Here we are, a month into another school year at yet another school for Olivia and Kelsey. Although Kelsey has not had much difficulty at all in adjusting to a new school (who does when it's Kindergarten??), Olivia has not acclimated quite as quickly and easily. Welcome to fourth grade.
Part of the problem has been (I think) that of the 22 kids in her class, only 8 are girls. That limits your friend possibilities when you're nine and you are starting to think that boys are goofy and gross. (At least, that is all you will admit to thinking about them.) Another challenge has been that there is no real socializing time in school by the time you get to 4th grade except during recess. When you don't know anyone and haven't talked to anyone in class, it's a lot harder to know who to play with during recess if you are new and don't know anyone.
About 2 weeks into the school year, Olivia asked me if she could be home-schooled again. We did it for about 3/4 of her 2nd grade year in South Carolina, and it was something she seemed to enjoy. Although I am not opposed to the idea of homeschooling her, I wanted to make sure she was interested for the right reasons. If it was just to get out of working so hard, there was no way I was going to give her an easy out. In the course of our conversations over the next few days (which I will not relate in detail here to protect her privacy), it came out that she had not yet made any friends and was having to play alone at recess every day.
As a mom, this really bugged me. I want my kids to feel loved, wanted, and appreciated. The last thing I want to do is feel like I'm feeding them to the wolves when I send them to school. Although I can't protect them from these things for the rest of their lives, I think elementary school is one of those places where it just isn't necessary. So I came to the conclusion that I was willing to enroll Olivia in the Oklahoma Virtual Academy, which is still technically public school but completed at home on the computer and would enable me to "home-school" Olivia without having to stress out over curriculum at the last minute.
But then something wonderful happened. The kids had off the Monday and Tuesday of that week from school for teacher training, and when she went back to school on Wednesday she got to go to something called "The New Kids Club" at her school. It is where all the new kids in a particular grade have lunch together with the school guidance counselor. And that's where it finally began. Olivia started making friends with another girl in her class. And from there, with another girl. And another girl not in her class, but in the "club". Now my little social butterfly is starting to bring home classwork that she isn't getting done because she was too busy talking to her work partner as school. I'm glad to see she is finally making friends and getting adjusted, but how I wish she could find a middle ground that didn't involve so much chatter! I guess the apple doesn't fall very far...
So, Olivia and I have decided that she will stay in school this year with Kelsey. Here's to hoping for a great year!