Ok, so this is much unlike all of the other 'first day of school' pictures you will see on peoples blogs, of kids in their new outfits, freshly washed hair & fancy backpacks. I had dreamt of that day I'd take that same picture of my curly haired princess. It probably would have been 2 weeks ago when the schools in our town started class.
Granted, I still wish I was taking that picture. As I watch all of my momma friends I bonded with so closely 6 years ago in our pregnancy stages send their big kids to Kindergarten, I envy their experience.
Of course, it isn't me unless I focus on the alternative. Sure, I can sit and sulk, or I can find joy in what we have. Gabriella is alive, here with me, and I am able to spend all day with her and teach her the basics myself. We started home schooling today, and I took my own unique picture of her.... one you won't see on many blogs!
I spent most of the lessons evaluating her. Our Kindergarten experience is far too unique anyways, given her stroke gave us quite the hurdle to overcome. Not only do we need to learn all of the normal K things, we need to work on getting her talking at a K level! And when she learns something, she may know it but not be able to tell me she knows it... so we will focus on our own personalized schooling style through the next year to get her on track. Gabriella thrives on praise and shuts down on failure. She is much like me, and if she does not succeed she is closer to throwing in the towel than pushing on. With her speech delay, I think I can better maintain that at home where she isn't comparing herself to the other kids and can show her the one on one she needs to succeed through her own special hurdle.
Home schooling will also serve in our favor due to her sporadic yet frequent doctors visits and keeping her healthy in this highly immunosuppressed time. We will return back to Arizona 2 months into the school year, where she'd miss the beginning of school. Also, flu season is right around the corner... and with her immunity being so low and 5-6 year olds being cootie bugs, we just CANNOT risk that.
Kindergarten is not required in Arizona, so my home schooling is not exactly necessary. But had we been home and had she not walked the journey she has, she would be going with her cousin to K and learning all she needs to in this time. I want to treat K like it IS required and get her ready for 1st grade, just in case she wants to go to school and not be home schooled at that time. When we return home, though, the school system will come to our home and assist us with therapies as well as returning to clinic speech therapy with the lovely Mrs Lisa.
With the help of some awesome HSing friends, we built our own little lesson plan for the year with a combo of programs I bought. We started today with writing where I identified how many letters she could write based on my verbal command as well as learning how to write the 'new' letter F. We did math (counting) where my worst worry was made true. Since her stroke, her hardest thing to retrieve has been numbers... she has only retrieved how to count to 5 since her stroke 10 months ago, and even though we ONLY added the number 6 to that today she still cannot remember it. This is due to her expressive aphasia so I am going to need to get very creative to teach her counting (song?). She then worked on reading, which I think is going to be her strong suit. She already has mastered 2 new letters sounds in one day, so I am super excited to see how she progresses with that! Our bible lesson & art/science were on hold because I need to access a printer to get my materials, so hopefully tonight I can run and do it! And we have a 'basics' lesson at the end of the day where I will do colors, shapes, money, time, comparisons, etc with her. Today we evaluated how well she could verbalize her colors and shapes... again a hurdle in itself because of the speech delay.
So that was our day! I figure we will have school days 3-4 times a week, depending on doctors appointments. And I'm super excited for the next year!!!!!!!!!!