As he has done every year, Colin is participating in our district's extended school year program. This year it's structured a bit different as they have gone from a 6 week program, 4 hours a day, 4 days a week to a 4 week program, 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. I have had mixed feelings about the change but in many ways I think that it's better that he's only going for a shorter time this year. I think it's important for all kids to get a break in the summer but I am glad for some routine and structure so that it's not a big change when he goes back in September, especially for a full day in Kindergarten. Last summer seemed a little bit chaotic (it didn't seem as structured as the normal school year) so I think it's good he's going and refreshing skills. In some ways I DO wish it were as long since Kindergarten will be a big change but I think some of the behavior issues we were seeing at the end of the year were just due to (like all kids) being "done" and needing a break.
Because of all of the meetings we have had this year for Colin in discussing what he can and can't do and what he will NEED to do in Kindergarten, I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed this summer in trying to get him as ready as I can prior to heading off to his new inclusive environment. I have spent a lot of time on the computer finding different activities working on letters, numbers, sight words, etc. and I try to incorporate them when I can during the day. This can be very challenging and difficult because I do want my kids to experience summer days at the beach, parks, boardwalk, play dates, and so on (which I find to all be just as valuable as the academics) and then you have to work around being tired and noncompliant.
I know that a lot of people worry about their kids and starting a new school year but sometimes I think it stinks that I have other worries on top of the normal anxieties. How do we ensure Colin's behavior will be what it should? How do we deal with the challenges that will (most certainly) arise? What if (despite the fact that he is IN an inclusive class) the other parts to the equation aren't doing THEIR share to allow Colin to be successful? What if he really, really struggles with the academics? What if...?
Don't get me wrong, I understand that a lot of the reasons as to why I worry is due to the fact that we are starting some new and uncharted territory. I know that in our district, we are choosing the path that is the least traveled so in a lot of ways we need to break the mold. I read materials every day about the positives and negatives to this and I just worry.
Every day Colin is showing us what he is capable of and I don't expect anything less than that when he heads to school in September. He is exerting his independence in many ways and many times a day I am reminded of this when he says to me, "no mom, I do it". He knows what he wants and he works hard to get it.
I also know that this will be a new environment than what he is working in so in many ways, that will be really good for him. I just want what we all want for our kids; for him to be happy and successful. In getting that though, I just hope that I am doing *enough* this summer so that he is ready...