Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Education Dilemas

Throughout our parenting it has felt like almost every year we have had to make an educational choice. What school? What grade? Should we send our five year old or not. Both Jake and Noelle started Kindergarten at five, with May and June birthdays. They have both attended public and Christian schools. Noelle has home-schooled and used an online academy through the public schools. Sabrina is in a Christian school. We pondered and pondered whether to send her at five. Two schools tested her. One said no, and one said maybe. You would have thought this would have been a clear indication to wait. However, with Noelle's illness and other factors in our home we felt it was time for Sabrina to go to school full time. All of the other programs were half days. So we sent her. Now we struggle with, "Do we repeat Kindergarten or send her on?" I feel like if she had a less strong personality it would be an easier choice. Apparently she is bossy at school now. What would she do next year when she is the only one who has done all of this before?? I love her teacher. But would it be better to change schools so it is not so obvious that she is repeating. WOW!

Then there is Teme. Teme has attended school since October 2010. He is now in sixth grade. His ELL teacher says that he is still reading at a first grade level. He said that many of the new ELL students have come in with less skills than Teme and have now surpassed him. Students are beginning to question if there is something wrong with him. So we enter a new educational realm. He is being tested for learning disabilities. This was not really possible any early due to language difficulties. We will see the school social worker and have him tested at the University of Iowa's Center for Disabilities and Development. We are considering having brain mapping done with a chiropractic neurologist. There are so many issues. Teme never really crawled or walked in a traditional way. He was malnourished. He may have experienced brain trauma. His mom may have drank. Obviously all of these things would affect his ability to learn.

But I so hate to see him relegated to the Special Education classes. He is social, athletic and strives to fit in. I am overwhelmed.

I pray so for wisdom in all these decisions. I pray that Noelle will continue to heal and pursue her academic plans. She is the girl with the plan. She is studying for the ACTs. Which no one else in this family has ever done. Scott, Jake and I all had the same score. She plans to beat us:) Then she will go to Hawkeye, then she will go to Allen Nursing school. We have already visited an apartment, though she won't move in until Fall 2014. I pray for wisdom for Jake. He is still on hiatus from college. He is working hard and has been promoted to Team Leader. He still has no idea what he wants to major in. He will most likely have to retake some classes at Hawkeye before returning to Iowa State.

Jake said to me yesterday, "Mamacita, it is a great day to be alive!" I love that boy!!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Hi Diane!

Just wanted to give you my knowledge and experience of ELL students. Students who have a good grasp of their first language have a much easier time learning a second. As we well know, education is not always a priority in Ethiopia and you probably know if Teme had any type of education or knew how to read in Amharic. So it may not be a learning disability at all but he was never given the tools required for reading.

I've been following your blog and it's great to see you guys and how big Sabrina has gotten! What a cutie! Hope everyone recovers from Lyme disease soon. I can't imagine how difficult this has been for you and your family. Eli has a little brother now, Javi, who's 17 months. He's not legally our yet, as the foster/adopt system can take some time. Our fingers are crossed!!

Looking forward to seeing your family heal and prosper!

With Love,