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Mordecai’s First Day of School

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Mordecai, age 9. Isn't he simply adorable? 

For the reader who asked, yesterday was Mordecai's first day of school ever. The decision to put him in school came after much prayer, thought and discussion with his doctor. Mordecai was diagnosed with Static Encephelopathy Alcohol Exposed at age 2 1/2. In plain, brutal English, that means brain damage from prenatal alcohol exposure. Along with learning difficulties he deals with behavioral issues and rage. It was the behavior issues that sealed my decision to send him to school, not his academic skills. I won't go into all the drama here and now, but that's why he is in school. I don't think he will act out in school to the extent he does at home. He doesn't like to "grump" in front of his friends or when we are out in public so I am hoping that carries over into school.

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Mordecai boarded the school bus without a backward glance. He is in the Intensive Learning class. Apparently we can't use the term "special ed" because that might hurt the kids self-esteem or something? I don't know. There are seven students, one teacher and two aids in his class. 

His school is small and only a five minute's drive from our house, despite our rural location. And since we live in a rural location, the school bus picks him up right at the top of our driveway. My little guy was gone from 9:55 to 4:10 yesterday. What a long day for a kid who gets exhausted from two hours of Cub Scouts!

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When he came home he headed straight for the couch and opened his lunch box. All he had eaten was his sandwich. He proceeded to eat the rest of his lunch and listen to books  read by his siblings. I asked Mordecai to tell me two things that he did in school and he said he couldn't remember…I asked him to tell me one thing he did and after much thought he said, "played at recess". 

So that's about all I know about his day. I let him play the Gameboy (a rare treat in our house) becasue I could see how very tired he was and how much he just needed some down time. I had to meet a client at 6:00, then Hilary for Grump Therapy, so I wasn't here to see him the rest of the evening. I do wonder how enthusiastic he'll be to head off today….


  1. kris

    Wishing him the best of luck with this new adventure! How blessed to have a class like this available for him. He will be tired for a while but he will adjust. My own kids (who have always gone to public school) are pretty tired after 2 days of school!

  2. Delia

    Just 7 students & 3 adults? SOund like he’ll get plenty of attention…they are just going to L-O-V-E him! I know it’s hard to let your little boy go for so many hours every day but it sounds like he’ll be in a good place for his development. You are such a fantastic Mom, so sensitive to his needs…God knew exactly what family to put him in!

  3. Stacy B

    I know what a hard decision that must have been for you. I pray that God will bless Mordecai in his new school. I had to make the same decision for Austin a couple of years ago because of his autism. It has been the best decision we made. He is doing so well in this environment. For him it has been exactly what he needed. He has an aide in his class with him who supports him with a picture schedule for the day, body breaks, implementing OT and SLP therapies and anything else he needs for the day. This aide was with him in kindergarten and his school has placed him with her again for GR. 1, which is such a blessing.
    I am a bit anxious as to how he will handle the full day as well (8:30 to 3:10) so we’ll see as the weeks go on. I asked him the same questions about his day and I got the exact same answers from Austin that you got from Mordecai. He always says he doesn’t remember but that he did have recess. I had a little laugh over that one.
    His aide gave me a copy of his picture schedule for the day and Austin and I went through it together which helped him to recall what he did that day, very helpful for me because I want to know every detail of his day. Even though he doesn’t explain everything just knowing that he colored a picture of a fish, had chapel and is practicing printing the letter A was an awesome insight into his day.
    I think it is awesome that even though you are a homeschooling mom you are sensitive to what each child needs and are willing to provide him with the support he needs. You are Chuck are awesome and your children are blessed to have you as their parents.
    Have a great day, Stacy (Tar’s sis)

  4. liz

    I do pray for you and your family and hope that prayer led you down the best least for now. It is so Amazing as we are in similiar but very different situations. My son also has severe behavioral issues r/t ADHD and I guess most would call it “rage” at times. You get so used to this as your “normal” you don’t realize how bad it is compared to “typical” kids. Like your family, our son at first did not act anything like he did at home out in public. I used to think our family thought we were nuts with all the Dr appointments,meds we tried,therapies etc…
    Our son did ok in a Montessori pre school where the ration was 5 to 1…When he started K it was a disaster. 30 to 1 and no aides! He quickly became comfortable enough in his environment and with his teacher to “bother other children” steal little trinkets, hide stuff, and be more impulsive than usual outside the home.He didnt swear at them or punch walls..but enough to land in the office most days.
    With much prayer we FINALLY got an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for our son. Over the summer my anxiety grew about him returning to PS even with the IEP. See we were picking him up about 2 hrs early and he was so exhausted from “keeping it together” he was even more angry etc when he came home. And then he would sleep for 3 hrs. We were not getting much quality time as a family.
    We came a few weeks ago to asking the PS if they would allow our son to go a half day (until noon) and we could Home school the rest. They agreed and the principal was very supportive of the Home school community. He said “within reason it is your right to use the PS as you see necessary”.
    We are on day 3.He is sleeping now. He gets alot of supervision with a “spec ed” teacher/SW/buddy all day. He eats lunch with “Miss Stewart” . He prefers this because of the loud lunch room. He does have recess..So most of the Academics do fall in my lap which I am excited about.
    I am still struggling as I wish he could be at home at all times, but in all honestly it would not be good for my son or our family.The littles need some time without constant screaming and yelling and swearing(he does not do this at school)..Also he refuses to use the bathroom for #2 so that is an all day struggle.
    I do pray that Mordecai had a super second day!
    What a great looking kid!!!

  5. Kristy

    I have been stalking your blog for quite some time now 😉 I have 7 adopted children all with special needs. My one daughter sounds very similar to Mordecai. She has FAS or whatever it is called nowadays. She is almost 6 years old and I homeschool her. She is starting to get aggresive and lash out and other things that pertain to a Fetal Alcohol child. I am still going to continue to homeschool, but I often wonder if I will need to make changes in the near future. I don’t want to, but I don’t know what the future holds for her :/ Currently her specialty doctor (not her pediatrician, we see a doctor specifically for her FAS) has been on board with her being homeschooled, actually it was his recommendation. We are going for another evaluation at the beginning of the new year and I am curious as to what he might recommend. If I can ask a somewhat personal question and if you feel you donlt want to answer, I understand. My question is: Do you have Mordecai on any meds to deal with his behavior. I am curious because I don’t know anyone with a Fetal Alcohol child and I just don’t know what to do with my Emma. We are at a loss with her, and her behavior is getting out of control, despite all our efforts of several different disipline techniques. *sigh*

  6. Rachel

    I am a high school senior at a large public high school and I am an aide to the ILC teacher for one period a day. The group is only six kids, and there are two adults and myself for instruction/help/etc. I just wanted to offer a little encouragement. At the beginning of the year (finishing up our third week now) I could clearly see that one freshman in particular was struggling with the new atmosphere, but she seems totally comfortable now. Obviously a bit of a different situation, but I suspect that the feeling of being overwhelmed is similar. It will pass! I wish you guys good luck and a smooth transition.

  7. Elizabeth

    What a handsome guy. Thanks for easing our curiosity about his first day, it looks like such an exciting day for him! My little brother also “doesn’t remember” what he does when he goes on outings or we do things together. Only certain things penetrate his daze that he seems to walk in and then he remembers every little detail about it and obsesses over it. Thankfully at 11 yrs he’s a little better than he used to be about it. 🙂 For him I think it’s more to do with him always being in his own made-up world where he can hid from things that overwhelm him. (he has sensory issues)

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