About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Friday, July 29, 2011


For those of you who have adopted school aged children (or teachers who have experience with this), did you place them in the grade they would technically be in?  Or did you place them in the grade below?  Eli is going in to kindergarten this year, so we'd like to put Amelia in 1st grade and see how she does.  We think she may do fine, but we're not sure.  We figure if it's too advanced for her and she's getting discouraged we can always place her in kindergarten during the year.  The school is going to give her ESL services as well as take her out of the class for extra help.  And we're also going to hire a tutor for her (who speaks Russian, YESSS!!) and work closely with her during the week.  Thoughts? Recommendations?  What about home school for 6 months?  Where would I even get started in that?!


Armageddon Hippie said...

We took two different routes for our girls (ages 7 and 10 when they arrived this January).

We put the youngest straight into Kindergarten which is two years behind where she should be. She got the special ESL tutoring, etc. She did wonderfully although she ended up being bored in math since she was already above that level. This Summer she attended Summer school and we have hired a private tutor part time from the very beginning (two days a week). The plan is for her to attend first grade in the Fall for 9 weeks then move up to second grade. She will then be one year behind which we are fine with. Our girls' school has been wonderful and frankly our girls are little angels so they gained a lot of goodwill I think too.
We put our oldest in Montessori school for about six weeks then transferred her to the same public school. The Montessori school was geared towards younger children. I am not sure if that was the right decision for her although if there was a Montessori school with kids her age I think that would have worked better. She went straight into third grade (one year behind where she should be) and is doing great. She went from the easy spelling test list to the regular list in only a month and has really been doing well. We have no immediate plans to try to move her into her age appropriate grade. One year behind for both of them is fine with us. Again, she received the same private tutoring that our youngest received.

Overall, we are blessed in that our local public school is phenomenal. The teachers were fully engaged and dedicated to getting our girls up to speed and things so far have been going wonderfully. This school also had some previous experience with some children adopted out of Russia very recently so they had already learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. Again, our girls are good girls that have no behavior issues that are sometimes associated with kids in their situation so I think that makes a big difference too.
Not sure if that helps.

Loren Marti

Jefferson Hunt said...

Ooo! Ooo! Pick me! My son, for example, was 9 when adopted. However, his Ukranian mom hadn't sent him to school. He got a year of preschool (according to him) at age 7 - 8 and first grade at age 8 - 9. Here in the States, he started first grade at age 9. He only had a month of formal U.S. education. Then, I homeschooled him during the summer. I may have posted on my blog some of what I taught him. He didn't like it a bit, but it seems to have done him well. One of the things I think helped most was total English immersion. By January of the following year, he was quite competent in English and scored well on his English language learner test. Academically, he did well. As far as maturity, second grade was also a good match. This year, he will be 11 - 12 and in the 4th grade. He realizes he is older than his classmates, but he does OK with it. So far, academically and emotionally, he is in the right grade. At some point, he may be more mature than his classmates. He will finish 8th grade at age 16. I think it would be best for your tutor to not speak Russian and to mostly pretend to not be able to speak Russian. Your daughter MAY want to rely on that familiarity rather than be forced to learn English. So far in school the only issues I've had are with my son's not understanding ALL the rules of school. The school hasn't liked it when he hid behind doors to jump out and scare people or that he liked to draw skulls and knives or that he likes to talk whenever a thought enters his head. These are some things school doesn't teach but school expects them to know because most of the kids learned about these things as they were raised in a proper home. He also took a multi-purpose tool with him to school one day without our knowing it. One of the parts was a knife blade, and he got expelled from school for that. An other problem I had was that I told the teacher's too much. I thought being informed would help them better deal with him. Instead, they kind of freaked out and saw red flags when really they were probably white or checked or yellow. I am a certified teacher working as a special education assistant in the same school where my children attend though not in the same building as my adopted son. From an inside and outside perspective, I don't believe this school is prepared to deal with diversity. This is a fairly small farming and factory worker community without many children of professional families, very few bi-lingual families and, that I know of, only one older adopted student (my son) and one student who came from China with her family. And, there are no other schools nearby that are better equipped to deal with international students. This school has Spanish speaking ESL services and would not provide Russian ESL services and would not test my son for any learning or developmental disabilities. (He seems to have none, though.) A well equipped school makes a big difference. Last April, was his two year anniversary. So, I believe now is when I should be expecting things of him. Before, he was still learning about his new world. This school year, we should see him settling in and becoming like his classmates. That's a plus and minus. However, there have been changes, and I am worried he will either get last year's principal or guidance counselor for a teacher. The student/teacher mix really makes a difference. In any case, wheeee! What fun.

The McEacherns said...

Adelise is starting first grade at age 7, so if she progresses through school at the normal rate, she'll turn 19 at the very end of her senior year... perfectly fine with us. If she was developmentally delayed, I'd consider kindergarten, but she's right on track developmentally.

While some initial testing and concept explanation in Russian might be very helpful, I'd also strongly discourage you from having your child taught in Russian for any extended length of time. The full-on immersion into English really helps. We used Russian at home some with Adelise, and while it aided her ease of transition into life here, I think it slightly delayed her NEED to learn English. Once we quit speaking Russian, it forced her to at least try to communicate in English.