Monday, October 19, 2009

Homeschooling saves a soul

This afternoon I was out with Janine. Janine and our oldest daughter play in a local orchestra. We have a large van and thus we often get drafted to move the timpani’s (drums) when there is a need.

Janine and I were together for over an hour. We are just a couple weeks away from the two year anniversary of when our son came in from the foster care program. The conversation turned to Baby Bop. He was just fourteen months old when we got the phone call asking if we’d take another child. We said yes. Janine was busy that day, so I took our youngest daughter over to the children’s shelter.

Over the next couple weeks it became evident that he was way behind on several fronts. He wasn’t crawling. He had no verbal skills, other than crying or grunting. And he understood little of what we said. In many ways developmentally he was more like six to eight months old.

Several doctors and social workers said a lot of stimulation would help.

With homeschooling we have been able to provide him loads of stimulation. Our three daughters are almost always home. We often rotate babysitting responsibilities for Baby bop through them. They play with him, take him for walks and read to him. There were a few times, initially, when I worried that we might be over stimulating him.

He has really blossomed. He runs and climbs everywhere. He plays and plays with a wide variety of toys. He’ll even sit and look at books, by himself. He seems to pretty much understand all that we say. And he is talking more and more each day.

He has been tested often. Recently we’ve been told that in some categories he is now advance for his age! It has been such a blessing to see him make these great strides.

A large part of the reason for the growth is that we homeschool. This gives us an environment which allows Baby bop to have a massive dose of stimulation each day, in a one-on-one setting. In many ways I think homeschooling may have saved his soul.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Fatcat said...

That's wonderful. Are you all still foster parents?

We are, but we've only had one placement (who went back home). I have always felt like this is a calling, but it scares me too, having a child here, readjusting everyone's routines, then getting attached and possibly losing the child we've grown to love. Should we stay in the program?

Do you all have any wise advice for me? I've been reading your blog for several years and respect your opinions.

Janine Cate said...

Yes, we are still foster parents, but we haven't had a placement in months.

We have turned down quite a few children because they were boys older than Baby Bop. We are not willing to put him at risk.

I like being a foster parent but you have to know your own limits. You need to be picky about the children you take into your home so that it doesn't negatively impact your own children.

So, we only take boys under the age of two or girls 3 years younger than our youngest daughter. We also don't take new borns. It is just too traumatic to pick up a baby at the hospital, keep it for a while and give it back. Did that once and it was the worst experience of my life.

Also, double and triple check the kids for lice. (That was the second worst experience of my life.)

Still, I would be a foster parent. We have learned so much. My children have gained a perspective that is invaluable. For lack of a better explanation, it feels like the right thing to do.

Fatcat said...

Thanks Janine. It helps.

We had an experienced foster parent in our training class that said that every single child she'd ever taken in had had lice!

jessica said...

I love hearing about this! To me it shows what difference you can make by having good patterns in life. I would love to see a study done on how kids test in relation to how much "good stimulus" they get from there home environment.