I've had several people who visited my blog ask about schooling our children after their adoptions. Ben was 6.5 and John was almost 14 when we adopted them March 2010. If you read our first blog, http://petersadoption.blogspot.com -- I stopped blogging when the children were just going to begin public school. Well, public school was a big, big mistake. Really. IF it is at all possible, do NOT send your older adopted child to public school. First of all, John had to spend a week testing, as mandated by the state of NY and our Federal government. He didn't understand two words of English, of course, so the testing itself was upsetting, confusing and frustrating. Then, the school decided to place John in 6th grade (age 14--normally 8th grade), and (because of his test results) he was required to take 3 periods of ESL a day. His ESL class was made up of Spanish speaking migrant workers' children, and it was a complete and utter waste of time. I sent in several hundred of English/Chinese flashcards that I bought, and I purchased an English language learning program for Chinese speakers for $500.00. The teacher basically babysat the kids all day and did not even look at the resources that I provided. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the only English he learned at school, in the 10 weeks he attended, were profanities. His first full English sentence was to tell his brother to "F off." In addition, John latched on to the kids who would readily accept him, and naturally they were the losers, dealers, and delinquents. John was almost 14 years old upon adoption, but, like most institutionalized children, he was several years behind socially, emotionally and academically. He looked an acted like a 10 year old. Also, attending school all day really slowed down John's English acquisition. Sitting in a classroom most of the day with kids who did not speak English (and had no intention of learning English) only made John resist us more. In addition, it took away from the time that we had with him to establish our bonding etc. In June, we called a meeting with the administration, guidance office, ESL teacher etc. I have never seen my husband go absolutely bonkers (he is an attorney), but I thought his head was going to explode when the vice-principle bluntly announced that John would never graduate high school. He'd be 21 (and age out first) because John was going to miss 3 core subject classes a day, in order to attend his federally mandated ESL classes. John would not get enough credits to graduate, according to the administer, in four years. I had to almost physically restrain my husband. Then the principle said that, by the way, HE was going to make the educational decisions for John, since John was at school 6 hours a day and ultimately the principle is responsible for the child's education and the principle knows what is best. Umm. No. Sorry. You just happen to work here right now. Our son's education is way more important to us, than it is to you, jerk. You might have him for a few years, but he is our son forever!! And we know him better, understand his needs, and you know virtually NOTHING about children adopted from China, or their needs! I am certified in NY to teach Reading K-12 and English 5-12, so I could at least speak the school's lingo, but the administration was practically trying to bully us! As I said, I'd never seen my husband go ballistic, but he went nuts when the school told us that they were going to make all the decisions because they knew what was best. And that John would never be successful because it was just too late for him. The next day I started a search for a private school. Our oldest son (now age 16) has been attending an all-boys college prep school, McQuaid Jesuit, since 7th grade, and at that point I was homeschooling our son who was 10. McQuaid, however, has rigorous admission requirements and costs 2 arms and a leg. And I just didn't feel up to homeschooling an angry, defiant teenager who didn't know English. We knew that McQuaid or homeschooling wouldn't be an appropriate education for John. Then, I found Lima Christian School that offers K-12. The school works with several agencies in Asia (China and Korea) that sends students to Lima Christian to master English so that they can get accepted into American Universities. The school knows how to work with Asian students, and the other ESL Asian students in the school are highly motivated to succeed. The school placed John in 8th grade (only one grade below age appropriate), and arranged his schedule so that he had the ESL teacher all to himself for one period a day. He also had a study hall where he was peer-tutored every day. The teachers hold him to the same standards as the other students, but they do provide extended test taking time when necessary. We receive weekly progress reports, and we spend hours with him at night doing homework. The school jumps through hoops to make certain that we are happy, and they check with me before adjusting his schedule or giving him modified assignments. Now, John is in 9th grade and he works independently( most of the time) at the 9th grade level. He maintains a B/A- average. At my request, we continued the one period a day with the ESL teacher. She makes certain that he is "getting" everything. Next year he will join the regular English class and will no longer be considered an ESL student. Ben (age 8.5 now, 6.5 upon adoption) never received ESL classes. He's completely fluent in English, and at grade level in math, and reading at Kindergarten level. He receives a double dose of reading class, and receives tons of extra help. At the private school we are the consumer...they will adjust the curriculum to meet the child's needs because if they don't they know that we can find another school! Our son Connor, who was home-schooled for several years, would be in 7th grade in public school because of his age. He is in 8th grade at LCS, because of his abilities, and in 10th grade math and science. Of course, he has a 95 average too. With a graduating class of only 16, the school can be flexible and meet all our children's needs! Hooray!