Unfortunately our pool bit the dust between last summer and this one. It got a hole in the bottom, which is impossible to find. My father in-law got the kids a 14′ trampoline for the boys’ birthday, though, so we’ll have a new kind of summer fun this year! All of the kids have a bike this summer as well! Only one can actually ride one due to the developmental and motor delays our oldest has. Our youngest, who is three has a tricycle just doesn’t “get” peddling yet. I have a trailer on my bike, though, that seats two! So we’ll definitely come up with something! There is ALWAYS something we can do!
We’ll also be continuing our homeschool year through the summer. Oh, here it comes… “But it’s summer!” I know, I know. Well, I might have another week before I actually hear this depending on where the concerned party lives and what the typical school year is where they live. I honestly couldn’t even tell you when the schools down here get out. I have no clue because I don’t even follow it. I do know I’ve been seeing end of school year posts on blogs, Facebook, etc. from homeschoolers and those whose children attend public or private school as well. Why not us?
For one, we’re not done yet. Plain and simple. We’re just not done with the year yet! I learned A LOT this year, and it was very eye-opening for me. One of the main things I learned is that our homeschool doesn’t have to fit in a perfect little box. Realistically, it won’t. One of the reasons I love homeschooling is the flexibility! I can cater to our children’s special needs while ensuring they get the spiritual guidance and education they need. Some days they may need more emphasis on the spiritual guidance and life skills, and this is very important! Some days they may need a complete break, and this can be important, too, to avoid a complete shut down. This is ultimately what I learned this school year:
The traditional school year doesn’t work for us
The September – late May/early June school year doesn’t work for us. I keep pretty good records of what we’ve been doing through the year, and I even wrote this post about how it stressed me out when we were missing days for very legitimate reasons. I use a WONDERFUL app to keep track of projects, notes, grades, field trips, etc., and there were times I just about panicked when I saw we “weren’t on schedule.” One day, though, I finally came to terms with the fact that a traditional schedule just doesn’t work for us. At least not in this season of our lives with my husband’s many doctor appointments (some of which have been 3 hours away), the kids having therapy first three times a week (which changed to two times a week and has helped greatly), and the days we just needed breaks for health reasons (whether it be of the medical or social/emotional variety). I realized a large majority of days missed were right at the beginning, which means realistically OUR “school year” is from January to September, and our main “break” is October through December. Of course, I’m not setting that in stone, either, but taking a year-round approach and moving them up when they are ready, but realistically I expect January will be the beginning of our “new” school year most of the time – if not all of the time.
A full grade boxed curriculum doesn’t work for us
After all my anxiety about NEEDING a curriculum for 1st grade I learned after a few months it really wasn’t best for us after all. Having a guideline was great. Having a schedule was great. The Bible-based curriculum was great. The problem was our kids are at a higher level of Math but a lower level of reading than the curriculum. As you probably know, I was blessed to join the Schoolhouse Review Crew at the beginning of 2013. This has been a blessing in SO many ways, and I discovered so much about our kids’ learning styles and that they are on different levels in different subjects. I also learned that one of the great aspects of homeschooling is just because they may need a little more work in a specific subject (in their case – reading) doesn’t mean I have to hold them back in Math – in which they both excel! We have all been happier using varied curriculum according to their learning levels rather than one curriculum based on one set level for all subjects.
We need frequent breaks
And that’s OK. We need breaks in between each subject. We need a few breaks every couple of months. We need breaks if one of us is having a high sensory day (because chances are high that will trickle down to the rest of us anyway if we don’t take a break). We might need a break or have a more “relaxed day” if I’m having a particularly bad Fibro flare-up or headache or if I am overwhelmed sensory-wise because the last thing I want is to lose my temper and make it a bad experience. Sometimes these days are a complete “do nothing” day. Sometimes the kids will do school on the computer, which actually feels like a break for us, but clearly is not! As you’ve seen in some of my reviews we have had the opportunity to review some amazing computer based curriculum! The kids still get a great learning experience, and I feel like I get a little down time! We also do some “app schooling” as well. Again, there are some amazing educational apps, and we’re able to do this when we’re on the go as well. So although I feel like we actually “took a break,” chances are high we just did things a little differently that felt like a break. (And that’s OK, too!) 🙂
So, I won’t be sharing our school year wrap up in the next couple of weeks, and I won’t get to share the fun “first day of school” pictures in September. Last year this would have bothered me because I really felt the need to blend in. It’s hard enough to “stick out” as a homeschooling family – particularly a homeschool family with special needs! How much MORE will we “stick out” now that we won’t be going “back to school” in September? You know what? It doesn’t matter. I’m OK with it. I’ve prayed about it as well, of course, and feel at peace. I have to remind myself that when I feel like I need justification I shouldn’t look at what’s going on around us but rather I need to look up. He knows our hearts, and He knows what is best for our family. If something so silly as not having first day of school pictures in September is more important than His guidance for my family or worrying about what others might say because our school year is “different” then I know I’m not trusting the One who has called me to guide and educate my children in this way. So another important lesson I’ve learned this year IS to trust Him more, to talk to Him more when I have doubts and turn to the One who has blessed me with this calling. It has turned that anxiety and fear into peace. And so, I’m happy to continue homeschooling through the summer, and the kids are, too! I have no doubt our summer will be a blast!
Linking up! I’m linking up with some great blog linkups! Be sure to check them out!