Monday, June 11, 2012

School Is Ending

We are rapidly approaching the end of another school year.  Tomorrow is the last day of school around here.  It's a half-day.  Music Man will be done after his pre-K graduation (around 11) and Ballerina and Big Brother will be in school until 12:30 before heading home.  Then I will have 2 kindergarteners and a 2nd grader.

It's funny, but blogging has helped me figure out our summer.  I was writing a guest post last week for Multiples and More (will likely be published in July) talking about the stressors of changing routines in an Autism household, and as I was writing it, I came up with a strategy to cope with it all.  Now that I have a plan, summer doesn't seem so scary.

You see, we need a schedule.  That schedule can change from day-to-day, but we need to know what we are doing every day.  And that's not too hard -- you just have to make sure you have a plan when you wake up.  For example, for the month of July, Ballerina and Music Man will be attending ESY (Extended School Year) in the mornings.  Their respective buses will arrive at a predetermine time and drop them home at a predetermined time.  Once I know those times, I know how long I need to keep them occupied.

Big Brother will be going to full-day camps for most of July.  Whatever activities I plan for the twins, we need to be done in time for me to put them in the car and go pick up Big Brother at whatever location his camp happens to be.  That should leave us between 1 and 3 hours, depending on which camp Big Brother is attending (one ends at 2 the other at 4).  When it's only 1 hour, there's not much time, so we can make that free play.  When it's 3 hours, we can have our own "school".  I purchased a couple of activity books for Kindergarten at Sam's Club over the weekend and we can pull worksheets from there to work on together.  We can work on reading, writing, math, fine motor (holding pencils), coloring......whatever the day's "assignment" will be.  Then we can have some free play before getting into the car.  If it's not too hot, perhaps we can spend that free time in a park or going out for ice cream (Big Brother doesn't have to know).

Then, after Big Brother comes home, the routine is pretty clear.  It'll be time to head to the pool for swimming lessons for the twins (hopefully) and swim team practice for Big Brother.  Or perhaps there will be a meet (depending on the day).  Then we come home and do our evening routine before bed.

July will be exhausting, but I think it will be manageable.  August will be a little harder.  You see, camps and school will be over and creating a daily schedule will be more important.  But I did purchase a week's worth of camps at The Little Gym of Germantown for both of the twins.  Ballerina did this last year with no difficulty -- hopefully Music Man will enjoy it as well.  But, if not, both weeks will go to Ballerina.

And it's still possible we'll take a short vacation or two.  My parents would love to spoil (oops, I mean host) their oldest grandchild (Big Brother) for a few days.  And we are considering a possible trip to Hershey, PA for a weekend to go to Hershey Park and  Dutch Wonderland (but we are still in the "maybe" and "thinking" stages).  It's unlikely that the kids and I will spend the week with my in-laws as we have for the last few years this summer as it's getting harder and harder to make this trip without Dad and he really doesn't have the time to take off from work (especially since we are planning a road trip in October to attend my brother's wedding in Michigan).

In other words, this summer is already shaping up to be better than the last couple of summers.  And it's not because we aren't taking that trip or that the kids are growing up and are getting easier to handle, but because I wrote a blog post and really thought through what I wanted to do with them this summer.  I am more comfortable with things going into the summer than I have been since before learning the twins are Autistic and that has made a HUGE difference in my attitude.

So, for the first time, I'M READY FOR SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!

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