Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Boy of summer

After much consideration, we've decided to roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer for Bud. He won't be attending summer school.

He's eligible for the school district's summer session: a wonderful program for the month of July, four mornings a week in a small class with a low teacher-to-student ratio. Initially I jumped at the opportunity to enroll Bud in it. Then I watched Bud struggle through the last days of the school, and I started to consider the transition to the summer program from his perspective:

an unfamiliar (and long) commute

to an unfamiliar classroom

in an unfamiliar school building

with unfamiliar teachers

and unfamiliar routines

with unfamiliar children

for a month.

Then a farewell to everything and everybody involved in the summer program and a month off before making the transition to first grade and a new classroom in his old school with a new teacher and mostly new routines with some familiar kids and some unfamiliar ones.

He could do it; I know he could do it. It would be a difficult transition at first; he would be resistant, he'd cry a bit, he'd spend a good deal of time reciting scripts and pacing, but eventually he would settle in and make the best of it.

But to what end?

I'm not concerned that he'll "regress" during the summer. I'm not concerned that he'll be bored if he's not in school; Bud does not get bored easily. I'm not concerned that the lack of routine will be dysregulating for him.

In fact, on the contrary, I think Bud could use some down-time. I think that having a fun, lazy summer will recharge Bud's battery and help him to fully engage in making a successful transition to first grade in the fall.

So instead of going to school, Bud will spend four days a week with Nana, who says she's up for the adventure. We've arranged for two hours a week of private tutoring in reading with a teacher who knows and loves him, which will give him a chance to focus his energy on an area of strength and not just on areas of deficit. We'll continue to do RDI at home. We'll take advantage of programs at the library. We'll seek out opportunities to play with - or at least near - other children.

And other than that, Bud will spend his time splashing in the inflatable pool we set up in the backyard, making trips to the lake to float on his orange tube and catch minnows in his net, tending to the pumpkin seed he planted in the garden, exploring the woods around our house, visiting the children's science museum, going to the park to toss rocks into the stream, eating popsicles and ice cream, creating elaborate pretend-play scenarios that involve sending beach balls and soccer balls and basketballs up and down the slide at the playground, playing hard, getting dirty, and sleeping well.

This summer Bud's just going to be a kid.


Wendy said...

Wow! I want to be a kid at your house this summer! But alas, I believe I'm too old to be adopted by you. :) Sounds like Bud is going to have a great time...and with so many activities, how can a little boy not learn and grow?

The Jedi Family of Blogs said...

We were also offered summer school for B & made the same decision you did for basically the same reasons :) I have been providing a fair amount of structure for B during the summer for the past 3 years, at least for the 4 1/2 days a week that we're home together (dad has 1/2 of Wednesday off) & so have been able keep him from regressing... but the main object has been for us to have as much fun as possible. B does so much better with structure, so that's part of what makes it fun. Last summer he started taking part in the actual day-to-day planning, helping to decide which of the previously brainstormed activities to plug in at what times during our days. This year's list of activities include cooking, drawing manga, quiet reading time, working on our japanese, wiring an intercom from a kit, & weaving using the big loom. I've gotten so that I really look forward to our summer time together!

mysamiam said...

Good for you! Bud will have a great summer! Sounds awesome and relaxing!

Anonymous said...

yay for kid-dom!!! xx!

gretchen said...

So this morning Henry said he didn't want to go to summer camp. Over and over. With tears in his eyes. They tell me that he does great when he's there, but why is he breaking my heart about it?

Maybe Nana could open her camp to other kids...

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

Sounds like you made the right choice :o) When you mentioned the reasons why, it made perfect sense. Kids need to be kids no matter what. I have always tried to balance Gabe's therapies with his need to just be a kid. Going to parks, the library, playing on the slip and slide and jumping on flagstone steps is just as important as speech, ABA, PT and OT. Have a great time with Bud this summer!


Cynthia said...

This sounds great. Kids are so overscheduled these days. One year my son went to a summer school that was so choatic and intense, he was miserable. And for what? It did less, rather than more for his skill level because he was so freaked out by all the commotion. Kids need to have downtown and fun experiences such as the ones you described. Good for you!