Alex and maybe it isn't a good idea to homeschool right now...maybe public school would put a buffer there for you, and would be something that would encourage her to be different around other kids.

Older child adoption can be SO challenging on so many levels, but you guys are doing a great job and are wise enough to see the deeper layers of what is going on. Figuring it all out takes a lot of time and patience, and may take years (not what you want to hear, I know) but it has been a very short period of time and adjustment is a lot of work. Her attitude may require some very serious intervention as it may be the depression you mentioned, it could be attachment related, hard to tell yet but over time you'll find some answers.

Hang in there,

Beth said...

You might be interested in Corey's blog at watchingthewaters dot com. She has a wealth of first hand experience with attachment issues and older child adoption.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the comments! We are really, really considering public school for Alex right now. Keith is really frustrated and having the girls at home all day long is not doing much to fill HIS tank. Alex did really good this weekend being excited about and really focussing on her time4learning.
Of course, I am no expert, but her issues seem more depression/anxiety/adjustment than attachment..but the whole "sending" her away to public school does worry me!
Looks like I need some serious prayer time!

The Stevens said...

Michelle, have you consider Christian counselor? I know when Aiden gets here we are starting counseling ASAP to be PROACTIVE instead of reactive so not only can we address any issues he might have but also address some parenting ideas or insight that we might need to help him reach his potential. As you know each child is different, she might need the extra help. I went around and around about homeschooling Aiden, but found a Christian private school and i think thats the best for everyone! He loves school right now and sometimes they need the structure and expectations set outside of the everyone can maintain their sanity!!! Good Luck, your in our prayers

Megan, aka LadyofMoonlight said...

Our older son came home at age 2 from Ethiopia and we dealt with a lot in terms of attachment and trauma. He was only institutionalized for 3 months and he was pretty much a baby, but it still took him 2.5 years before we finally got to the root of it all. Attachment is a looooong process and attachment disorders can take many, many different shapes. I would strongly recommend looking into attachment, if only online. I would also recommend against public school at the moment! It could be highly counter productive to her adjusting and attaching.

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power