While the rest of my children (and most of the nations) still have a month left of summer vacation, my two youngest school-agers head back today. They've had just the month of July for summer break. Most parents think think this isn't long enough but I feel lucky to have them in this school. And for a short summer break. If we did day camps, big family vacations and regular activities I'd probably feel the same- but we don't. And too much free time, especially during that last month of break, sets us all up for lots of arguing, idle time and breaking of good habits (like regular bed times). And a harder time of readjustment back into reality.
Last Thursday we had open house. O, I and myself got to meet their teachers, see their classrooms and friends. I really like both teachers and think this will be a great year for them both. I didn't get to spend as much time talking with O's primary teacher (they each have a primary and 2 specialists in the class- not to mention numerous support teachers) as I'd of liked but being such a small school I'm pretty sure she's already been made aware of O's strengths and weaknesses, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to talk things over in the coming weeks.
In their school the classes tend to stay together for a few years time, with mixed grades for 2nd and 3rd, and 4th and 5th. With Kindergraten and 1st each in a seperate class, with a new teacher each year. It runs simular to a Montessori that way. I is entering the 4th grade this year, an "upper classman" of the school. They lost a lot of girls at the end of school (mostly because of older siblings graduating and parents deciding to switch the younger siblings to other schools) and so there is only 5 girls in the whole of the 4th/5th grade. I hope this will be a good thing, with less drama and the girls being able to unite more. I know for I it's hard, she lost most of her best friends. But she and I do like her teacher this year a bit more than last. (Last years teacher tended to look only at where the kids could improve and not recognize their strengths as much as I'd like.) And I feel academically she'll excel.
We also got to meet the director of the special ed. program. Oh and I can't wait to talk to her more! With O's new Dx he'll be able to receive more structured help in school. (They have on site OTs and STs- and OT/ST rooms!) Even maybe have OT at school, when he's having days where he's struggling. SHE mentioned this! I'm sending in a permission to exchange info for his developmental pediatrician and when he starts working with an OT, one for them too. This information will help get us going on a IEP for O- one that can follow him to whatever school he may go to in the future.
So at 8:30 this morning while others are still enjoying their summer breaks my two will board their bus and head back to school. Off to learn more. I hope to start a new schedule for J, C and I this week. (O will be in school ALL day, so that gives me a bit more time to devote to the littests.) One that includes a regular morning nap for J and a more structured "preschool" time for C, where we can focus on him and maybe some of the things we are learning from his therapists. Even an ECFE class this fall/winter.
I really am starting to feel longer school years are a benefit, for all kids. But probably wouldn't work in the current public school mindset that school is all work and fun's for at home. Kids would get burnt out fast!
(I hope I can get a picture- my camera's batteries are dead atm, but if I can find P's I'll grab one of them before they head out and add it later!)