Tag Archive | special education

Summer Learning

When I was a kid I always used to get the inevitable summer reading list, especially in grammar school, which always got shoved somewhere under my bed the day after school let out.   I blissfully forgot about the lists for the rest of the summer.  I think I was friends with a few kids who did actually, you know, learn stuff during the summer.  That definitely wasn’t me though.

 Now that my own little redheaded appendages are in elementary school they get those summer reading lists and sometimes more.    I was a book-worm when I was a kid, (and now) so I just ploughed through most of the local library on my own.  However with my oldest, I have made an attempt each summer to reinforce her math skills.  Like me, she is also a reader, so those lists were generally half read before summer started.  But with the math we would enthusiastically make up worksheets for about a week, and then suddenly it was half way through August when I  remembered to pull out the booklet or find a math game on the computer.  We always made a half-hearted attempt though, and as a result her brain was not entirely empty when she went back to school in the fall. Now that she has discovered a few new math games on the computer that she enjoys, I think she will get a little more learning this summer.

 This year, however, since I have two little ones in school its double the load.  Apparently, being in special education entitles you to a nice shiny journal with lots of blank pages, along with the math and reading.  Because of her challenges with focus and attention, I really want to give her a boost up as she enters the intimidating world of regular education.  My youngest is thrilled with her journal and can hardly wait for summer to begin so she can start filling those pages up. 

It’s really for their own good, I tell myself.  Unfortunately life always seems to intervene and we are left with fewer days of leisure each summer.  I am hoping that my daughters’ enthusiasm for learning carries them beyond my innate summer laziness and that we get much more summer learning done this year.  I kind of have a hunch we will.

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The Graduate

Last thursday was a proud day for me in mommy mode.  My youngest redheaded appendage graduated kindergarten.  Well, the first year of it.  She was in a special education class this past year and has done incredibly well.  

For at least the past two weeks she has been reminding me daily of the impending graduation ceremony.  The days preceding the event were filled with the sound of her practicing songs which the class would sing at the graduation.  Finally the day arrived.   After getting many assurances that I was absolutely coming to her graduation, she allowed me to leave for my half day at work.  The ceremony was only for her particular class.  Since my oldest never had any ceremony, I suspect it was more to do with the teacher, than a change in school policy. 

As I arrived in the library and took a seat among the other parents and grandparents brandishing flowers, balloons and cameras, I noticed how much hard work had gone into the celebration.  There were banners and posters of the student’s artwork and classwork handing on the walls for us to gloat over.  We all chattered quietly as we waited for the grand entrance.  Finally, after a few announcements, the graduates arrived.  They processed down the aisle to the front of the library, each wearing their best that day.  We were treated to several songs that they had learned, accompanied by the flash of many camera’s. 

My one mistake of the day was wearing heels, the HIGH ones.  During the 45 minute ceremony most parents stood in order to get the best shots.  By the end my feet were screaming. 

After several songs, which showed their hard work to the full extend, we had a little award ceremony and the handing off of the “diploma”.  I am supremely proud to say that my littlest sidekick got the  “Best Reader Award”. 

Afterward we all had a chance to relax, speak to the teachers and other parents and hug our treasures.  There were even cupcakes. 

It was a proud day.  One of my friend’s, whose son was in the class, said to me that  it’s always particularly special when the kids have come so far and overcome many of their own social and learning difficulties to graduate kindergarten.  And she was so right.  It was a moment to remember.  I know my daughter was so proud of herself and her friends.

She is now looking forward to next year in the regular kindergarten.  She’ll have to get used to the bigger class size and smaller number of teachers in her class, but she is ready and eager.  She is even determined to practice her math and reading over the summer.  She better have more willpower than I do.