I've recently begun reading Reading Children's Drawings: The Person, House and Tree Motifs by Audrey McAllen and found a new test for whether your child is ready for academic work. She goes into great detail about how physiological processes are revealed in children's drawings and paintings. A word of warning: in order to apply these "tests" to your child and try to analyze the results, you must also have The Extra Lesson: Movement, Drawing and Painting Exercises to Help Children with Difficulties in Writing, Reading and Arithmetic, also by McAllen, as a specific series of movements must be done before the child is asked to "Draw a person, a house, and a tree, adding anything else you'd like." This procedure is also done as a spot check later on when there are concerns that the child might need remedial work (the extra lesson) and, if so, where it should be focused.
The siblings are having a hard time adjusting to Natalie being gone. She was the Queen Bee, the center of their universe. Our family solar system is undergoing readjustment. :-) I know that it will all sort itself out however, and I'm really enjoying our time & getting to know them better.