This is always an exciting time of year. Planning is complete, new books have been purchased, and the new school schedule/routine is in the final tweaking stage. Ready or not, our first day of school begins in about nine hours! This year is going to be very different for our family. Half of our school-age children will be at home and half will be in school. Our girls have been home now for a year and a half. They’ve come so incredibly far over the past 18 months. They’ve learned to speak English, they’ve adjusted to a new culture, food, and family, they’ve made friends, and they completed a year of homeschooling. But the fact is, they’re now 6, 6, and 8 and they have no prior education and the past year has been very difficult. Books and methods that have worked with my other children have not been successful with the girls. None of them are reading yet, despite trying very hard (Mom and children!) and the longer they’re home the more overwhelmed I get while realizing just how much they’ve missed by not being in a family for the last several years of their life. As a result, we decided to put the girls in school for a year. At the end of this school year we will re-evaluate. The ultimate goal is to bring them back home. We’re a homeschooling family but right now, this year, we’re calling in reinforcements! We live out in the country. Our local public elementary school is in the middle of farm land and peach orchards. There are less than 250 students in the entire school and they have wonderful intervention specialists that can help us identify where the girls need special help and can get them started with the right tools for success. To be quite honest, I also had a bit of a revelation a few months ago when trying to decide what would be best for the girls for the coming school year. I’ve never been able to just be their mom.