Big things are happening!
Today we got the draft of our long-awaited homestudy. This has been causing a lot of stress and sleepless nights around here, let me tell you, and I am so glad to finally have that complete! We are hoping for the final copy in the next day or two, since there were only a couple of slight changes needing to be made. Yay!
Our doctor also indicated she will have a letter written for us by tomorrow. This is a letter that we are hoping will expedite our USCIS application, and we are praying HARD that it will be ready tomorrow to send off to USCIS along with our homestudy, and that our application will fall on the right desk at the USCIS, and that God will cause things to move QUICKLY! We have been SO FRUSTRATED lately, feeling as though nothing is happening. And time is running out. If we do not get our dossier submitted in the very near future, it is very likely that we will not be able to travel until next spring. We just can't let that happen. So please pray for paperwork to be processed QUICKLY!
Other big things are also happening. We have received an amazingly generous donation that will make a huge difference! Thanks, Dale and Julie (Derek's wonderful parents) for your generosity, and because of you, we are one airline ticket closer to getting to our boys' country! I can't even tell you what a blessing this is, and how much easier it is to breathe with that thermometer moving up! THANK YOU!
And finally, we are becoming good friends with the delivery guy in the big brown truck! Every day lately, he stops here to bring my little boy another box full of homeschool curriculum! We signed Isaac up for Columbia Virtual Academy this year. If you are not familiar with CVA, it is an amazingly awesome publically funded school in Washington state. I am Isaac's teacher, and the program allows me to pick out whichever curriculum works best for Isaac in each subject. And then they send it to us!
In return, we check in once a week to update my son's advisor on our progress, and once a month we write in about how we are doing meeting his yearly learning goals. This is our first year doing this program, and so far, I just LOVE IT! I have been able to choose the best math program to fit Isaac's learning style (Right Start Math), the best reading and spelling program (The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading) the best science (Exploration Education) and a whole bunch of unbelievably cool other things. This is all the stuff I've wanted to get for him for the last three years and the budget just never allowed it.
For three years I've been piecing together my son's education from free websites, library books, and dollar store workbooks, and that has been FINE, really. But THIS! This is so COOL! It is exactly what we need, for a whole year, all laid out with lesson plans and supplies all ready to go. (Which I am really going to appreciate even more in a couple months when life gets WAY MORE HECTIC!) Anyway, I am a bit of a nut about bookstores, and especially educational books, so being able to go shopping and pick out all this stuff . . . WOW.
And I am so so happy to be able to provide Isaac with the things that are really going to work for him. Isaac's learning style is . . . . unique. Not just any old workbook will get through to him. Isaac has Asperger's Syndrome, and if he isn't interested in something, it just plain old doesn't interest him. Which means he doesn't learn it. He just can't care about something that doesn't pertain to his areas of interest. If you are familiar with AS, perhaps that will make sense. Everything has to be very hands on and interactive. Everything has to have something to do with his areas of interest. The advisor is willing to work with us in meeting the goals of Isaac's IEP, providing several extra resources to help him in his areas of greater challenge, including sensory items to help Isaac to focus, and social skills resources to give Isaac greater skills in interpersonal relationships.
Best of all, they are providing him with the supplies to create short films and movies about his subjects as he learns them. He is obsessed with movie-making, so if I tell him he will be making a movie about the history lesson later on, for example, he all of a sudden goes from eyes-glazed-over-head-in-the-clouds boy to bright-eyed, engaged, asking questions, and doesn't want to put the book away because he wants to sit and study it awhile longer! It is so AWESOME! So this curriculum is a huge blessing!
And did I mention that this program also pays for soccer and violin lessons for my son, as well? Both of which he really wants to do, and there is no way it would have been in the budget this year otherwise.
Once Gideon is home, I will be able to sign him up for the program as well. I am already making a list of some wonderful learning supplies and resources that will be fun and engaging and help him to begin to catch up on what he has missed out on the last five years. Really basic stuff for him, like Signing Time DVDs, sensory items, very simple math games, books to read aloud to him . . . that sort of thing. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them, by the way, concerning curriculum for Gideon. He will be kindergarten age, but developmentally nowhere near ready for your average kindergarten curriculum. So we will see where he is at and start there! I am looking forward to getting started!