Family

Summer School Dropouts 

We let June be a month of lazy days after all the learning that was first grade. Mommy and daddy needed a break,  too. But, by July I was feeling an urge to implement some kind of summer school. I blame the mommy-guilt. 

I created an ambitious schedule, complete with pilfered Entering Second Grade Summer Math Packet, a customized 8 week spelling list, and Intro to Art History curriculum of my own creation, a poetry pack, and some titles he could easily read on his own, to keep him reading without getting discouraged. 

The fact that I created this plan makes me think that,  perhaps, I would not be the worst ever at home schooling.  However,  the fact that it’s now one week before school starts and I have yet to do a single thing on my schedule reaffirms my decision to send him to school.  Thank God for Saint Mark’s Catholic School.

In all fairness, I am working full time and had not consulted with my husband who was home with the 7 year old and the twin 18 month olds all summer.  So,  my intentions were to squeeze school in between dinner and bedtime?  Or, more realistically, between baby bedtime and 7 year old bedtime?  No one in their right mind would start school at bedtime. I set myself up to fail.

But, here I am, the week before second grade, with a few days of vacation time on my hands.  Why not force my child to do school work,  effectively strangling-to-death the last week of summer with my bare hands? I was never going to be the favorite parent anyway.  

I sorted through the pages of math sheets I printed, discarding a lot of the repetitive stuff, settling on enough for two short worksheets per day from now through Labor Day.

Then, I went over the 8 weeks of spelling words.  I chose 4 weeks with diverse sound patterns and plan to have him work on each set over two days. 

I cut Art History all together. And, decided to turn my poetry lesson plans from memorizing to just reading and appreciation, thus merging poetry and reading into one.

If this sounds ridiculous, it probably is. But,  a lot of the math and spelling are review.

When I drug the 7 year old out of bed this morning and gleefully announced my plans, I was met with much protest. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. But, with gentle coaxing (mild threats and some bribing with Sour Patch Kids) he acquiesced. And,  it was so much smoother than either of us anticipated.  

We got through the two math sheets, poetry, and spelling in about 30 minutes. That includes breaks to entertain toddlers, switch the laundry, and a mini-tantrum when he learned he would need to do more than just the math sheets to get the Sour Patch Kids. Even more impressive was how well he remembered math concepts, and how little he stumbled with reading and spelling. I mean,  I didn’t do a lick of summer school as a child. I was buried in books, but that’s about it. I never “regressed”. He just made so much progress in first grade and I really feared him losing what he’d learned over the summer. Turns out this fear,  as with nearly all of my fears, was unfounded. 

I am still going to stick to this plan as much as possible this week,  because while I am not sure be needs the review, he does need to get back into a groove. He has to get back to not being on his own,  unscheduled time.  He needs to switch his thinking back into a “school-mode”, of sorts. He needs to get used to doing homework and other unpleasantries, just so school isn’t so much of a jolt for him, on a social and emotional level. 

Plus, he won’t admit it, but I think he thought it was at least a little fun.  😉

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