I think with Ellie's hearing that a typical public school is just not what she needs. Because of her hearing loss and her preference for signing, she will be attending a school for the deaf so she can work on her communication skills, and she will continue to do private speech therapy.
The girls are certainly around other children a lot. They are in Sunday school every Sunday, church choir every Wednesday night, gymnastics every Wednesday night, then they are both training for the Special Olympics. Ellie is doing track and Alina is doing swimming. It certainly keeps us busy!
Tonight they will both be attending a birthday party for one of their friends from Gymnastics. Thankfully, we were able to get her out before she aged out.
In a sense still homeschooling both girls in addition to them attending public school. After chores are done for the day, and they have had a chance to play for a while, instead of jumping in front of the tv, we will work on workbooks, reading for Alina, pre-reading for Ellie, colors, shapes, numbers, and as much as we can think of.
Some things we work on at home with the kids are speech programs like Gemiini. For reading we have programs like BrillKids, we also have educational songs the kids LOVE and beg for all the time for both phonics and math called Heidi Songs. For worksheets that are made pretty much just for kids with Down syndrome, and are from skill levels beginner to more advanced we LOVE Mrs. Brown and her So Happy to Learn at Home program!!
We are doing speech therapy for all four kids and intensive PT session every couple of months. Since I still want the kids to be challenged my amazing husband designed a playground for the kids that would help target some of those gross motor needs.
We are thankful every single day and one of the songs I sing at night to the kids is, "I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky, for my mom and my dad, for my piece of apple pie, for my home on the ground, and the love that's all around. That's why we say thanks, every day. Because a thankful heart is a happy heart, I'm glad for what I have, that's an easy way to start for a God who cares and who listens to our prayers, that's why we say thanks for this day." - Veggie Tale song....
It may sound corny, but it is so true, no matter how much or how little we have, we should be thankful for whatever it is.
When I think of people in 3rd world countries, people who have so very little, and they can still find a reason in their day to smile, HOW can we NOT be thankful? When I think of children who have no families, people who are homeless, or people who are suffering and in terrible pain every day, how can we NOT be thankful?
Is life always easy for us? Nope :) But whose life is easy ALL the time? With the love and support of each other, and through the grace of God, we make it work. And it is Oh so Worth it!!