Summertime….it’s Summertime

June 3, 2008 Kyron 4 Comments

I can’t believe that time has gone by this quickly. Today is the second day of summer vacation in Georgia. I remember thesnoopy dance Summertime....its Summertime good ole days when summer didn’t actually start until almost July…..of course then we didn’t start school until after Labor Day in September. But it’s just a different span until the kids go back to school. So for now I dream of August 4th and pray for the strength to make it thru the looooooong HOTlanta summer.

For a number of years Katherine was in what is typically referred to as Extended School Year (ESY). Basically its summer school. Not the kind of summer school you are thinking of where you’re being punished for failing a class (or more) during the regular school year. Really this extended school year is for special kids who would otherwise lose significant ground academically, socially, emotionally by being out of school for too long a period. While it is almost more loosely run than the typical school year so that students are having more of a summer camp experience than just sitting in a classroom. It can be a really great experience for the kids as well as serving an incredibly important purpose – keeping our kids in the groove schedule wise (incredibly important for so many special kids who need structure to maintain) as well as giving our children the continual reinforcement of academic goals and objectives. Usually these are the same ones that are included in the IEP during the regular school year or several that are picked for focus during the shorter summer program.

For years this has been something we felt was critical in maintaining Katherine – to a great degree I still believe it’s important. However this year her dad, stepdad, therapist and I all decided to opt for keeping Katherine at home during the summer. We have put a great deal of effort into preparing her for the transition to high school. There were a number of things about how summer school was going to be run this year that made us feel it might be working against all we had started up with the high school planning. I did alot of thinking about well if not in ESY what would we do?? Sitting at home watching TV just was NOT what I had in mind for summer vacation. With my current condition, going to the pool every day isn’t an option either. So what could I do to allow for some fun while doing our own “ESY” program at home.

We started to think about the life skills that we’ve been working on during the school year and the skills she most definitely needs remedial work on as well as what things I could reasonably accomplish at home without driving us both to drink (keeping in mind that in some ways she is still a typical teen and I am “just” a mom). So it occurred to me that some of you with teens who are going to need to work on independent living skills might want to think about doing some of these things as well. Maybe you’re lucky enough your kid knows these things already and if so could you send them to my house icon wink Summertime....its Summertime

  • laundry – separating clothing into color groups (white, light, dark) detergent, fabric softener, bleach, reading care labels on clothing and using the washer and dryer. Folding clothing and hanging up items is something she already does icon smile Summertime....its Summertime
  • meal planning – if Katherine had her way breakfast lunch and dinner would consist of pasta, pasta and pasta. Oh and drinks – LOTS of drinks. So we are going to work at planning every meal for the family for a week and what we have in the house to achieve those meals as well as putting together a grocery list for what will be needed to make those meals. We’ll incorporate looking at the weekly grocery store sales and what can we have for a meal that might be on sale.
  • Grocery shopping – yes she’s been with me a thousand times and even helps me find things. But now we’re going to work on shopping for ONLY what is on the list (not the thousands of items put at every corner to tempt you to purchase something you don’t have the money for) and learning about things like expiration dates, how to read pricing on items, determining how much of an item is in a package. Of course this is years of teaching but we’ll start out with a few items and go slowly.
  • Job applications – they have started working at school on filling out forms but honestly they are pretty simple. I’ve started to gather a few different forms that local companies that Katherine could reasonably approach about employment would have so if it’s not information she already knows (name, address, phone number, etc.) it’s something we can start working on now.
  • Money, Money, Money – it’s one of her biggest downfalls – what things cost and the fact that just because we want it doesn’t mean she can afford it (and I know that’s 3/4 of the American population but I’m not taking on credit card debt theory this year) Also in this realm will be knowing if you got the correct change when you paid for something because unfortunately you can’t count on the person at the register to get it right, or worse yet be honest. We’ll also go into the bank to make deposits rather than my usual run through the ATM machine so she is being met and meeting people who she needs to interact with in the community.
  • Personal grooming – for better or worse I do not have the typical female teen. She is less than careful about her appearance. Whether we like it or not, people judge you by your appearance in some way, shape or form. So this summer is about hair care (brushing, washing), face care (washing and those Brooke Shields eyebrows) and dressing appropriately which includes not only matching the clothing up in outfits that are coordinated but that once we have them on are we looking at if the shirt is pulled down, pants pulled up and how the whole head to toe look has come together.

While these are things we are working on I don’t have any belief we’ll hit perfection we have to start somewhere. These are all skills that she will need for the rest of her life and they will be working on many of them in school next year so no time like the present to get a head start. What kind of things are you working on with your kids that maybe others could be thinking about. I’m certain my list is far from inclusive on all the various skills our children need to work on. Share!

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Categories : Education, General, Strategies

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Stacey says:

    What great plans you have…!!
    – I wonder if 5 and 7 are too young for this list??? LOL!
    I have a 5 year old and 7 year old– and your list is a bit more advanced than we are — but it seems very clear!

    I plan to come back here and post comments often… you sound organized — but not OCD!

  2. Kyron says:

    Hahahaha my husband would likely argue the organized comment but I do try to at least have an outline of plans with Katherine. My daughter is 16 so 5 and 7 depending on the level of ability might be ok for some of these items. My 2 year old LOVES laundry and it’s a great way to teach colors!! He already knows what shirt, underwear, pants etc belongs to whom.

    OCD is not something I will ever be accused of however. ;) Welcome Stacey!

  3. Andi says:

    You are one creative mom! Remember to make it fun ,sometimes for your own sanity. My kids are 30 and 31 now with a typical kid of 30 in the mix. Summers were just overwhelming for us so just some advice from a vet who still deals with grooming,money and behavior issues, keep it simple!
    One idea that worked really well : Finding a grocery clerk who will help your daughter locate ONE item while you wait in the car. I usually told Jer to get lettuce or milk . Easy items to find once he repeated this over and over again. Then graduate to two items.
    Missy and I would put her clothes out the night before discussing colors and accessories…I still need to prompt her when Christmas socks seem to be a choice for a cute summer dress. Taking her shopping and letting her pick out some fun all purpose accessory is helpful getting her involved. Sometimes when Missy was asleep I would change the choices ..and she would not remember.Now she is a greeter at Walmart ,been there 3 years ,and what a great time she has buying her own gifts,etc. Have to say she has really pretty good taste.
    Hey did you notice how long this is? I have lots of time to myself now …….and all that extra effort really paid off .
    take care …andi

  4. Kyron says:

    Andi,

    what great tips!!! Good to know there’s at least one mom out there who made it through to the other side of this roller coaster ride. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!
    ~Kyron

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