Saturday, February 13, 2016

Zeke's First Day's Of School

When Tim and I got married 20 years ago, we prayed and decided that home schooling was the best decision for our children.   When Tim asked me to marry him, he not only gained a wife but a son.  Tim did not want me to work outside the home, so I became a home maker.  When I married Tim, Stephen was 8 years old. 
Stephen always struggled with the style of learning used in public school.  He was very bright, bucked authority and was quite bored.  Not soon after Tim and I got married, I pulled Stephen from public school and started home schooling him.  Stephen flourished in home schooling.  I could take into account his way of learning and modify our day, schedule and things, to the way he personally learned best.  He graduated by age 16 and went on to our local college.  By the time William was born, we knew that this way was best for him as well, with his special needs.  I was discouraged by the local school system, to home school William, as they said I was not educated in how to teach a child with his special needs but I kept him home anyway and he did very well.  That was the year God blessed us with Antonio, so I home schooled them together.

As we started adopting children who were medically fragile and had special needs, I saw how beneficial it was to keep them home and help them learn in ways I saw that they learned best.  I am not totally against public schooling.  William and Faith Anne went to their preschool program, for children with special needs.  This is just what has always worked for our family, our children.   It has often been a long, hard, road for me, with a lot of work on my end but they have all blossomed and done very well.  If I had it to do all over again, I would do it the same way in a heart beat.  The results, by the grace of God, has been well worth the hard work it took.

Zeke has always done very well too.  He has autism and the best way for him to learn is on the computer or using manipulatives.  He has always been a good boy and worked his hardest for me.  There is A LOT of repetition to his work, to get him to learn the simplest of things but he works hard and is very obedient.  There were years, when he was younger, that his behaviors were hard to work with but over the years, he has matured and learned to cope and handle so much, without melt downs and repetitive type, self stem, behaviors.  He is not a hard child to have in our home or to home school because he tries so hard to please me.  I have always enjoyed working with him because of his determination and interest he shows, whether he understands or not. 

Over the last few years, I noticed that Zeke had really stagnated in his learning.  He has the mentality of a five year old.  We have been doing Kindergarten and first grade work for the last three years.  He just can not seem to get past this level.  He was also becoming more and more withdrawn into only wanting to make videos in his spare time.  If he is working on a video and we try to get him to come start schooling,  come to a meal or do his chores, he would get very upset and take a long time to get into a good mood again.  He was grumpy a lot as he just wants to play alone. 

I have always hated it when people say to me that because my children are home schooled they are not well socialized.  First, we have a huge family that excels in constant talking and communicating.  Secondly, we do home school functions, with other families, when we can.  Lastly, we try to encourage the deep interest of our children, if they have any, so my girls do ballet and William does archery.  Zeke however, has not ever found a niche or outlet he has enjoyed, that would get him out.  He just wants to stay home and not socialize outside our family.  I felt he does need something more than what we have for him here.  Tim and I had prayed all last year about this and heard of the program at our local school for children with autism.  The more we heard, the more I knew that this is what would be best for Zeke, if he qualified.  When school started back this year, I signed the necessary paper work to have him tested.  They did the whole psychological work up and extensive testing.  They came out to the house and observed him in our home.  Finally, all the test results and opinions were in.  In January we had a meeting with the school system and they said Zeke did qualify for this program. 

Zeke does not like change, so Tim and I have been talking about this school program with him every since this school year started.  He did not want to go at first but by the time the holidays hit, he was starting to think about it and looking forward to possibly going.
Zeke started his very first day of school the end of January.  It has been a very smooth and wonderful transition for him.  He looks forward to it every day.  He likes riding the school bus.  He enjoys helping me decide on what he will be taking for lunch.  (He is on a casin free gluten free diet.)  He has, for the first time in his life, made a few friends.  His class room has four students, a teacher and two para-pros.  He goes to three main stream classes, with a para-pro, and modified work.  They are working on his normal education, but also life skills (which we do at home as well)  And job skills!  If he stays in this program, starting next year in 9th grade, he will have a part time job.   He will be assigned to a local business and be taken there with a supervisor to watch over him, as they train him to do tasks around their work place.  Our local Ingles, Chick-Fil-A and Walmart, are just a few of the places that are in partnership for this program.  If all goes well, he can stay in this program till he is 21 years old and then they will have a transition plan for him to either, further his education... (We have a college an hour away from us, that has a program for special needs education, they even have dorms.  There are children in that program with many special needs, including Downs syndrome and autism) or move into a job.

One of the hardest things for us, is that we have all missed him terribly.  Especially Carolyn, as they are very close in age and very bonded to each other. 

The other thing is he has missed his dog a little.  She has lived in his arms for the last eight years. 
She is getting older and sleeps A LOT, so I don't think the transition has been to hard on her.  She has been sleeping the day away, till he gets back home.  :) 

So far we have been very impressed and excited to see all the things they are doing daily with Zeke and how well he is adjusting.  We thank God that this program is available for him.  We are very excited about his future.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.




  1. Thank you for sharing this post! How is he doing in school after a couple of weeks now? I loved seeing the pictures of him (and the others) over the years. : )

    1. He is doing very well in this new program. I think this is the perfect timing for him to be put into it. As he has so many years of me helping him learn and got a good foundation and now, really this is training for his adult future every day. Blessings!

  2. How exciting for Zeke! Our public schools refuse to have small classes of special needs kids alone. All children must join (full inclusion) the "normal" kids for as many classes as possible. Its ridiculous. Samson too has few outside interests. By the time he is ready to find work he'll be too old for the "jobs" program. :o( He's almost 21 now. Because his delays are great, I see him ready for work by age 25. Finding funding for him will involve adding a Social Worker and I don't know if I'm ready!! We've had bad luck with them interfering more because the children were "adopted". :o(
    I love the picture of William and Antonio together!! Adorable!

    1. I am grateful that we have a program like this available for Zeke and so close by. I totally understand about the case worker involvement. We have had issues in the past with some as well. I hope something will come available for Samson when he is ready. I truly believe it is better for our children to stay busy and constructive as adults. I remember some of the issues you have shared with MA and SP with the new legislation changes. Not good.

  3. I love reading your blog now and inspire me. Thank you for sharing your life and your precious family with us.

    1. Thank you Sherri for taking the time to write and encourage me. It made my day! Many blessings be upon you!

  4. Thank you for this post. I have been thinking about Elsa's education plans.. And you hit the nail on the head to be praying. And you received a wonderful answer to that prayer. :)

    1. Nicole!! So good to hear from you! I pray you and your family are doing well! I think of you often and pray for you. We have been very pleased so far with this school program for Zeke. It is going to give him an advantage over being at home at this point as it is going to train him for a job and find him a job when he ages out. God is so good! Blessings!