squirrel (chipmunk)

Yes, I know it’s not a squirrel, but The ‘Bug had a close personal friendship with this guy, and I didn’t have any squirrel photos.

We are starting a new school today, my li’l Rosebug and I. It’s an online homeschool called “Connections Academy”. We put the ‘Bug in public school for first grade last year. Boy was THAT a waste of time! At that point we didn’t know we were going to be adopting her, and I didn’t have the “educational rights”, yet, so we didn’t have much choice. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of public school, but as a foster parent I didn’t have a lot of say in these matters.

The ‘Bug didn’t do squat last year in first grade, except see what she could get away with. And she got away with a lot. She was expected to complete an average of 6 activities a day, each set up at a different table. The kids were to go freely from table to table and finish each of the six activities each day. Oy! How many ways could they set her up for failure? She has ADD in the worst possible way, and she is hyper-vigilant. That means that if a child drops a pencil on the opposite side of the room she would know about it, and feel compelled to drop what she was doing and run across the room (probably knocking someone down along the way) and pick it up and wave it knowingly at the teacher and yell “JOHNNY DROPPED HIS PENCIL!” all in the flash of a second before Johnny even realized his pencil had rolled off the table. And by then she would’ve forgotten what she was working on in the first place and would probably feel compelled to go see what Suzie was doing and tell her all about how she was doing it all wrong, and so on and so…..SQUIRREL!

She finished an average of 1 – 2 assignments a day, throughout the school year! We had SST (student study team) meetings at the school, the program supervisor of our foster care program tried talking to her and we tried a lot of different “incentives”. The foster care skills trainers went to her class to observe, but even with all that she never really got it together. I do believe that her attitude was something along the lines of “This is hard. I don’t want to try. I don’t want to work. And YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” And honestly, in that environment of kids wandering around the room at will, I can totally see how that wouldn’t work for her. My preschool classroom in my home is far more structured than that, and she still has trouble staying on task when there are other kids around, even when they are working quietly in their seats. She just simply must be in their business, tell them all how to do it, and point out to me or my assistants every rule that the other kids might be breaking.

At one point the occupational therapist visited the Bug in her classroom, and suggested to her teacher that she put all of her work in a box (rather than at all the different tables) and sit her at one desk, near the teacher’s desk. That day the ‘Bug came running to the car waving her table slip so proudly, because she completed all 6 table assignments! I was so proud of her! I emailed the teacher and thanked her profusely for trying this new method. I went on and on about how pleased the ‘Bug was with herself and how pleased I was….  her response? “Oh, I can’t do that every day. She has to do what the rest of the class does.” Oy…

So, last year was a bust. Her report card passed her onto second grade (of course..no child left behind you know!) but she was below grade level on everything. Everything.

After we decided we were going to adopt her, I started looking into our homeschool options. We have so many more choices than we did when I was homeschooling Nick some 20 years ago! We finally settled on Connections Academy. Everything I have heard and seen about this online school looks positive. The enrollment procedure was handled well. It was a bit complex because of the “educational rights”. Her CASA (court appointed special advocate) had them originally, but they had been switched over to me a few months before and no one thought I should be informed of  that. And no one could find the documentation. But eventually they found them, I finally got a copy of the document, and we got her enrolled. Originally I enrolled her in 2nd grade, but after they sent us the books and I perused them a bit, imagined  the fights and tears that would ensue the first time I showed this stuff to the ‘Bug, and I called and asked them if we couldn’t do first grade over again. So they sent me the first grade books and reassigned her to a first grade teacher. The Rosebug was totally okay with this idea, of doing first grade over again. We have talked about the idea of how practice, and doing things over and over agin makes things easier, so she decided that if we did first grade over again it would probably make that easier, too. I do believe that she understands that I am going to hold her more accountable for her schoolwork than her teacher was able to do last year. At any rate, we are both pretty excited about homeschooling….

And today is the first day of school!

We have our online accounts all set up…the “Student” account and the “Learning Coach” account. I leapt out of bed at my typical 4am, was still stirring my first cup of steaming coffee when I sat down at my desk and excitedly signed onto my “Learning Coach” account. My plan was to see what the day’s assignments were, pull the worksheets, bookmark the pages in the text we are supposed to go through, and read the teacher’s manuals sections on that lesson, all before I went in to kiss my li’l Rosebug awake. (Yes, I really AM that OCD!). So my account pops up, my username and password automatically all filled in, I pushed the GO! button and waited impatiently rubbing my hands together..and…..

nothing. nothing on my ToDo list. NADA.

Well, maybe it’s on HER account. So I logged out of the Learning Coach account and signed into HER account. The same. NOTHING! Oh. My. Gosh!

Maybe they don’t post it until 9am, when they think school should start, I don’t know. I’ll let you know what happens….

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