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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homebound, Homeschool, Charter, SpEd, oh my

Here it is again, the topic of school. Me, the mom who would rather homeschool for the first few years of education, and the battle of the pressure to send her to school. It is a constant stress in my heart.

I searched, interviewed and toured charter schools in April and May to prepare for Gabriella's 1st grade year this fall, fully knowing I was not going to put her in a general public school after what we saw and experienced for Kinder and those overworked teachers. I finally found a brand new school that I felt comfortable with, a place that FINALLY seemed like I could handle sending her to school. They have a dedicated speech therapist ON STAFF and a crazy strong focus on the students physical and mental well being. We got my godson into it and my sister in law even got a job there! Things were looking forward for Gabriella's ability to flow into a school setting and me be comfortable with it.

Then I got a call from the special ed department of the new school while Gabriella was in the hospital last month. Long story short, he proceeded to tell me that because another district wrote her IEP and she was on homebound status for Kinder, she would need to remain homebound through them until they were in a position to reevaluate her again and take her off homebound, then they would transition her slowly into a classroom setting. I was heartbroken, mainly because I had convinced myself this was what was happening, I was sending my princess off to school with kids and germs and self-sufficiency. I got my head wrapped around it, got her excited for it (even through her apprehensiveness) and it was going to happen. Then I was told to just erase my plan, it was all changing. That was a lot of work on my heart to get where I was and I did not take the news well.

Then it dawned on me, she was in rejection and given those hard core meds to stop it, which also meant knocking out her immunity again. Not only was she educationally and socially being held out of starting 1st grade, but now it was also medically necessary. I spoke to our transplant coordinator and she confirmed what I was thinking, and said it could be a few months into the year before her bloodwork shows us she is back at a level thats safe to be in school like that.


So now we are going to be starting 1st grade, yet again as a homebound student. We will be assigned a teacher, and after a couple months of homebound (medically permitting) she will start mornings only with me going with her, slowly weaning her (or me) into full time school. I don't know about you, but to me this is sounding like she will not be full time 1st grade until January or so.

I am struggling, yet again. Homebound, again. I feel even more now like she would be getting a better quality education if I enrolled her in the virtual home charter academy I have heard such great things about. Committed wholly to home school, local co-op field trips and groups, and the flexibility to meet all doctors, therapies AND school at our time schedule. Instead, we will spend another half of a school year in limbo... which doesn't excite me. Gabriella needs a structure, to be challenged and to be busy... and I feel I can have better control over that if I just commit to homeschooling.

I need to pray about this some more and try and eliminate from my pleas to God what MY plan is. School has been something of a struggle for me from the moment Gabriella was diagnosed, and I wish I had clarity towards one decision or another. Could you drop a line to God on my behalf? See if He tells you anything? :)


Anonymous said...

She will do great, especially with KUMON being done. Better safe then sorry on germs.

It's a Sparkling Mom's Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
It's a Sparkling Mom's Life said...

I understand Kristi what you are going through it's so hard. With all Jack's stuff we put Jewel in school for a few weeks and she came home sick every time. It was December and everyone was just miserable and it just wasn't good for Jack. He also is supposed to not get sick. Next to impossible with other kids in school So we stick with the homeschooling. I think she is lucky to have you and you know you can make anything work! You are her super mom and she has everything she needs. It's hard but it's also simple make your commitment and always remain flexible. Our plans have to be changeable. We never know what the future holds but live for the moment. XOXO You are brave Lots of love to you all xoxo

Mindy said...

I have a lot of experience w/ special ed depts when it comes to my kids. Most of them are not that great ! BUT I had to learn a lot about the laws etc. If the new school wants her to be evaluated, you can request they do that ASAP ! If you send a certified copy ( request signature ) They have a certain amount of days to respond , in Texas its 60 days I believe. HOnestly I do not know if what he said is actually true. What if a kid moves into a district ? Are they going to tell a mom they have to go BACK to that district in order to change a status ? It does not make a lot of sense to me . ( But I am not 100% sure ) IF you have a docs note that says she can attend school that should be all they need. If you want her to go to the school I would contact an Advocate and ask them if this evaluation thing is true .
Also If she is home schooled the district can and has to provide her w/ speech at HOME ! Feel free to email me if you like . I will say this and it sounds bad. Do NOT Believe everything a school says as the truth, They do not always do what is best for a child, its about money !!! To me it sounds like this district does not want to evaluate her ? (it costs money) The school does what is best for the school first ! Unfortunately you have to take what they say , research it and show yourself they are doing the right thing. Good luck with what ever choice you make, Gabriella is a very strong girl , she will do great anyway !

Lisa Marie said...

my daughter was born with damaged lungs that didn't develop right..germs were the big issue, also hearing loss and physical delays..i wasn't committed to homeschool until sending her to school..she's a kindergarten drop 12 studying at junior high,high, and some college levels..i've unschooled her since she was 5...and i have been through hell myself with a series of brain injuries,homelessness,ptsd,and half my family dying...if i can do it, anybody can...pray about it, God will make a way...God Bless ~


Kristi - I have followed your story for a long time and prayed for you many times.

My 16 year old daughter finished her junior year homebound after collapsing on April 12th and being unconscious for 25 minutes. Long story short - I am commenting from her hospital room in cardiac peds at Duke Medical Center awaiting a treatment plan for her that more than likely includes a pacemaker among other things. She, also, will begin the school year on homebound... as a senior!

She's not thrilled about it, and neither am I for her. But at least I KNOW she will be germ free (I'm kind of a germ freak with her now!) and in a safe environment where if something happens to her we are right with her to keep her calm and get her through it.

I'll keep praying for your Gabriella!

Hugs to you from another heart momma!

Unknown said...

Kristi, I will pray with you that God will open your heart to His definite plan for G's education. But if your heart is leaning towards homeschooling, then maybe He already IS opening your heart. Homeschool is misunderstood and I think that is why people say the things they do about it. It is a wonderful option in educating our children. Praying God's will be done.....and for Princess G's FULL recovery.

The Hopeful Elephant said...

Hey Kristi...

Do you have K12 in Arizona? I'm gonna look it up here in a second. It's an online FREE virtual school and they work with the public school system. AND they are totally IEP friendly. Here..they TOTALLY do have it in AZ

Seriously, this school has changed my life. In the best ways possible!

xoxo, Heather

Miss Amy said...

Kristi and Gabriella, and family,
Just wanted to say I am thinking about you all and I missed you guys yesterday (Friday afternoon). Sorry to read about all the changes with Gabriella's 1st grade year. I know you were both so excited about the new school. If you ever need anything, I am still here:) You all are always in my thoughts and prayers.