Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Saturday, May 29, 2010

School Options for the Fall

Since moving up to the 4 year old room at her preschool, we have been less than thrilled with Hannah's new teacher. It's hard to put a definite finger on what bothers us, but it's definitely not been as positive of an experience as Hannah had in her 3 year old classroom. She doesn't seem to connect with her current teachers at all. In fact, in the mornings I usually drop her off before her teachers arrive so she goes into the 3 year old room until they get there. On those days she separates fairly easily and is welcomed warmly. When we arrive slightly later and the assistant teacher is already at school Hannah has a much harder time with me leaving. She clings to my leg, says she doesn't want to stay at school, and doesn't get noticed much by the teacher. There's not even a mention of anything like, "Do you want to run an errand with me Hannah?" or "Why don't we read this book together," to distract her from my leaving. She's left completely on her own to work it out. In her old room I got the sense that the teachers truly loved Hannah. They were concerned about her best interests. I just don't get that sense in her new room. I'm sure the teachers care about doing a good job and are kind to the children, but I don't get the sense that they really care about Hannah as an individual child. She's just another kid in the class to them is the feeling I get. I spoke with the teacher about our concerns for Hannah and our hopes for how her school experience would continue to go. I even sent her a LONG follow up email with more detailed information about Hannah and some tips about what works best for us at home with Hannah. We pretty much received the standard, "yeah, yeah I know what I'm doing and I don't need to do anything differently for your child." response. She was polite, but was pretty clear that she knew how to deal with kids with SPD and that she did not feel any need to adjust the difficulty of some of her activities to appropriately challenge Hannah because her lesson plans are all open ended enough for her to get the challenge she needs. The problem is that she's not getting the challenge that she needs. She never brings anything tangible home at all. There are no products of her learning. No art projects, writing attempts, cut and paste activities, etc. She still hasn't read anything at all in the classroom that the teacher is aware of and she will not encourage her to do so. Though I know that she does occasionally read to herself and other children during free play time in the afternoons after her teacher has left. It's all just very frustrating. As Hannah's academic abilities continue to progress at lightning speed and as we learn more about the kindergarten curriculum and environment at the public school we have become very worried about what we should do with Hannah when she turns five as far as schooling options. We've actually struggled pretty mightily about what to do for her this coming fall, but I think we've finally made our decision. We've decided to home school Hannah (using a kindergarten curriculum since she's more than ready already) this fall as a trial run to see if this is even a feasible option for kindergarten when she's five. If things go well we'll home school her for kindergarten (her five year old year) as well and then reevaluate where to go from there once she's old enough for first grade. If homeschooling is an epic fail then we really won't have lost anything since she technically doesn't have to be in any kind of school yet and she could already breeze through the academic portions of kindergarten so she won't be behind in that respect. To keep her social skills progressing we plan to enroll her in several classes at the local YMCA and let her join the local youth soccer program. She might even continue to go to her current preschool one day a week so that she can keep up the relationships she has already formed with the kids there, but I'm not sure if we'll go that route or not. Of course we'll continue to do all the fun stuff we like to do like go to the beach, the museum and the zoo, library story time, etc and look for as many play dates as we can get. I really think the social aspects of homeschooling will be Hannah's biggest challenge, but I'm hopeful that we can circumvent them with some good planning and a consistent routine as far as classes, standing play dates, story times, etc. I'm both excited and nervous at the same time about starting up homeschooling. I'm excited about all I can teach Hannah now that she's ripe for learning and happy about the extra time we'll have to do fun stuff, but I'm also worried that I won't be able to replicate the institutional structure that traditional preschool/elementary school provides. I guess we'll see how it goes. Like I said before, this is why we're doing a trial run now.

Today I was hoping to kick off our three day weekend by spending time at the beach or going to the zoo, but Hannah came home from school yesterday with a fever (102.5 degrees) and it didn't break over the night. Today it's been hovering in the 103. 5 degrees range. So much for fun outings. She's pretty congested, but other than that and the fever she has no other real symptoms. It appears to just be a cold. Let's hope it clears up before the weekend is over so that we can do at least a little bit of fun stuff.

