Back to School

Wanted to update all our following friends.  Farmer Boy Henry and our Littlest Pioneer Girl Anna came home for trial reunification a week ago and it has been an eventful week.

We went out last Friday night for chinese food as an extended family, with Grandma and Grandpa Tripp and my 2nd youngest brother, whom the children call, Uncle Jake.  This was a rare treat, in celebration of our 2 youngest’s homecoming.

Sunday we went to church twice.  Morning services/Sunday school at James River Church in Huron, where my parents attend, and also several good friends of our family as well, including our veterinarian and his family.  Henry particularly enjoyed Sunday School and made friends with a little girl who goes to church there and is also in his 1st grade class.  Then in the afternoon we attended service in DeSmet with our Parish at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in DeSmet, SD.

Monday, we had a review hearing (at which they just set another review hearing in 90 days.)  Grandma babysat Anna for a couple hours for that.  Then off to run several errands because we had to leave at 4:30 am Tues. morning for Rapid City, SD… like getting gas $ together, fueling up my car, going to the car wash to wash and vaccum the car, packing snacks, drinks and diaper bag for the trip etc.

Due to the scheduling of when the children returned home, Henry missed the first 2 days of school.  Thus we had him stay overnight Monday and Tuesday nights so his grandparents could get him to school and from Tuesday and then to school again Wednesday morning,because of our trip to the Black Hills.  He lost one of his baby teeth Tues. and was visited by the toothfairy.

Tuesday we left home super early (unless you keep dairy farmer hours) to drive to the Black Hills for Farmer Boy Charles’ 90-day treatment review meeting.  It was a long trip, particularly for Anna, but she was ecstatic to get to play one-on-one with her oldest brother, Charles.  Other than the Black Hills Children’s Home having some technical difficulties with their phone-line, the meeting went well enough. Charles has moved up from  “late kindergarten” to “early 1st grade” in his reading level.  We are happy that they are making progress where he is right now educationally, but still wondering what in the world our former local school at Iroquois was doing with him in that 5 years they had him there???  If the Children’s home made this much progress in 3 months with him, we have to question and wonder exactly what his former school did with him 8 1/2 hours a day, since they didn’t do much about teaching him to read or do math?

*All American parents really should be keeping a close monitor on what their kids are being taught in public schools, and when there is a problem, try to solve the question of WHY and HOW DO WE FIX THIS PROBLEM.  If only 1/3 of the 8th graders in your state can read and do math adequetly (do NOT confuse this with reading or doing math well) and 2/3’s of 8th grade students are well below grade level in the 2 core subjects that are pretty much required to do all other subjects (except  P.E. and perhaps Music or Art).  We have looked up our state’s results at the State Dept of Ed. and found the statistics above on their own website under the “State’s Report Card” (state-wide scores on the 2009 and 2011 NAEP Test which all 4th and 8th graders in the USA are required to take. Conversely, Special Ed and ESL students actually scored far above their typical classmates in my state, we found that strange.)  Pa and I are very deeply concerned by these statistics, considering our public school experiences with our son Charles.  By these statistics, only 1 of our 3 children will learn to read adequetly… that means 2 of the 3 will either barely learn to read or won’t be able to read at all unless we as parents interven and do a great deal of teaching in the home… but then, I have to wonder WHY we as citizens of this country are paying so much in taxes to fund our public schools when they are not doing the job the citizens are paying them to do?  Here’s a clue, it’s not for lack of funds.   I will be taking a deeper look at this issue in a future post.  If you are curious though about how your state is doing, visit your own State’s Dept of Ed and find out.  Looking at my own states’ schools and populatation, I’d say we are probably fairly average in every way… not much in the way of big inner-city districts… likely a good cross-section of what is actually happening on a nation-wide level… some states are doing much worse and some are doing a significantly better job.

** In our home we will definitely be doing some “after-schooling/weekend-schooling” and a lot of summer schooling in the coming years.  Especially as Charles needs more structure than most typically functioning children and his siblings can reap many benefits from it as well.  Charles has been studying the Lakota language in his current educational placement and desires to coninue that when he comes home.  We are very pleased with this desire to become bilingual and shall be fostering thatas an entire family in the future.  We are hopeful that the children will eventually desire to learn another foreign language as well.  We shall also be providing instruction in Biblical Studies, Geography/History, Phonics, Cursive Hand-Writing, Home Economics and Agribusiness.

Narcissa was very happy to see “her boy” for several hours, and very upset when we had to leave for home.  She did get to have a bit of extra fun though, while we were there.  As we were leaving, several free-ranging cows got on the Children’s Home’s property.  She and I got to help herd them to a gate and get them turned out.

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