1. We are officially done with school for the year. Fulton and Teddy finished all their work last week, and this week I am correcting, grading, and updating transcripts for the older three. There are a few things the older three are redoing or finishing for me, but it’s basically been a week of tying up loose ends more than anything. (Affiliate links below.)
2. On Monday I emailed Fulton’s teacher and case manager to let them know our intent to withdraw Fulton from the school district and resume homeschooling him next year. I thanked them for all the work they did to welcome him into the middle school and for everything they did to include him in class and school activities.
First and foremost, I’ve been thinking about homeschooling Fulton since the end of last year, but I wanted to see how he did in the district’s self-contained class vs the special schools from the previous two years. It was his best experience in a classroom out of the three years he was in school. However, our foray this year into distance learning helped me test the homeschooling waters with him. After 12 weeks of quarantine education, I decided I wanted to homeschool him next year. The needs of my other kids are very different from four years ago, and I can devote a large chunk of my day to working with him one on one without any of the other kids educations suffering. Plus, I will still have daytime nursing.
Addie will be a full-time college student in the fall. Byron will be doing all dual credit courses at the same college. Edie starts high school, but works independently very well. Teddy will remain in public school. Teddy was not thrilled with the news. But I explained I really needed a year to work with Fulton one on one, and I know that he (Teddy) will continue to do really well in school.
3. And so, we parted with the middle school on good terms. I know that if I change my mind, they will welcome Fulton back with open arms. Because of this good relationship, I don’t want to delve too deeply into all my motivations to homeschool, but I will say that when I enrolled the boys in school, I had certain expectations about how I thought Fulton would be taught. I understood he had trouble learning, and I thought I understood how the schools and classes he was enrolled in would address those struggles. My assumptions were all wrong. Public school (which includes the two special schools he was enrolled in for the first two years) was simply not what I expected at all. They provided some wonderful programs, but, in the end, they just didn’t provide what I expected or wanted for Fulton. Therefore, now that my schedule is different, I want to resume homeschooling so I can pursue the goals I feel are in Fulton’s best interests in the ways I think will work best for him. It’s not that the schools had bad goals, they were just very different from what I wanted, or expected, or really, what Fulton himself wanted. Fulton is happy that he is going to be homeschooled. I was concerned he would miss classmates or student government, but he has assured me that’s not the case. It will be a challenge to find new social outlets for him (as it always has been), but he’s got suggestions for activities he’d like to try or clubs he’d like to start, so I’ll work there and see how it goes.
4. One of the things I introduced at the onset of quarantine school was a new reading program for Fulton. Knowing my own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing that I didn’t want him using a little kids reading program, I discovered the Reading Horizons Elevate program. We chose the online program geared for kids and adults 10 and older. There’s no distracting cartoons or games or childish features. And there’s lots of other resources to help with review off the computer. (It can be purchased as a totally off-line printed program as well.) He worked on many lessons independently in the morning, and then I worked with him on review in the afternoon. Now that it’s summer, we’ll continue with the program at a slower pace, focused on review and reinforcement. It’s a yearly subscription, and it was expensive, however there was a 60 day money back guarantee. I figured that would give me plenty of time to determine if it was worth it. If you have a older child who is struggling with reading, I highly recommend it. Fulton has made good steady progress, and the amount of review materials mean that even if he “hits a wall” we have several activities we can use to practice and reinforce previous lessons, so I’m not searching the internet for other materials. It’s definitely an all in one program. (They also have a program for younger children that covers the same material with all the fun games and cartoons you’d expect, plus there’s an app for review.)
5. We finally got out our inflatable pool this week and, surprise!, it has several leaks; I’m not sure we’ll be able to save it. Since our OBX trip, the whole family has been itching for a hot tub, but everyone giving away, or selling for a reasonable price, a hot tub on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace is literally offering a piece of rat infested garbage. Pretty sure it needs more than just a little “DIY and elbow grease” if I need to dig it out of a pit in your backyard where it’s sat since you bought your house. Or they’re offering a slightly nicer version for $9,999. “It’s like new!…and only needs a new motor and heating element!” Womp womp. I might try a beach trip soon, but leave early in the morning when it’s less crowded, and visit an Atlantic City beach with handicap accessibility vs our usual Ocean City spots- again, with the goal being to avoid crowds. It’s going to be a different summer for sure.
6. Teddy has discovered chesskid.com and plans on becoming a grand master this summer, plus Fulton is studying Korean with this app between reading lessons. (Addie’s love of K-pop has proved contagious.) Addie and Byron’s summer camp plans were cancelled at the last minute this week and there’s only so many jobs that I feel are safe for them to apply to. I’ve decided to plan some family activities in a last ditch attempt to hopefully add something special to the summer. I think kids need plenty of free time, but since Fulton and Teddy need help to do most activities, I find it helps my sanity if I plan some things out for them around open blocks of time. I’m organizing the activities into five themes, with a weeks worth of activities for each theme. I hoping to find stuff to do for kids of all ages (with perhaps a few cocktail recipes thrown in for the adults). Since I’m doing all this planning, I thought I’d offer it to my readers as a Summer Fun Series. Sign up HERE to get five emails between June 22-26 with all the themes and activities. This is a separate list from my email list; you’ll only get the Summer Fun Series when you sign up, nothing else. And if you’re on my regular email list, you won’t get spammed with all those emails unless you sign up through one of my regular newsletters (next one goes out tomorrow).
7. Lastly, I wanted to share the link for The National Black Catholic Congress. They have links to lots of great articles and videos from black clergy and black Catholics from around the U.S. (including a monthly webinar series), and a list of recommended books (including children’s titles). They have produced The African American Catholic Youth Bible, and they also have a small store front where you can support their work by purchasing beautiful art like this image of Our Lady. You can also download (for free!) six beautiful images of six black Catholics on the road to sainthood right from their homepage.
Now it’s your turn. Write down your takes and link them up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!