A "high" so far has been our visit to Sedona. Brian's aunt and uncle live right in the heart of the red rocks. I woke up early to take pictures, driving all around to the scenic spots, only to realize some of the best views were right out their front door and just down their street. I've been there many, many times over the past 20 years, but the beauty of Sedona still amazes me. The view from the front door is just stunning. We truly felt we were at a resort!
While in Sedona, we took time to drive up to Flagstaff and have dinner with Brian's old friends, Bill and Melanie (known since they were toddlers, I think). We had a wonderful dinner with Bill, Melanie, and their daughters Katie and Amelie. Their daughters (late teens) were delightful, and their parents should be quite proud of how they're turning out!
We also spent a morning in Oak Creek Canyon to go to Slide Rock. Katie went to Slide Rock two years ago with her cousins, and was eager to get back. I think it was #1 on her list of things to do in Arizona. The weather was warm, but the water was FREEZING!! I went down a few times with her, but then had to warm my bones.
Because it was a holiday weekend, we stayed in the southern part of Sedona (more where the red rocks are, as opposed to the touristy shops) where Brian's aunt's home is located. The traffic to the shops was horrendous, and we decided to skip all that on this visit! Looked into Pink Jeep tours as well...but their starting price per person was $45, and that didn't include off-roading. We decided to skip the jeep, and instead took the "Silver Honda" tour, at a bargain price of $3.99 (approximate cost of gas used).
After that it was back to the Tucson routines...a little exploring, a little school, research, etc. All was going well, until...
One of her teachers had emergency surgery and had a week long sub. The class was out of control...disrespectful, yelling obscenities, and making rude gestures behind the sub's back. Katie was extremely uncomfortable with the situation and talked to us about it. We went with her last week to talk to the school about the situation. The school was very responsive and helpful. In the end, though, Katie didn't make it through the week...came home "not feeling well" because she was so anxious about going to class with these kids.
The school has two groups of 7th graders. We *thought* Katie had been placed in the advanced group, but just learned on Friday she wasn't (a little irritated about that...but moving on, because in the end she will catch up). In science and math, she's repeating what she learned last year. While we can't change the science part (all 7th graders learn biology, which she's already had)....she really needed to be in the advanced math class.
The school wanted to move her into the advanced classes. The classes are a better fit for her, the kids WANT to learn, the class size is much smaller (12...now 13), and the behavior is completely different. Even knowing all that, she didn't want to change after finally getting some good friends. She didn't want to start all over making friends in class.
So...we were just heartbroken. Emotionally we didn't want to force a move. But then again, she was uncomfortable with the first class. She was BEGGING to be home schooled.
We went to the school today, meeting with the VP and counselor. Katie did not want to try the new classes. It took a couple hours to work through a solution where we (whole family!) "observed" the other classes. The counselor asked her to make a list of pros and cons about each class.
We first went to music, and her pro list was lengthy...with just one con. She gave us a smile and a thumbs up. Afterward, she said her old classmates would have been talking over the teacher, and she was pleased that these kids actually paid attention.
At lunch, she waited for her friends from the other class. They greeted her with hugs and smiles, and all went off to lunch where she caught them up on what was happening.
After a couple more classes, a boy asked her if she were going to be in that class. She said, "Yes." YIPPEE!!!! She did a cartwheel in P.E., and smiled at us. We asked if we could slip out, and she agreed, going on with the new class.
So now we just sit back with a little less anxiety and a lot more hope.