Despite feeling crummy, Hannah managed to bless me with two very interesting conversations today. The first occurred while we were getting dressed this morning. She was stalling and wallering around on the floor when all of a sudden she sat up and asked, "Mommy, do you know about silver panels?" Confused, I replied, "Do you mean panels that are the color silver?" She said, "Yes, do you know how they work?" This confused me even more. What in the heck were silver panels? So, I asked her, "Hannah where did you learn about silver panels?" "From Curious George," she replied. It was then that the light bulb immediately clicked on inside my head. I said, "Do you mean solar panels?" She brightened and practically shouted, "Yeah, solar panels!" I remembered that about a month ago we had watched an episode of Curious George where too many air conditioners caused a black out in the city, but the Professor powered a generator at the museum using solar panels. A month ago! Apparently she'd been mulling the episode around in her head and wanted to know how solar panels worked and to find out if we had any! We talked in length about what little knowledge I had about solar panels (thankfully it was more than she knew and enough to satisfy her curiosity!) and I was able to show her the solar powered calculator we had and we experimented with it by placing it in the direct light and then hiding the collection panels from the light and watching it shut off. It was really fun.

The second conversation started as a discussion about germs, spurred I'm sure by the fact that she is sick. She was asking about whether or not germs had mouths and if they were monsters (thanks to a book she has that shows a cartoon picture of a germ) and what they looked like. I explained that germs are too little for us to see with our eyes and that I don't really know what they look like, but that different germs probably each look different just like different people do. I told her that in order to see what a germ looked like you need to use a microscope. At first she didn't know what a microscope was, but after I described one she piped up with, "Oh, like at the museum. I need one of those. I wish I had a really big microscope attached to my eyes so that could see really little things really big." On and on and on she went about wanting a microscope and about how she wanted one attached to her eyes. Maybe I'll have to get her some child sized binoculars. That's not exactly the same, but it's somewhat close and probably a better choice than a microscope. I'm not sure she's quite ready for a microscope, a magnifying glass maybe, but not a microscope. I do appreciate her desire though. I had a microscope as a kid (a much OLDER kid mind you) and I loved it. I had a blast preparing my own slides and examining the premade ones that came with it.

Photo Notes: In the first picture you see Hannah proudly displaying a picture she drew of our family. Pictured are Hannah, Daddy, Grandpa and Mommy, plus a flower. I'm the person on the top left that actually has a separate head and body. Notice the baby growing in my tummy. No, I'm not pregnant. It's just wishful thinking on her part and a reaction I think to a friend who recently had a baby. There's been a lot of references to a baby in my tummy lately!

The rest of the pictures are Hannah playing in the sprinkler in our backyard.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Big Girl Bike

Hannah got her first big girl bike the other day. She was really pumped about it, but when it came down to actually riding the new bike she was quite nervous. A kind coworker of Kyle's gave us his daughter's outgrown Dora bike complete with training wheels and a horn. The horn is Hannah's favorite part. It's one of those that has a metal funnel and a rubber ball at one end that you squeeze. It sounds like the horns clowns use. She blows that horn A LOT. Last night we finally convinced her to give the bike a try. I think she was nervous about being higher up and the wobbly feeling of the bike going back and forth between the two training wheels made her uncomfortable. But this new bike (new to us anyway) fits her so much better than her tricycle. Even though she's just recently gotten the hang of pedaling and steering her trike, she's much too big for it even at it's most adjusted setting. Her legs are just too long. The new bike solves that problem and should be much easier for her to ride once she gains some confidence. Kyle followed along beside her with his hand on her shoulder for awhile and then was eventually able to let go and move quite a ways away from her. Most of the time she spends looking down at the ground so we know she's still unsure about it, but once she got going she seemed to really enjoy it. She even honked her horn to say hello to our neighbor who was out working in his yard as she rode by. That was so cute! So, here for your viewing enjoyment is a photo essay of the maiden voyage of the big girl bike!

Daddy hold me. I'm scared.

I've got you.

I've still got you.

Dad slowly moves away. The head is still looking straight down.

