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Plans for School

If you adopted internationally, how are you determining what grade your child will be in when you send them to school (especially if they’re from a country that doesn’t have the Aug/Sept-May/June school year)?


The school will help. They may be able to test in math but with no English they can’t really test reading etc.

Often the children do not qualify for ESL (English as a second language) due to some reason I don’t understand. You might check that out too. Maybe they can offer a tutor or there may be classes in English available in the community for immigrants.

Some parents home school for a semester or so to get the child in the groove.

How old a child are you expecting? Did they go to school at all or taught at an orphanage?

Posted by Regina on Jan 08, 2019 at 1:33pm

I placed mine one grade behind a traditional school level (however, with TK and all the other early programs now, it is much more mixed).  That placed them in 3rd grade.  They were behind, but not so much that they could not catch up and I worked with them a lot.  The bigger challenge was not academics, but rather social skills that are appropriate for the environment that we live in as well as overall emotional stability and discipline that school requires.  They are now in 7th grade and while we have made great progress, they remain on the lower end of the classroom with social skills, discipline, and overall emotional stability.  Academically they do reasonably well.  I would prioritize the non-academic skills.

Posted by Anne333 on Jan 08, 2019 at 5:03pm

I would totally agree with absolutely everything Anne 33 says above.Well put!

My agency recommended with an older child or teen most important for bonding to keep them home for 6 months!

I worked intensively with her at home, and at one month supplemented with private ESL weekly for 2 hours.(This was terrifying for her to start.) At 2.5 months we added some home school/ learning center support 2 days a week with lots other additional activities. At 10 months she was enrolled in school 1 grade below her age group.

She is very bright but was behind grade socially and still is. Fortunately she attends a home school learning center for teens where children are not separated by grade, but offered fantastic individualized programs. Even so because of the significant emotional delay and trauma, and the need to catch up on academics as well, she will likely take 5 years till graduating - and that with lots of additional support all the way.

Posted by Happy Camper on Feb 04, 2019 at 4:22pm

“My agency recommended with an older child or teen most important for bonding to keep them home for 6 months!”

As A FFY, I couldn’t disagree more and would like to just offer a different perspective. 
Is what is most important for the child “bonding” with you or having them live a good life in the world while having you as a secure home base? Guess only you can answer that question, but keeping children away from normal experiences for months so that they can “bond” with you is really kind of more like creating Stockholm Syndrome than helping them function as normal humans.
Depending on your district, of course (assuming you’re talking about public school), you should be able to get the child an IEP. Some will tell you they can’t. They are playing you, and fight them. Every public school district in this country must develop an IEP for children who don’t conform, and you can work with them to develop it. If they resist, kick back a little. IEPs exist to help children who do not fit into standard categories. Children who do not speak English, who are now the legal children of people not from their country, and who very likely are suffering trauma (added because in many states that is one of the criteria for classification, which you need) qualify for help.
You don’t need to decide what grade they go into. Learn your rights and the rights of the child.

Posted by NoraT on Feb 05, 2019 at 12:33am

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