Back to School 2016-17


Our adventures in homeschooling officially ended after Spring Break last school year.  We found a small private school that accepted the state scholarship we had received.  The transition was hard for her because she was the new kid for a few weeks, but she made friends and went on great field trips and soon the school year ended on a high note.  She went to the middle school class, a one room school house for kids with a variety of special needs.  Many of her classmates are on the autism spectrum.   Her teacher and an assistant are pretty amazing at managing so many different learners.

My job last spring was to retire as the CEO of our homeschool.  It was a little sad for me, but I soon realized it was great to have time to work out, read books, and focus on my career, all the while knowing Kate was happy.  While I wish her school had a more inclusive approach to working with special education,  the school does have a very inclusive culture in other ways, such as creating a positive and affirming learning environment.  I like the fact that the school is small and everyone knows each other.  It’s very easy to call and get an issue resolved.  She is getting small group intensive reading four days a week this school year.  They have PE and social skills every day and monthly field trips.  She took the Iowa Test at the end of last year which will give us a good indication of her progress by the end of this school year.   The best thing I can say about her being back in school is that last week she was invited to a bowling birthday party of one of her classmates.  When we got there all her friends were happy to see her and she had a blast and never came looking for me.  Kate certainly is very social, so that isn’t the surprising part.  What was amazing for me to see was that for the first time since preschool she had a group of peers to whom she felt connected.

Our learning adventures continue.  Each morning on our way to school we listen to amazing audiobooks.  We set out to read 100 books during last school year, but haven’t met that goal yet.  We decided to keep going, to keep reading books she enjoys.  Most of them have been audiobooks and some are read-alouds.  We are taking our time and she is discovering great authors and book series.  The best moment for me was knowing that she loves Judy Blume as much as I did as a kid.  We just read our 67th book, The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickets, which we both enjoyed so much that we we ordered the next book in the series from the library.  She LOVES (and I endure) the Dork Diaries series.  We have also enjoyed books by Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She is so absorbed with listening to books that I have to turn off the book at least a block before we arrive at school so that she can transition to getting-out-of-the car mode.  It gives us something to look forward to every morning and I’m always amazed at what she retains from these stories.  She is certainly a book lover, even though she isn’t able to read them on her own yet.  I  often get very upset with her because the floor of her room is covered with piles of books and American Girl magazines.  The other day she took a kids cookbook from the shelf and she initiated reading some of the ingredients and titles of the recipes to me.  I tried to play it cool.  I didn’t want to over react out of fear that she would lose interest in reading, but in my heart I was doing the happy dance while wearing MC Hammer pants.

Until next post, I hope you’re well and reading something awesome!