Many in the medical community warned us……your foster children will not be ‘normal’. They said Aggie Baby would not be ‘right’, Aiden would need care for the rest of his life, and that JoJo will forever be altered……..AND, all of that might prove to be true. They told us to consider these abnormalities before we decide to adopt them (yeah, like we ever needed even a moment to consider). Yet, we don’t care. We don’t care if they are not ‘normal’, as we know with vast experience that no one is normal. Some are just better at adjusting to what society deems normal and others are better at hiding the weirder parts of themselves. Aside from serious mental issues that cause harm to others, we are all full of little idiosyncrasies that make the human race unique and interesting. Our ‘faults’ give God a chance to show us beauty and grace, as we allow Him to mold us into the people He needs for His service…….if we only get out of the way and let Him 🙂
With that said, we do not have our heads in the sand. Children born addicted to drugs and who have suffered terrible pain and abuse at the hands of their biological parents or others will not grow up unscathed by their unfortunate circumstances. Even if you get them at birth and do everything within your power to ‘love it away’, as a lot of adoptive parents think they can in the early years. It will manifest in some way, either right away, or years down the road. Research proves this time and again, but that doesn’t mean these children do not need a stable home, loving care givers, a beautifully nurtured life, and the space to grow into what God wants them to be……amazing things can be accomplished with love, knowledge and God’s Hand.
Ok, so what does this have to do with homeschooling Aiden’s first grade year? Everything. In Aiden’s case, he got beat up…..a lot. The neurologist explained that boxers suffer brain consequences when they receive too many blows to the head. Aiden is not a boxer and you get the picture 😦 As a result, he has a few developmental delays that were caused by a toxic cocktail of post traumatic stress, mental health issues that run in his biological family……one that JoJo got too……and neglect. Creating a curriculum of learning for such a child is monumental, yet a tad overwhelming.
With all great challenges comes a chance for great blessings, and God does not disappoint once again. It took a while last year to figure out that a box curriculum will simply not do. He just could not comprehend everything that the Sonlight readers were trying to convey. Some concepts just eluded him, so I had to figure out ways to help him visualize things. Little Hands to Heaven was great, but not advanced enough. His grasping ability and comprehension was stuck somewhere between preschool and Kindergarten. So I scraped the formal curriculum’s, delved into Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind, which I always come back to for all of our kids, and researched the Charlotte Mason approach. It worked.
So this year, I set aside 2 weeks to create Aiden’s first grade year, complete with schedules, teaching plans, forms and materials. I’m optimistic that it will not only work for Aiden, but for JoJo and Aggie and any child who does not thrive with a homeschool ‘program’ or is ‘in-between grades’. In a series of posts I will share what I’m using and why, our goals, and what I have found works in our years of homeschooling, and what doesn’t.
Prayerfully, this work will produce good fruit. That’s all any parent can ask for.