The following post is from Amanda Bacon
Homeschooling in the middle of a major life change, such as adoption, can be intense — especially if the new child is of school-age. In light of this, let’s give each other permission to slow down. To take a step back from our traditional methods for a time and center our minds on teaching some valuable first lessons of the heart to the newest members of our families.
1. First Things First
When bringing a child into your home, we all know that it’s wise to go over some important things right at the start. But sometimes it’s hard to know which things. They need to understand boundaries. You’d like them to be respectful. It’s good that they know which rooms they can freely enter and which things they can touch. Right? Right. We don’t want to overwhelm, but we need to make sure everyone is safe and that there is a semblance of order. No matter what you decide your child needs to know up front, there are a couple things they need to know for sure.
First, your child needs to learn about healthy families. Chances are, they are in need of a family because their first family wasn’t a healthy one. Seeing your family work and interact together as you invite them to share in your lives will be one of the biggest and most important early lessons.
Jennifer of Forever, For Always, No Matter What remembers, “First and foremost we just focused on the basics of life. Like how things work in our family, the basics of chores and personal care, learning how to ride a bike, and tying shoes. We also spent a lot of time reading good books.”
Second, they need to see that your love is unconditional. It may be that your child’s only experience with love in their former life was with the conditional kind. Lavishing them with unconditional love that is consistent will help them ease into their new life with you. And help them trust you. You may be disappointed or needing to be firm in your stance, but you will still show love to them through your actions and words.
2. Look for the Small Victories
After being home just 10 days, our new six year-old son asked to do something I’d already told him would have to wait until the next day. “Noooooo,” he pleaded. Then I watched as the gears shifted in his brain, his eyes lit up, and a huge smile spread across his face as he chirped out, “I mean, YES!” Oh, what a sweet, small victory! We’d been working on this.
We need to seek out and celebrate the moments of victory; no matter how small. You may even want to think about writing them down, so on the days when things aren’t going so smoothly, you can be reminded of the progress that’s been made.
Shannon, who blogs at Copperlight Wood, shares that breakfast, the simple routine we easily take for granted, was difficult in those early days when her newly adopted six year-olds joined the family. She states, “Food issues were huge – Reagan didn’t understand that meals actually had to be prepared. She raged and screamed when she could see/smell food cooking, but not be allowed to instantly eat it. Eventually, she trusted that we were going to feed her and not just torture her with the presence of food. She still acts out occasionally during meal prep, but it’s very rare now.”
Another victory won, resulting in the encouragement small bits of progress brings.
3. Throw Out the Mold
Most adoptive moms who have brought home an older child tell me one of the keys to successful homeschooling through the transition period and beyond has been to lift their child out of grade-level or age-appropriate molds. Understanding our children are individuals with their own specific set of needs, frees us from working toward outside expectations. In turn, it helps our children to know we are willing to work with who they are right now, not who we wish they would be.
Melissa, author at The Cork Board says, “Not having a skill does not mean you’re slow or stupid, it just means that you haven’t learned it yet. The pace you learn skills is also not indicative of intelligence, but how you’re made.”
4. Heap on the Grace
And lastly, give yourselves time and lots of grace. Don’t we all need a healthy dose of that? Remind your child and yourself of the victories, relish in the simple, and enjoy the important part you’re playing in the life of a precious soul.
|Amanda Bacon is the mother of eight kids, ages two to thirteen. You can find her blogging about faith and motherhood at www.amandabacon.com. She is also the co-creator of The Masterpiece Mom, the brand-new website and podcast for moms everywhere! She has a love for God, adoption, homeschooling, and encouraging women through her writing. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.|