Look! I'm doing it all by myself! I'm even mostly looking where I'm going!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We're Off to See the Wizard!`

Hannah has recently become quite enthralled with the book "The Wizard of OZ." While thumbing through the books at our local second hand store I found a modified version of the Wizard that still contains most of the scary details (like the tinman chopping off the wolves heads, the bees attacking them, etc) and is about 20 chapters long. It's not just a story book version of the popular movie. It truly is a vocabulary adapted version of the original. I thought she'd probably not be interested in it since its very long and it's scary and there is only a single pencil drawn illustration per event, but she's sucked so far into the book that I have to laugh. She begs for more and more chapters to be read to her at bedtime, choosing it above getting 4 picture books which is a big deal. The NUMBER of books really matters to her. It doesn't matter that one book might be longer than all four of her picture books or easy readers, she has a hard time letting go of any books. Four is the standard and four she wants. The Wiz has rose above that need though. She truly enjoys listening to the story even though I don't think she fully understands everything that's going on. I'm quite excited about this because I LOVED The Wizard of OZ as a kid. I loved the book, the movie, and all the characters. My grandmother had a set of Franklin Mint plates that depicted scenes from the movie showing each character and I adored them. I would spend lots of time in her dining room gazing up at them hanging on the wall. When she grew older and made the decision to leave her house she began giving away some of her things to her children and grandchildren for their Christmas gifts. She wanted everyone to get the things they loved BEFORE she died, not fight about them later after she had died. Why wait to enjoy them was her thought. To me she gave the full set of the Wizard of OZ plates. I was shocked. Those plates are worth a lot of money to a collector. She had all the original boxes and everything. I thought for sure they would go to one of her children. Still, she knew I would enjoy them because I had always loved them and that I wouldn't be interested in selling them. Since we've moved they've been packed away in their boxes and I'm pretty sure Hannah doesn't even remember them, but I'm looking forward to getting them back out and hanging them up someday so that she can enjoy them as much as I did.

Hannah also has birthday party fever right now. She's attended several of her classmates parties over the last two months and that has her really thinking about her own birthday. She even requested that it be held in a certain venue instead of our house. Her choice made me cringe as it's one of my least favorite places to be, but she does love it and she actually put in the request. It's hard not to take her wishes into account so her party is now booked for the ever fabulous Chuck E Cheese. UGH! That place drives me crazy, but like I said, Hannah adores it. She asks to go there almost weekly and we very rarely go. We've been maybe 5 times in the year we've lived here. Even though her birthday isn't until July 6th she's been making a guest list, carefully considering which of her classmates she'd like to invite (unfortunately with a party somewhere we have to pay we just can't afford to invite the whole class), and discussing with me what exactly they will all do at Chuck E Cheese. I'm not sure I can handle this intensity for another month and a half. Wish me luck.

Sorry, no photos on the post today. My computer is acting up so I'm having to use Kyle's computer and all my pictures on are my computer. If things get straightened out soon I'll go back and add some later.
Edited to add: Here are some photos for you. The first two are from a birthday party Hannah attended at the beginning of the month. That girl really loves her bounce houses! The last picture was when she and Kyle came to visit me while I was doing photos at a horse show. Gotta love that skirt and hoodie!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chapter Books

Hannah has been a bit of a reading machine lately. In fact she's had such an explosion of reading skills that she's started on chapter books! She's not reading them independently or anything, but she's quite interested in the increased length of the books and the fact that they are "big kid" books. She's always been one to want to be just like a big kid so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised about this. As far as independent reading goes she's to the point now that she can pretty much pick up anything she wants to read and just read it. It's fairly amazing to me. I was an early reader, but I wasn't reading chapter books at 3 1/2 years old!

Along with this explosion in reading we've also seen a big increase in defiant behaviour and explosive behavior. At school the other day she even hit, kicked, and bit another child in the face. Today she was apparently quite defiant with the teacher when it was time to clean up. I was hoping that as she reached 4 years old some of this explosive behaviour and the wild mood swings would even out a bit. It's not looking like that's going to happen any time soon. I just wish I could help her find a way to not be so angry. She's a little kid. She shouldn't have to feel so angry this young. Her life should be carefree and happy.