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Monday, November 15, 2010

I Need A Pep Talk!

We've been home with our Ethiopian children for 3 weeks now. And I'm feeling the pressure. Pressure I didn't think I would be feeling so heavy at only 3 weeks home... Academic pressure!

Everybody told me during the adoption process how I would be so good at teaching my children English and reading and such with my Literacy Launchpad experience. But I feel VERY ill-equipped. Introducing preschoolers to the joys of books and reading is a far cry from teaching English to a six year old and ten year old who are going through a traumatic transition.

To be honest, right now I don't even feel motivated. This whole family of 5 thing is still so new to us all. And I'm more interested in working on that right now than doing phonics drills with them.

BUT, we started them in public school (a decision I'm torn about) and now the homework begins and the pressure is on. Or at least that's how I feel And while they are by no means expected to be doing what their peers are doing in class, they still get ESL homework... And Mel has math to work on right now. And while I know that school is what they need now, it's hard to have teachers to answer to. It's hard to feel like those 3 or 4 hours between school and bedtime aren't ALL mine!

Then there's the reading thing. Isaac loves books. My Ethiopian children... not so interested. Mel is mildly interested. Mary is hardly. And why would they be? They don't understand what's being read to them. Right now, they are only interested in electronic things (which we have been trying to keep at a minimum).

I have a lot of knowledge in my noggin about how to raise a reader from birth. But I'm not so sure about raising a reader from where we're at. I worry that my children will never be fluent readers. I worry that they will never feel good at reading. I worry that they won't want to read. And I worry that they won't like reading. That's a lot of worrying.

It's all so overwhelming for this momma who's a bit of a perfectionist. So I had to vent into "the cosmic void" this evening.

Goodnight, Dear Void.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We're Home!

It's been a little quiet here for a while. I'm sorry. We got word that we were leaving for Ethiopia and it's been a whirlwind ever since.

We are now home with our two new children, Mel - 6, and Mary - 10. It's been hard, but it's been good. Adjusting to 3 kids from 1 has been tough, and has been all consuming lately. Hence the silence here.

The reality of being home and the new dynamic of our family has us reevaluating some previously made decisions. We wanted to homeschool AT LEAST for a a little while, but after a lot of thought and talking with some trusted resources, we have decided to put both Mary and Mel in public school. They will begin next week and I'm really excited to see how it goes. I think it's going to be great for everyone. I'll post more about that soon.

I feel like I am floundering with all I want to accomplish with my new kids (and Isaac) and how suddenly ill-equipped I feel. And to be completely honest, I have felt a real lack of motivation to get going on any of that. Some of that is probably jet lag. Some of it is probably this nasty cold I have come down with since returning home. And some of it is just the plain old physical and emotional exhaustion of the whole adjustment. I'm trying to have some grace with myself.

Right now, I'm trying to read simple books with the kids at naptime and bedtime. It's tough, because they don't understand English. But how else will they learn. We've also been doing some alphabet puzzles. And I've been trying to have them watch some PBS kids, but they haven't been super interested in that. Mary even less so than Mel. We have some "first word" type books that I try to encourage them to look at. They seem to like those somewhat.

I'm trying to get my inspiration and creative juices flowing again, but it's harder than I thought it would be.

Some things I want to do:
- Put some books in baskets by the potties and in the car
- Buy some kind of Leapster type devices. They are really into electronics, but I would like them to at least be learning with whatever electronics they're using. Suggestions welcome.
- I want to try to find some more good books for them. Mel I think I've got pretty covered with what I've currently got. But Mary is more tricky because she's older, but yet, can't read. She needs simple, but yet she's not interested in babyish stuff. Tough! Again, suggestions welcome.

More to come later. Just wanted to let you know we're still here!!