Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Canary Island Pictures - Taryn, Sebastian, and Jillian

The Canary Islands were beautiful and offered lots of opportunities for pictures.  We had sunshine for most of the trip but we had a beautiful storm move in one day.  I will probably have several posts that shows the various pictures.  This was the one and only day that all three kids let me dress them and take their pictures.  I love the way they turned out!

Back to Normal

Taryn had the hardest time adjusting to our new life in London.  She started school in October after everyone had already made their friends.  Taryn was so timid and shy that she struggled to make friends.  I went to meet with her teacher and she said that Taryn was so sensitive and would easily cry.  I took her to a birthday party where I saw her struggle for first hand.  There were so many fun activities that Taryn would've enjoyed easily in San Antonio (bouncy house, face painting, dancing with streamers) and all the kids were being so sweet to her.  They were telling her hello and asking her to play but she was frozen still crying in the corner.

The struggle wasn't just social but academic too.  She felt the pressure of being behind in literacy and reading.  She loves anything to do with math but struggles with reading and writing.  She continues to work on reading.  Her goal is learn to read at the level of the others in her class.  As I type this blog, she is sitting across from me working on her handwriting.

Jason and I were really worried about her but unsure of how to help her.  We had lots of conversations with her and tried to help overcome her fears.  She was so different and we couldn't connect with her at all.  Then one day, I was on the phone with a good friend back in Texas, talking about the struggle and I truly don't know how to help reach my sweet girl when a letter came to say that we had gotten into a new school.  She would start with the school at the new term in January.

The change of schools was a blessing for Taryn.  We started to see her change back to her old self. The tears didn't come as easily, she was making friends, and sharing what was happening at school. Her teacher is so patient and an incredible teacher.  She took time to help us find fun games to play with her that would help with her reading.  She also goes with an interventionist three times a week with about 5 other students to focus on her phonics.  She loves that time and it is helping significantly.  She continues to have good days and bad days but she continues to improve.  She took a practice phonics test and got 30 out of 40 which was amazing for her!   

We always go out to celebrate her wins, even the small ones.

She has homework assignments that have been fun which has helped keep her engaged.  She had to make a recipe where she had to measure the ingredients.  The biggest challenge was the units: she learned the UK measurement system then we used a U.S. recipe so everything was different!  One of her favorite homework assignments was recreating the going on a bear hunt story where she turned it into going on a penguin hunt.  She also decorated an Easter bonnet for her parade at school.  She did the hat herself and we were so proud of her.

She has now joined the Glee club at her school and loves it!  She is learning Mariah Carey's song, "I'll Be There".  She has several friends who are doing it with her.   We are so proud of her and how she continues to find her way!

It is still a personal struggle for her and she continues to try to catch up to the other kids in her class. Some days she is hard on herself and disappointed but their are days where we can see her confidence growing.   Through everything she has endured over the last 6 months, she is building character and learning to persevere in a different culture.  I hope these are things that she will treasure one day and lessons that she will never forget.