(Okay, I lied. This was supposed to be a post about my kitchen. Silly me, I forgot to take pictures of my kitchen today and I'm quite frankly too tired to do so now. So, rather than get up from my comfy chair where I'm enjoying the silence of the evening and take pictures, I'm going to share this post instead. Check back tomorrow for the promised KITCHEN post!)
I don't always give my opinion on my blog. Hmmm, well, maybe in a round-about way I do? :) In any case, I'm going to share my opinion tonight, on the subject of older adopted children and their education.
You can disagree with me if you want. I'm good with that. This is what I think, based on my experience and maybe your experience has given you a differing opinion. No problem.
I think older adopted children should be homeschooled.
There. I said it.
Now for why I think this way. First off, let me say that I love homeschooling, was homeschooled from 7th grade and up and have homeschooled all of my children from the beginning, with the intention of homeschooling them until graduation. That being said, I am not anti other forms of education, nor am I naive enough to think that parents can only do a good job if they are homeschooling parents. (Case in point---my husband, who was public-school educated and is, in my not so humble opinion, a perfect man. :))
Homeschooling Johanna wasn't even an option. That's just the way we educate our children, so naturally I would homeschool any adopted children.
Having had her in our home for 7 months now, I can say with absolute certainty that we would NOT be where we are with attachment and bonding had we put her in school.
You see, Johanna came to us completely peer-dependant. As in, 100% peer-dependant. And did I mention she was peer-dependant???
This means that she had NO problem lying, cheating, decieving, manipulating, and avoiding adult interaction. She was most comfortable with our children. Hugging, snuggling, touching, and opening up emotionally to adults was not even on her radar. She didn't even cry for weeks after she joined our family because she knew how to control her emotions so fully and how to hide her feelings from adults.
Teaching Johanna what it means to be a daughter and sister takes time. An immense amount of time. Time I would NOT have if she was gone 8-10 hours a day.
Being home all day (and having very limited time with anyone outside our family) has forced Johanna to open up to Brent and me. She is removed from her peers (who, for her entire life, met every emotional need she had!) and becoming parent-dependant, the way it should have been from the moment of her birth.
She is learning to open up to me and accept (and even crave and ask for!) my affection. In a way, because she is home, she has no choice but to grow closer to me. We cannot recreate her birth and begin bonding from infanthood like we would like to, but we CAN learn each other intimately.
I am convinced that if we had put her in school, it would just have transferred her peer-dependancy from the orphanage to her school. If she had bonded with an adult, it probably would have been a teacher. She could have kept us at arms-reach and continued the unhealthy dependance on her friends for her security. There would have never been the hour-long holding sessions in the middle of Math or the necessary discipline action during our lunch break.
Instead, we are seeing a depth to our bond that is amazing. Letting us IN is hard for Johanna, and she's honest about it. Just this week we had a long period of crying/holding/talking where she told me that sometimes she starts to feel so happy when we hug that she pushes me away so she doesn't start crying. (She cries almost daily now, working through so many of her losses, emotions and feelings.)
Books on attachment and adoption mostly highlight how to bond with a young child. It's a whole 'nuther ballgame with an older child, although many of the processes are the same.
Johanna is working through the stages of childhood now, and I firmly believe that she needs to be daily, hourly, consistently close enough for me to help her through them.
And that is why I think the older adopted child should be homeschooled.
You can throw the tomatoes now. Only don't hit my kitchen, cause I need it clean enough to take pictures of it tomorrow! :)