Updated: May 29
This will be our second year of doing school through the summer (or, at least trying to!) as part of our year round schooling. Last year was a disaster in so many ways - we had to move out of our apartment because it flooded and ended up staying in a temporary space for more than 5 months - and it really threw us off. Remember how I wrote a few weeks ago about having a mental break down? Well, that flood was a good part of it! It. Was. Rough. And my crazy butt still tried to homeschool through the summer with it! Behavioral problems were through the roof with the kids, because I wasn't the only one stressed out...
This year we've changed things up a bit. I've decided that I'm not fighting with the boys anymore about doing school. Everything they like -TV, Nintendo Switch, Minecraft - is all tied to getting their schoolwork done. If they do their homework then they can earn screen time. If they don't, then they don't get any screen time, and I can rest at ease knowing that at least they're not vegging out in front of the TV all day.
One of my sons came to me the other day asking if he could play the Switch and I told him no, because he hadn't done any of his homework. He looked at me indignantly and said "But, aren't you supposed to MAKE us do our homework???" To which I answered a swift Nope. If they want to earn their time then they can take some initiative and do it themselves. So he pestered me to get his math work ready, and I got it prepped for both the school age boys, and showed them how to do it. The first day they dragged their feet getting it done. The second day they took their work out voluntarily in the early afternoon to do it and get the screen time they wanted.
This morning I stepped into their room to see one of them working on their math sheets, getting it done early so they could get to what they enjoyed. I asked the other if he was going to do it as well, and when he realized what was going on, he ran and got his work too. I've told them next week the expectations step up a bit, with added handwriting, reading practice, and proper math lessons (along with their Taekwondo and Piano practice).
I've seen what they can do when they stop fighting me. I'm just going to keep the boundary and expectations clear! It helps that I've been taking a college class in organizational principles, which is helping me see where I need to step back and give the boys more autonomy in their lives.
Long story to get to our summer school plans. Sorry, but I need to give context! So this year, given the fact that I'm stepping back my interference, we've got a lot of self directed work planned for the boys. We're joining our local library's summer reading program, and each of the older boys will need to spend time working on their own reading-out-loud skills. We're also running a booth at our local farmer's market to work on inter-personal, salesmanship, and entrepreneurial skills.
For daily Language Arts and Math we will be doing a couple of things. For lessons we will have them alternating - two math lessons one day, two language arts lesson the next day. This way we're moving through their curriculum, but we're only doing one type of lesson every day. I've found that this helps my kids get less overwhelmed as they aren't skipping around to multiple topics every day.
For independent language arts work we will be doing handwriting practice every day, from books that I have for them, or writing sheets that I make to work on targeted skills. For independent math work they will be doing Calculadders practice every day. This is the work that my boys have been voluntarily doing on a daily basis, and they are enjoying it a lot! I've started them on the easiest levels (which is why they're liking it I suspect), and they will do each sheet as practice four days a week. On the fifth day we'll do it as a timed test to see how fast they can do each problem! The point of this exercise is to get each child to the point where they have these answers memorized so thoroughly that they can give each answer with ease. This builds their brains up in ways that using a calculator simply cannot replace.
We will also be doing family reading together, but I'm going to write another post about that later! *Update! Find our blog post about how we do family reading with our ADHD kiddos here!