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Encourage me, please!

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I'm not looking for answers, just encouragement and a chance to express my fears (of course, if anyone has answers, I'm all ears!). I have 2 problems, actually.


I am homeschooling a foster child. She is 15. I've posted about her before and don't want to be repetitive, but briefly, she has emotional problems due to abuse and neglect; has been diagnosed as bipolar, possible Asperger's. Since she isn't legally a foster child yet (although we have guadianship), she hasn't has only seen psychiatrist/counselors and not had a full neuro workup. But for now, it would seem to me that she has problems with processing speed and working memory. Yet she is a math whiz and a good student otherwise when I work with her.


That is part of my problem, though. She takes a lot of 1-on-1 time for every subject but precalc (ha ha, seriously!). I homeschooled my two sons. They were very different from each other, but neither required the attention this child does. As long as I am there to direct her, she does well. In the last month or so, I have even seen her answer questions about "deeper" things in literature or history that she couldn't do before (at a low level for her age but increasing exponentially) For example, we are doing "sonnets" in literature. As long as we read the sonnet together and I lead her, she is able to do well about the meaning, comparing it to other sonnets, etc. (She has always been able to understand meter, rhythm, rhyme scheme, But if I assign her a sonnet to read by herself, she gets overwhelmed and can't understand what it says. It's like she freezes.


So, this is taking a lot out of me. On the one hand, I am excited because sometimes I think she is like a flower opening up. But I feel exhausted from watering her.


Then, there's the other problem .. we will be going along for a week and I'll be so encouraged. And then, suddenly, for entire week, she just can't concentrate. She becomes "flat" in all her reactions and facial expressions (this is common with mental illness). And while I know these times are just going to happen because she isn't healthy, I then start worrying about losing time. She is a sophomore this year - technically, I only have 2 more years with her. I spend a lot of the day just working on emotional and executive function deficits - yet, this child is very smart and deserves a chance at college. But I feel overwhelmed at trying to fill all the high school requirements in a timely manner at the same time that I am working on the deficits. Plus, she needs time with me when I am not being "teacher" but more like a mom, loving and responding and listening to her.


I have a feeling (and my husband tells me) I need to relax. But it is hard! Prayers appreciated!

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Hugs. Do try to relax. If necessary, she can always study an extra year at home and graduate "late," perhaps while dipping her toe in the college pool with a math class. As long as you don't plan on putting her out on the street the day she turns 18 (or decides to run off, I've seen that happen too), you can keep supporting her and educating her.

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:grouphug: :grouphug:


If she's a math whiz doing precalc at 15, she'll likely get into college.


I'd do what you can do while still maintaining a lot of the mom, nurturing side (it is not entirely incompatible with reading a sonnet together, if you do keep it relaxed), and focus on the emotional side and on necessary life skills if she has not got them.


Does she know how to eat/cook healthy meals? What about cleaning? Organizing things? Personal boundaries and healthy relationships? Not getting caught up in addictions and otherwise being able to take care of herself. These are areas where mess ups may keep her from graduating college or succeeding thereafter, even if she is a whiz at sonnet analysis.


In my state homeschooling foster students was not allowed except for an approved public school program at home. I could not homeschool until after an adoption was finalized. You're lucky your situation seems to be more flexible.


Take care of yourself so you can take care of her. On airplanes parents are supposed to fasten their own oxygen masks before they make sure the children's are on securely. So pace yourself, relax, and be gentle with you both.

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I'm rooting for you all! You can do it (you already are)! Have patience with yourself as well as her, and listen to your instincts.


Go, Wingedradical, go!


:hurray: (couldn't find a cheerleading icon)

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Your daughter has missed out on so many developmental experiences. Right now, the best thing you can do is meet her where she's at, however much support that requires. In time, as she moves back onto the developmental track in areas where she's struggling, it will get easier. It sounds like you are giving her a reasonable balance of challenge and support, since she is responding to your working one-on-one. Just be careful not to cram in work just because she needs credits. Think about using part of the summer to fit in some of the work- though summer is also a great time to work on life skills. If she is willing, it could be a good thing to give her an extra semester or extra year before graduating her. We did that with my daughter at home, and my son is doing something similar in school. Though he's taking CC classes, he still has the safety net of being a high school student living at home.

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Guest BeautyForAshes6

I just wanted to share. I used to be in fostercare. I am actually second generation as my mother never got help and aged out. I have volunteered in many ways with foster youth and those who used to be in fostercare. (motel ministry and homeless outreach) Can I just say that it totally blesses my heart to know that there are hardworking, selfless compassionate foster parents out there that so deeply care about the children in their care and her future. Keep on keeping on. You are amazing and the work you are doing will reach into the generations as she begins raising her children. You are making more of an impact than you imagine and I am willing to bet that each moment of kindness given to this girl heals more and more of the scarring in her heart. Thank you for your tireless work. Bless you. Don't grow weary in doing well, in due season you'll receive a great harvest.

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