So, things have changed! (again!!!) Where to begin?? I swear, its been such a roller coaster. First off, we did successfully withdraw Nik from middle school, which we'd planned for a while but set the date a week ago. (not sure if i mentioned that in my post) And i'm feeling so good about that! We actually chose nik first because he's the easiest, plus the long school day was really wearing on him. He's been going to bed early and getting up REALLY early and spending most of his time home just EXHAUSTED. Plus, he's had NO time to write his book, and that's really important to him. I discovered this curricula, The One Year Adventure Novel which seems PERFECT for him. The one caveat is that its for 8th on up, and he's a bit of a delayed 7th. However, he's HIGHLY motivated, and how can you turn down a highly motivated 7th grade boy. One thing i've learned, parenting, is that you do NOT discourage a teenager from a heavy academic endeavor even if it seems unlikely to work. So for the majority of english he'll be doing that. I'm also working on a mission statement/learning plan, i'll post it when I finish. its loooong.
Anyway, so we planned to pull Nik out of the public school, and successfully did, the only hitch being that he had a dentist appt wednesday, was sick thursday and nearly stayed home friday from the stomach bug we have going around our family, but i didn't realize that's what it was so i sent him late on friday. He wanted to be able to say goodbye to his friends! So I spent the rest of the day getting his enrollment paperwork for Meridian parent partnership program filled out and faxed. MP3 is an AWESOME program, which will classify us as public schoolers, even though I will still maintain all control over his curricula and whatnot. Its the perfect happy medium. I get some much needed funding toward educational items and keep good organization. The only real downside is that I HAVE to be really organized. its a LOT of accountability and honestly, i'm not sure I can hack it right now, but if not, i can always bail and make do with what we've got. I really wanted to get the adventure novel curriculum for him though and that was super expensive, plus time4learning, which will help to provide more work for him that doesn't involve me, so that's good!
So, i'm already 2 big paragraph's in and haven't even hit on the BIGGIE we have been dealing with this week. OY. I'm disgusted just thinking about it. This all went down on tuesday and I am still seething and just repulsed and confused and have NO clue how to deal with the situation.
Some background. First I called a meeting shortly after school started for Annabeth's teacher, principal, psychologist, learning coach, etc. to talk about getting her tested for a learning disability. She's had a lot of difficulty learning to read- which in and of itself is NOT a problem. I'm not a big believer in the "the child must be reading by 5" philosophy. Of course, i'm not a school district that needs to make itself look good, so that could explain part of it. So she's a lot behind in reading which i'd normally not be too concerned about. My 12yo didn't functionally read fluently till about a year ago, and my 16yo, the one who scored nearly perfect scores on his compass test in reading and writing, he wasn't reading at 7 either, it all works out. But in anna's case, i could tell last year that something was wrong. She started kindergarten 2 yrs ago ahead of the game, knowing all her letters and numbers and being inquisitive and obviously the smart girl that she is. Kindergarten moved slowly, but not a big deal, she's just a K, right. Well last year moved pretty slowly too. we had to repeat a LOT of lessons in her reading curriculum, she'd know it and then, seemingly forget it. Her handwriting wasn't improving. Spring of last year rolled around and with the difficulties we had been having with Asher all year we KNEW we had to do something. we prayed about it and felt lead to enroll the kiddos in PS next year. (this year) In retrospect, i don't know what happend with that. Have I lost all ability to understand God's will for our lives? we were both so sure! but this year has been a disaster! ugg. whole nother subject.
So this year, we enrolled them in school, I immediately sent an email to Anna's prospective teacher explaining her situation, and she was transferred to another class, with a more experienced teacher. Her teacher is AWESOME. She's super experienced, kind, compassionate, and I trust her with my most fragile baby. She, too has seen the issues i've been seeing with Annabeth. So anyway, I asked the teacher and principal if we could meet to discuss Annabeth's issues and try to initiate special education testing. The principal asked if we could also call in a few other specialists to see if they could help. So she did. it ended up being a pretty big meeting. I explained what I just did in this post, and they went on to reveal their testing results. It was a massive guilt trip, a "your child is operating at mid kindergarten level, look what you've done" guilt trip. I left the meeting, feeling like a complete failure. I quickly got it together and realized this was NOT my fault, and moved on. I had filled out paperwork at that meeting, requesting she be tested for a disability. My primary concern was NOT her reading or math skills but rather her difficulty in learning. When I read aloud to her, she can't tell me what I read about. In class, she doesn't understand her teacher and can't tell me what they studied. All the other kids including our Kindy son leif, CAN. Leif is quickly surpassing her in a lot of areas (they are very much alike personality and intellect-wise. even in appearance) SEE??
