Education Drives America bus tour.)
I can't believe it either. She was in preschool when I started this blog in 2003. So those of you parenting tiny people right now, hold them tight, and take lots of pictures + copious notes. Parenting mental fog plays tricks with how we track time, and if you don't pay attention, that scrumptious tiny person will disappear and be replaced with a great big person -- and if you ever want to spend time with the mini version again, you'll need your records to reproduce them.
That doesn't mean I want tiny Iz back, because -- idiopathic, random, yet stereotypical teenage bershon behavior aside -- she is still the warm-hearted, thoughtful, intense, amazing kid she always has been. But just so big! She's almost as tall as me. She has ... distinct ideas about how to dress, what to read and listen to and watch, and they don't always sync with our nerd family hive mind. Which is fair. But. But.
His school also remains the best possible place for Leo -- the staff so responsive and intuitive, so firmly behind our boy, in terms of believing in him and understanding what he needs to succeed and keep learning. I just wish that it didn't have ongoing funding worries, like so many CA schools and sped programs.
I also remember when school for Leo was ... not so good. So we've been running a back-to-school series at Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, and I recommend reading the last two entries: Autism & Back to School: What Do You Wish You Knew? with advice from several TPGA contributors from parent and student perspectives, and Autistic Students Need Autistic Role Models, on how autistic self-advocate Karla Fisher helped get an autistic student out of crisis so he could succeed in school. Karla has excellent points about how just about any program for autistic students can benefit from autistic insights.
We've decided to keep her in Spanish immersion, even though Iz's former GATE school offered her a spot. Bilingualism and biliteracy are huge gifts, plus I've observed Iz's friends who completed the program through the years -- they're certainly not at an educational disadvantage compared to Iz's GATE classmates, quite the opposite in some cases. And Mali seems to grasp not just the opportunities but the fun of being bilingual. It's a good choice, for her.
Back to school is a good choice for me, too. My brain fell out of my head the moment classes ended in June. I've only attended to items that were on fire for the most part, in the interim. So it's good for us all to be back. And I hope those of you also in the thick of back-to-school are feeling the goodness.
We've been busier than busy this summer, this year, for just about ever. Hence the lack of documentation. But the kids start rolling back into school tomorrow. Expect tears, of regret and of relief.