Final (I hope) updateHere, in case anyone was wondering, is the rest of the story in a nutshell.
On May 25 we had our disposition hearing. Homeschooling did not come up in any way, although CPS "accidentally" put in their recommendations that I not be allowed to be alone with DDs at all. Our lawyer caught it and called them on it and they said "oops sorry" and the judge ruled that it had to be struck from the records. The judge seemed a little fed up with it all, the CPS worker was effusive in singing our praises (which just seemed weird), and the long and the short was that the judge ordered our next court date for July 20 but said that CPS had to file their report by July 9 and if it recommended closure then none of us had to come to court. And he said that it better recommend closure because he was tired of coming to court and hearing about how great and cooperative we were. Also he said that CPS should keep our caseworker on the case instead of moving us to an ongoing caseworker since this wasn't going to be going on much longer.
So we felt good about it. On July 6 we got a call from a new CPS worker (our first contact since court) who said she would be our ongoing worker and wanted to come see us. So she did that day. She said that the judge was ready to close to court case but they weren't and so CPS was keeping an open case on us for a few more months. Which we didn't even know they could do. It was discouraging on one hand, but on the other, it seemed much more flexible. For instance, I'm mandated to continue therapy but instead of being mandated for once a week, it's whatever my therapist thinks, which at this point is every other week. Also my DD with the chronic illness has had a bad July and we expected that to be an issue but they have been cool. All they want really is to keep track of whether DD is getting appropriate medical care. It makes us feel like we have to cover our a** all the time but it could be (has been) worse.
Homeschooling has been taken off the table as an issue. We got an apology from the new CPS worker. After meeting our kids she was so shocked at how friendly, smart, and personable they were "for kids who are homeschooled." She said they all just assumed we were homeschooling in a certain way and said our county is a bad place for Christian, crazy totally withdrawn, abusive homeschoolers. Whatever. She said in her six years in our county we are only the second family she has worked with that homeschooled without abusing their kids. She also said that we were the first family she had ever worked with that the state wasn't mandating parenting classes, again on and on about how good we our with our girls. Again - whatever. I appreciated the apology, but again it made me even angrier that we have just gotten caught up in a stereotype that we don't fit and they would have known that if they had taken half a second to look.
Anyhow. Our lawyer advised us to cooperate for the moment. The judge did close the case on the 20th. With a note that CPS should close their case soon. Our lawyer advised following along, but that if this goes on longer than a month or two, if we aren't done by October then we can stop cooperating and they would have to take us back to court where they would not find a sympathetic judge. And at this point their involvement is not onerous. Seriously, our plan is basically 1. Take care of your kids 2. Get as much counseling as your therapist recommends 3. Let us know if your kids go to the doctor. It's not bad. The end is in sight. I am grateful for this place on the journey.
I am left much angrier about hsing stereotypes and with much less faith in CPS and with emotional wounds that will take time to heal. But in many ways I feel vindicated. Thanks all.