Sooo, What About School in Summer?

Summer school or no summer school is a hard question. It is an individual decision. Some areas have local schools for the blind that offer a range of recreation, independent living skills development, social opportunities, and skills building opportunities in a short burst of fun in a camp-like setting. Depending on what your child’s IEP says regarding summer school, there is usually a short 6 to 8-week shortened summer school program in a less structured environment. There are local bible schools/camps through churches, YMCA or YWCA day camp, camps for special needs children, etc. I have mentioned some of these options before as opportunities for social interaction for home schooled children.

This year we opted for no OT, PT, or speech, and we took August off from O&M services. I needed a break with no appointments. I’ll be real honest. Home schooling is a full-time job and like all other teachers, I too need a break to rest, recharge, and do nothing if I want to. We did keep the one afternoon a week in the local daycare for social interaction.

There are other things to learn besides academics that are important. This year we are learning to ride a bike, ride on the pond in the paddle boat, and entertain yourself while Mom does something else. I find a dishpan full of water and no-more-tears shampoo along with a few unbreakable dishes gets me an hour and my floor partially washed, LOL. A wading pool will get me an hour of reading on the front porch with a refreshing beverage. We have a few family and friend gatherings and picnics, my favorite. Then there are movie marathons on rainy days.

Okay, so picture teaching 8-year-old twins to ride a bike. One is totally blind and the other is short, as in 4ft short, with seizures and hydrocephalus. So we bought a 12-inch bike and a 16-inch bike with training wheels for their July birthday. How can we make this safe? A no-brainer of course was the helmets: Turtles and Spider Man to match the bikes. A hefty supply of Band-Aids is a must! We have a pretty long driveway that is recycled tar (looks like gravel, but no mud season and provides parking for our 40ft motor home). So we park the car and truck at the driveway entrance, so no one can pull in. Then we have the driveway clear for the 60 to 70-foot length, providing a slightly elevated bike course. We taught pedaling and steering and how to walk your bike back up the driveway, cause I’m not doing it. So now the riding part. Start at the top and watch out below. Good for an hour and a half, requiring parental supervision and nerves of steel. “Coming Through!” Priceless!

Doing something different in summer, whatever it is, is still learning. Learning never stops, just morphs.

Now, it is time to tuck it in and get started in school again. OT/PT, TVI, O&M are all coming back. Sadly our speech teacher is not. I’m holding out hope she will moonlight with Vinnie. Now, like everyone else, it is review time. But OH, the memories we made! The first week of school is under way, with many changes. We are all excited to begin again! Blessings to all as you return to your school year routine, whatever that might look like.