Saturday, January 28, 2012

Educational Assessment

So yesterday was a day we had been waiting for for a long while. We got the results of Iris's educational assessment. Backing up a bit, I should mention how we got to that point in the first place.

Last fall I was getting so frustrated and felt like everywhere I turned I wasn't getting any real help for Iris. We had a therapist who couldn't help her and a psychiatrist who simply wanted to medicate her. Great. I turned to the internet and found a message board for parents of children who had, well, issues. I posted an intro about myself and our situation and immediately began getting feedback. Several people said "she needs a neuropsych evaluation to make sure her issues don't have underlying causes" to which I said "what now?!" and blew it off. So then I became more anxious and asked the psychiatrist about it and he referred us to a local agency that does that sort of testing. I called, the man I spoke with was extremely helpful and extremely nice, but I knew we didn't have the money to cough up for the tests. I figured out that we could use save a bit on the testing by using 2012's FSA money for it and signed Iris up to be tested first thing in January. We went in two separate days and were there just under two hours each day.

That brings us to yesterday, sitting at a table in a stuffy office staring at Iris's test results. This is where it gets a little tricky for me, as I want to respect Iris's privacy just a wee little bit so I am not going to break it all down here in public, but suffice to say we got some really, really important information about Iris that is going to help us tremendously when it comes to figuring out what the next steps are for her schooling and what kind of support she needs. It might have taken years of trial and error to have figured this out, if we ever did, and I am so grateful that we decided to do the testing.

Last night when I was on the phone with my mom filling her in on the news she said, "well, do you think this is good news or bad?" and I had to stop and think. I mean, yes, overall, very good news to have an answer. But "bad" news in that, wow, we have so much work to do! I am already panicking because so many schools already have the ball rolling for next year-- in fact, a few of the private schools I looked up already have an application deadline that has passed.

I have said for a while that I would happy to keep homeschooling Iris if that was the right thing for her, but I am not so sure I am really the right teacher for her anymore. I can teach to an assigned curriculum pretty well, but I have zero idea how to teach to a kid who has abilities outside of the norm on top of having issues that interfere with her ability to learn in the first place.

For sure the one thing I know I will be doing is focusing more heavily on math for a while. Iris's tests showed that she had a gap between what she is capable of doing and what she is doing, most likely because she hates math and it is BORING for her. I am going to focus more on her new math curriculum and see if that helps. If not, I am going to be scrambling for yet another math curriculum for her. Um, yay? Guess where she gets her disdane for math from????

I do keep meaning to update on the other fun things we are doing and really hope to get back to doing that soon. I will probably start peppering this blog with tales of our journey in to getting Iris in to the right school program, as well. The excitement never ends around here!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting Home School in the New Year

Oh, man. So this blog here? Turns out it has been harder than I expected to keep up with. The small amount of time I feel like giving to blogging on any given day I tend to use it for my main blog.

We had a fun Christmas Break. Since Iris's school follows Eloise's school schedule, she had off two and a half weeks of school. It was a wee bit exhausting to get back in to the swing of things, but we did just fine. I decided to add up the lessons we had left and we have five more weeks of lessons than we have of school left so I need to figure that out. It is a little tricky for me because many lessons we do Iris already knows the material, but because everything has a sequence to it I haven't quite figured out the trick to skipping lessons. For now we double up any day we have time and that seems to work just fine.

This week and last week Iris went in to do an educational assessment to see where she is at, learning and  education wise. I am really anxious to get the results because it is (hopefully) going to help immensely in steering us in the right direction for her schooling for next year. I think it's in the back of all of our minds that we have a good chance of homeschooling another year, as well.

Today I was lamenting on Facebook (yeah for immediate feedback!) that I am so stumped as to how to do school with Iris when she has almost zero attention span. I feel like I am just now sort of getting the hang of home school, in general, and now am on the path of working out how to home school MY kid, not just the generic kid who the books are teaching to. Maybe by the end of the year I will have it figure out! That is  one other reason I am (almost) completely okay with homeschooling another year . . . . I will have had this year to figure things out and could take next year to really run with it. Or at least, that is what I like to think!

Anyways, our days are a mix about 50/50 of actual 'sit down and follow the text' schooling and break times. There are many bursts of 'sit down' time and break time every day. Right now as I blog, Iris is using her break to do origami from the book her babysitter brought her. This is good, because while it isn't on the curriculum, it's still educational and keeping her engaged. Somehow she is jumping all over while she does it, so it's getting her energy out, too. Hmmm, maybe we have found some unknown connection between PE and Origami? Sounds good to me! Sometimes she uses her break to play Moshi Monsters or read or draw or play dolls . . . . it all works out well for her And me. Given my druthers we would cram all of the school in to one big three hour school session and then call it a day, but that just wouldn't work for Iris.

Hopefully I can catch up with what Eloise has been up to. Seems the Christmas Break was good for her, school wise!