April 5, 2013 Friday 11:29am
This post can be alternatively titled "Education of a Special Needs Child, Cont'd." but then probably many of my next posts would also be titled such.
I just came back from my daughter's ex-school. Well, yes, it became ex-school starting March 19, 2013.
I saw the weather forecast on Monday when I prayed (4th March) and for Tues. (5th March) but they were both like partly cloudy. On Monday we actually got to see a bit of sun, quite unusual for a period of gloomy, cold and drizzly weather. Then on Tuesday the sun was so bright when I woke up and it stayed really steadily bright the whole day and the sky was totally blue! Then the following day Wed. it was back to gloomy weather. It was also rainy and very windy. By the evening it turned really cold and was snowing lightly. Then Thurs. was even worse. There was a flurry falling and I wondered if I would have the courage to drive my son to school. Then the next day and the day after and days after, it was back to cloudy and drizzly again. On the day when I asked God to give me a deluge if He didn't want me to home school, He gave me a totally weird sunny day in a series of dreary, cloudy / drizzly and even snowy days. What does that mean? He says "I want you to home school" loud and clear! I really thanked God for that for then I know He would carry me through writing that curriculum.
Now my daughter may be somewhere in Grade 2 at reading but pre-school at comprehension and at pre-counting level for Math. So, how can I just give them a curriculum like Grade this or that? And if they don't recognize the textbook for each subject, I am supposed to give more details on it. The 13 subjects include Spelling, English Language Arts (Phonics, Vocabulary), Reading and Comprehension, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Geography, ADL - Activities of Daily Living (with Fire Safety and Substance Abuse Education), Health, Music, Visual Arts, Physical Education. So, I decided the best way would be to write everything in detail, what topics we are going to cover under every subject, until the end of this school year (end of June). So, I went online to see what online curriculums there are available, and I looked up the library for what books I can borrow and I looked up Amazon, what resources I can buy. So, I worked on it for for one or two hours every day for two weeks and one all-nighter on a Friday night and voile: Curriculum for 13 subjects! I ended up subscribing to one online site that covers most of the subjects, looking at other online resources for Art and Music, borrowing and keeping on returning and borrowing about 50 books at a time and buying books, an inflatable globe and hand weights (for P.E.)! If there was anything deficient with that curriculum they would give me only one week to rectify once they notify me and then they either approve or disapprove my application. I thought, if they find anything deficient I wouldn't want to be panicking to get it right within a week, so, I better do a really good job at this. So, I gave it my best shot!
I had talked with the District 75 Home School director on Feb. 20th and the packet she sent arrived probably on the 22nd. I sent my application with the completed curriculum on the 14th of March, so I was well within schedule. On the 22nd I got a call saying it was approved and my daughter was officially enrolled at their home school program (District 75 444) on the 14th March, the date my application was dated. She was de-registered from the ex-school on the 19th March. Yay! Then they sent me the packet for the authorizations to get my daughter's speech and occupational therapies from private providers. I already got her speech therapist and we started our first session yesterday and the occupational therapist is in the works. Today I went back to her ex-school to get a most-recent report from my daughter's therapists at school so I could pass these reports to the new therapists, and also some personal effects of my daughter's. I talked with her teacher and he explained that one girl student is very much affected by my daughter's absence in school. So, he called that student's mom to ask if he can give me her phone nos. so we can get in touch and find a way for her daughter to see mine. At least he did do that extra effort. I talked with the paraprofessional (teacher aide) directly working with my daughter and actually had the chance to see all her classmates. They all expressed how they missed my daughter, including the teacher and helper at P.E. (they were at P.E. class). I got my daughter's teacher aide's address and she even gave me her phone no. so we can keep in touch. They all miss her. They were concerned whether she's happy being home schooled and I said, "Well, sometimes she doesn't like to do her lessons so I would tell her, 'Tomorrow I'll take you to school?' And she would say, 'No!!' and immediately do her lesson." I just couldn't emphasize how she loves it without offending them. (They weren't; they just wanted to make sure she's happy.) I had to explain that we're actually doing lessons at home (5 hours of learning is required per weekday) and I had to come up with the IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) for 13 subjects. So, I hugged her paraprofessional /teacher aide and once again, it was good-bye. Well, this is my life, our life.
But looking back at least I won't have to constantly think and pray about parking in her school anymore, among other stresses I was subjected to. I actually got a parking ticket already in February (with a fine of $115) for parking in front of her school for about 10 min., just to bring her in. But one thing good about America is that here you can challenge a parking ticket online. It is quite a headache and a lot of work and stress because if they don't reply to the challenge before a certain date the fine would accrue an interest. :( I didn't want to pay that fine, so I challenged it with the reason that even though my daughter's school campus has a Special Education unit in it, there is no parking available for disabled people. It was stressful because I had to keep checking its status online. Thank God it was dismissed. Sometimes I did have to pay parking to park a block away just to send my daughter or pick her up from school because the school requires the parent to sign in and sign out a special needs child at the school office which is located on the second floor. It's insane. I couldn't tell my husband about that parking ticket or he'd go berserk because he always tells me to play it safe by parking far away. Oh well, thank God, all that is over. I believe this is God's way of saving me.
I was so happy taking this photo just before I got into my car, that day when I got booked. I didn't even notice the ticket in my windshield wiper until I reached home. :(