Today, even, after dad yelled at her for giving her a directive to wash the table 4 times, she broke down and was like "I just can't HEAR you with the music going!) by the way, her hearing test at her last physical was perfect.
So I made a visit to the school after the week before last week's visit to the Neurologist with Chloe, (That's my cutie- pictured above!) where she was diagnosed officially with aspergers. I wanted to see what needed to be done at the school regarding that and talk to her teacher, etc. (she, too has an awesome teacher, PTL!!!) So I went to the office and ran into the learning coach. She asked if i wanted to see the curriculum they use for the "at risk" kids (that would be Annabeth, of all ridiculousness!) she showed me the curriculum, explained that it was in the vast majority, phonics based, and tried to assuage my concerns about a sight word based reading program. She did! she also said she's be personally tutoring her each day. Sounded almost too good to be true. Turns out it was too good to be true. This week as she's been bringing home read aloud books (only one set this week, i think she only got either 1 or two tutoring sessions too. argh!) they were books that read like this:
I like bugs on pancakes, left page, (big picture of a frog eating pancakes with bugs on it on the right)
I like bugs on popcorn (same as above)
I like bugs on soup
I like bugs on bread
i like bugs on pizza,
I like bugs on salad,
i like bugs on cake,
I like bugs
The rooster wakes up- Cock-a-doodle-doo!
The cow wakes up- Moo, moo!
The pig wakes up, Oink, oink!
The horse wakes up, Neigh, neigh
the turkey wakes up, Gobble, gobble,
the sheep wakes up, baa baa!
the duck wakes up, quack, quack
And the chick wakes up- peep peep
So you can see this has virtually no phonetic element to it at all- there's repetition, and super obvious picture clues. Honestly i find it really disturbing. One that I was obviously misled, and two that the school district is even using this "memorizing" strategy of "reading" in general. OY.
So, i have her on queue to get testing with the neurological something or other at mary bridge, as soon as the dr. gets the paperwork faxed it would be about DECEMBER when she'd get in. OY, and that's if she did it right away, and i'm afraid that's probably not the case, since i've been absolutely swamping her tiny medical practice's office with neurology referrals!!!! So that's a game changer.
Oh, i haven't even dropped the bombshell yet! Ok, so tuesday, i got the mail, and in it, was a letter from the school. Saying, GET THIS, that they refuse to test her for learning disabilities. The REASON? because she was homeschooled last year and i just might have done a crappy job.
Problem 1 with this assertion is that even though I referred in the meeting to us as being "homeschoolers" which is my bad, we were technically only part time homeschooling and 99% public schoolers through a virtual academy. SO, i've been supervised all of anna's academic career. TRY AGAIN! ugg. Though truly, i have to say i'm extremely insulted. How dare they suggest that just because we were homeschooling that she wasn't learning anything. That's horrible.
And SECONDLY and most importantly, aside from their finger pointing and guilt tripping they missed the most important issue of all- that I wanted to have her tested, not because of her reading and math delay but because she can't understand group instruction! And HELLO! have you ever TRIED Teaching someone to read who can't hear you and frequently has to repeat lessons or start over?!? Yeah. that's where I'm at. I'm completely disgusted. i'm in the process of speaking with an advocate who can help me decide what we should do. I'm honestly leaning toward pulling her out of school ASAP. the problem being that dh really really wants us to do it one child at a time, so i can acclimate to my many responsibilities and that makes MUCH sense, but it feels like such a crisis now, that EACH of them need to be pulled for different reasons. not to mention the bigger collective family reason! Sigh... I swear, i'm just so emotional, i want to look at these people and SCREAM- THIS IS MY BABY! look at her! she's precious and fragile and she NEEDS you. Please CARE about her!!!! but its no use! I guess that's why God made ME her mama... to make sure she's treated right.
So anyway I see my options as basically
1. pull annabeth out of school altogether- don't even bother to go through testing with her (after fighting for it!)
2. Pull annabeth out of school BUT fight for testing, get it and have her tested. but still keep her out of school other than special ed. They legally have to do this I think.
3. keep her in school and fight for getting her tested. Honestly, i don't see any point in keeping her in school if she's not actually LEARNING anything. Sigh.... Any feedback?