Gosh, it's been ages since I've posted. At the moment, I've got all of 15 minutes before I have to start heading out again, but I thought I would take advantage of the time with a quick update.
Things have been... interesting.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, we're restarting our home school journey as The Watcher (almost 9) and Beetle Child (7) have joined our household. For how long, we don't know.
The summer has been difficult due to their father turning out to be a serious problem, even while out of the country. As we've learned more about the level of neglect, psychological abuse and even physical abuse the children suffered while living with him, we've had to deal with threats, police, children's services, the courts and more. At this point, I'm really, really glad I have kept this blog and my main blog anonymous, too. I truly believe that, even though their father is still out of the country, he is a real threat to the safety of our family and his own children.
As for our home school plans for the year, one thing we've decided is to stay well away from anything formally "academic." Especially with math. There's a fair bit of trauma associated with math.
Instead, despite the fact that they have always been home schooled, we are going through a period similar to "de-schooling." They're taking part in a 1 day a week home school supplemental program with a Waldorf school their mom was able to get them into, which is interesting and seems to be doing the girls some good, even if I do find them a bit on the creepy side - a tale for another time! They're also taking part in a group program for children who have suffered traumatic loss of a parent, whether through death or divorce. That program is just for 10 weeks. They seem to be enjoying it as well. I've been taking part in the parent's portion in place of their mother, which is something that is not normally how it works, but our situation is rather unusual.
In other areas, we're looking to get them individual counseling, but that will require a court order, and building up more legal walls to protect the children from their father. They no longer want to communicate with him at all anymore, and have even asked not to be told if there is any communication from him of any kind. They have been much happier and relaxed since then. Thankfully, after serving him with documents letting him know he faces a civil suit, criminal charges and a restraining order from us, he has stopped trying to contact us at all. Instead, he's started contacting their mother again and has been threatening her if she doesn't give in to his demands for unrestricted, unsupervised access to the children. That's not going over very well for him. I'm not sure what's more amazing - that he thinks he can get away with this behaviour, or that he thinks anyone would actually give in to his demands. He still portrays himself as some sort of victim, and the only person who actually cares for the children. Obviously, he doesn't believe how he parented them was at all neglectful or abusive. After all, he loves his children! You can tell, but all the shoes they have (almost all of which turned out not to fit) and clothes they have (many of which are shockingly inappropriate for the children or don't fit properly). Because love is measured in the things you buy, which apparently can make up for abusive and neglect. Funny, that.
We're also working on teaching the girls how to speak properly, as they didn't have proper speech or grammar, not to mention the ability to communicate thoughts coherently, modeled for them. Speech therapy should be in order, but I have to figure out how to do that, as we can't afford to pay for something like that out of pocket.
Now it's time for me to get them ready to go to their group program. The Watcher is proud to have learned how to tie the laces on her new shoes properly. What. She's only turning 9 this month. It's normal for a 9 yr old to not be able to tie her own shoelaces, right?