School has officially ended for Stinkerbelle for the summer. But summer school at home has begun.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers when I say that That Girl has a number of delays and challenges. It comes as a surprise to a LOT of people to hear that these challenges and delays are severe enough that she is officially classified as “disabled”.
So with that in mind, we decided that we would spend the summer trying to keep up with her learning and development as was started in JK, and hopefully make up a little ground before she heads off to kindergarten in the fall.
And that means, we have started doing a bit of our own style of homeschooling.
I am trying to plan at least an hour to an hour and a half of exercises each day to start to bridge her developmental gaps — although some days it’s half an hour, or none at all, depending on what else is going on. We have been working on printing and letters, phonetics, matching, sequencing, numbers, cutting, colouring, you name it. It’s all good stuff, and from simple exercises to games to actual school-type work, anything we get accomplished is helpful.
Above and beyond any content we cover, the opportunities for her to practice listening and sentence structure and organizing content and following instruction are really important. So even if it is a matter of rote following instruction, it’s a plus. If it’s a retelling of a story, it’s good. If it’s writing her name, great. If it’s sequencing thoughts of ideas, fantastic.
Everything is bonus. It’s all good.
However, it’s challenging. Not just for her, but for me.
I have a greater appreciation than ever before for what homeschooling parents do (and having been a teacher for 5 or so years, I had a good deal of appreciation going into this endeavour.) It’s a lot of planning and prep work, and it takes structuring of your day and epic patience and not an insignificant amount of money to do it well.
I am finding that on top of trying to take care of her and the house, as well as working an actual job for a couple/three hours a day, fitting in prep time is hard. It’s cutting into already precious “me” time. For example, trying to fit in the time to exercise is sometimes hard, if not for an actual lack of time, than for simply being too tired from being up late prepping the night before to get out of bed and work out.
Not surprisingly, I’m still working on the logistics. As a homeschooling-type person, I am definitely a work in progress. I have to say, though, I am remembering the fun I used to have as a teacher, planning and finding interesting ideas and seeing a class come together. I am rusty, though. No doubt about it.
But I think it is going well. I have found a wealth of exercises and games and ideas out on Teh Internets which have made things way more fun for Stinkerbelle to do, and keeps us from repeating the same types of exercises over and over again — although as a kid who loves to plan, repetition is not a bad thing in her mind. But that means she can turn off the listening-processing part of her brain, which is definitely counterproductive. So we must mix it up.
Plus, That Girl LOVES to do homework. She loves to learn, and tries really hard, and revels in every little accomplishment. So she eagerly takes on whatever tasks I give her.
We’re still figuring out what works. We have a number of fails on a regular basis.
The bonus to our plan is that it will give us something to do after lunch to get us out of the heat of the day during the summer months. Mornings will be for errands and outside time, then lunch, then school, then back outside when the sun begins to move around to the west and the temperature is more tolerable. Any reason to escape the heat and humidity of a southern Ontario summer is a good thing.
We’ll see how things go. We’ve got all summer to work on things, and we plan on doing schoolwork right through the vacation time we have planned as well. With Stinkerbelle, as with her mama, ROUTINES ARE GOOD.
And if all goes well, we will possibly carry on an abridged schedule once she is in Big Girl School in the fall, as we did in the latter part of her JK year, doing work in the evenings to supplement what she was learning in school. She quite enjoys her before-bedtime “homework time”. It has become one of our ways of spending time together, all at our individual desks or tasks but in the same room, chatting and sharing ideas and helping. Bettering ourselves.
So school will hopefully be in session all summer long at the House of Peevish. It may go well or it may go horribly pear-shaped. If the structure or content or level or time has to change to suit That Girl or our day, then it does. But we want to give her the best start in her academic career that we can, and as she is starting from a disadvantage, we owe it to her to try.
Hopefully, it’s a fun learning adventure for all of us.