I still can’t believe Namine is in fifth grade!

I’ve taken enough pictures now that I get “on this day” notifications pretty much every day. Today’s was from Namine’s first day of school back in 2011.

Namine has certainly come a long way. She’s in fifth grade now — fifth grade! It still seems unreal.

Of course, getting to this point has not been easy. We’ve fought our share of IEP battles, and not always successfully. We ultimately made the decision to homeschool Namine, and it was one we did not come to lightly.

Not only was the school not honoring her IEP, but her teacher was also permitting other students to tease her. Over the course of the school year, we watched helplessly as Namine transformed from a child who loved going to school and looking forward to each day to one who lied and made excuses so as not to go. Something had to change.

We entertained the idea of transferring Namine to a different school, but other public schools in the area would not have been much better. They had ridiculous ideas of what accessibility meant, and Namine would have been poorer for it.

A fellow parent at Namine’s physical therapy told Jessica all about the RVA — Rural Virtual Academy — a school which her children attended online. She, the parent, did most of the teaching, and the assigned teacher did the grading. This sounded ideal, especially with Namine’s (at the time) upcoming third heart surgery┬ámeaning that she would be out of school.

We contacted — and eventually met in person with — RVA staff. They were more than understanding to our situation, and have always been willing to accommodate Namine’s strange schedule. Attending a brick-and-mortar school would have been hard indeed, with surgeries, hospital visits, and therapy sessions. Attending the RVA, working at her own pace (more or less), and being able to bring school (not just homework, but even actually doing the lessons) to appointments has been a great boon.

The rest, as they say, is history.