Friday, May 1, 2015

School's Out for the Summer!

It's official! We're done for the school year, and honestly it was because of me. My kids were doing GREAT, not a sign of spring fever in sight despite having a full week of work left. Unfortunately, my brain is not doing the same. I haven't the zeal, the energy, or the brain power, and knowing that our curriculum is purely review of the year for the final 20 lessons and the first 30 lessons of next year will be review of this year to refresh their memories, I wasn't worried about an information gap. So we're done. I announced it to my kiddos when they got up from afternoon rest time, and the rejoicing was enormous. We'll start up again the first Monday of August as always, and then I'll have a 4th grader, 2nd grader, K-1/2er, and two major non-stop distractions in the form of a 2-year-old and half-grown pup.


   My oldest has made great strides this year in math. In first grade reading was her major struggle. Something about phonics just didn't click until half-way through the year. In second grade spelling was her major struggle, undoubtedly related to her taking a little longer to get a firm grip on phonics. By this year her spelling was fantastic, she reads novels(historical and autobiographical are her favorites) constantly, but her math was a struggle. We worked a lot with helping her focus, like using classical music and essential oils in the diffuser to help stimulate certain areas of her brain, and by the end of this school year she is doing amazingly well in math, too. I am so proud of this sweet, talented, dramatic girl. 

   My second is dynamite in every way. He has neurological challenges in the form of Sensory Processing Disorder, but he has come an amazingly long way since his diagnosis at the age of 2. I was worried that this year would be very difficult, because 1st grade is far more sit-down-and-focus work than kindergarten, but he proved me wrong. Yes, there were tough days. There were days I did the writing for him because his tactile defensiveness was too much to grip a pencil. There were days he sobbed his way through subjects because just looking at them seemed insurmountably difficult so he didn't even want to try, and there were days our normally 2-3 hour work day turned into 8 hours because his focus was non-existent and I refused to give up. But we did it! HE did it! He has grown so much in confidence, and learned that even if something looks TERRIBLY difficult, he can always ask for help, and he ALWAYS gets it done because he is capable. Watch out, 2nd grade. Here he comes!

My third is an adorable, precocious little sprite, and a natural-born perfectionist. Her birthday is in September, and when she was 2 she decided she must do schoolwork with the older two, so I bought big, thick coloring books and gave them to her during school time. When she was 3 this did not fly with her, and she demanded, "SCHOOL work, Mama. No coloring. SCHOOLWORK." So I started her with our usual preschool work from Brightly Beaming Resources. She did amazingly well for her age(just-turned-3). This year, after much consideration and discussion between my husband and I, we decided to get our usual kindergarten curriculum from Abeka for her. We've gone slowly, at her pace, some work every day but not super intensive, and she has progressed so much over the year. We'll be starting the next school year by finishing her kindergarten books, and will start the 1st grade books after that. We call her "Kindergarten-and-a-half." 

   Last but not least, we have our fourth munchkin. He is so smart, resourceful, and mischievous, it's more work for me to keep him busy during the school day than it is to teach the other three combined. He just turned 2 last month so we have a couple years before we'll start doing schoolwork, but in the mean time he really likes sitting at the table with the kids, scribbling in notebooks and old textbooks, occasionally bringing his work to me with a proud smile declaring, "Did it, Mama!" It's adorable and makes me laugh every time. Time will tell if he is as eager as his sister and grows wise to the nonsense work I'm giving him now. 

Okay, I was wrong. That one wasn't last. This one is last. The furry one. He keeps me busy, and spends the school day raising rabble with his 2-year-old human cohort, chewing pencils, lined paper, and teacher's manuals. He's adorable, he's three months old, he's fully house trained, he's a blonde Australian Shepherd, he thinks the children are his and his life's work is to keep them in line, and his favorite snacks are cell phone chargers and ear buds. I expect none of that to change over the summer and next school year.