This evening, I met with the kids’ teachers for the first round of parent/teacher conferences. I am happy to report that all three kids received glowing compliments from their teachers, and they are doing great with their school work.
…here they come, 3rd & 4th grades!
Tomorrow, Addie and Alex return to school for another fun-filled year of learning. Both are quite excited to get back into the swing of our “normal” schedule, and I am beyond delighted to send them back. Ha! Not that we haven’t enjoyed our summer, but routines are a wonderful thing.
They are both excited about their new teachers, happy to already have friends in their classes, and they are looking forward to making new friends too. Did I mention that I’m excited and happy that they’re going back? 😉
I don’t even mind the endless paperwork that comes with the new school year, or really even the ridiculous cost of getting your child ready to go back to school. I’m determined to enjoy the years that they still like going to school, because who knows when that may change. I’m fortunate to have at least one kiddo that thinks homework is fun; Addie can’t wait to break in those new #2 pencils. Alex has more fun being with his friends, I think, but that’s ok too; he learns a ton from peer interaction, which makes me happy.
Andrew’s first day of Kindergarten (what?!?) isn’t until Thursday, so I don’t have to experience the joy of getting three kids out the door until then. That, my friends, should be interesting. Wish us luck!
I’ve made it no secret that I’m anxious for the kids to get back to school. However, as any parent of a child with an IEP will tell you, a new school year brings mixed emotions. Yes, I am more than ready for my kids to be on a consistent schedule, but I am not ready for all the extra work it takes to stay on top of everything. I feel like I just got everything situated for the last school year, then it ended. Now, I start all over. Summer is a nice break from that; not that I’m saying that advocacy takes a break, but it’s just not as intense outside of the school schedule.
I’ve been in a frenzy the last few days, making sure all three kids have supplies (even though I pre-ordered supplies for the kids’ classes, there are two other classrooms requesting supplies), backpacks, shoes, socks, lunch boxes…all the fun details that need attention. I think I’m about set. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, though.
Cheers to all the kids (and their parents) heading back to school in the next few days! I wish everyone an easy transition and a successful year.
Ah, the most glorious day of the year will soon be upon us: the first day of school.
Now, before all my teacher friends start throwing things at their computer (or whichever device of choice you might use to read my ramblings), I ask you to consider the current state of my household:
- Three kids, yelling at each other when one looks at another sideways, for no apparent reason except to see how quickly my head will explode
- Laundry out the wazoo because these kids find it necessary to change their clothes four times a day
- Library books collecting dust, chores not finished, toys on every surface of this house…until I lose my face at them for not listening when I tell them to read a book or clean up after themselves
- A mom on the edge of her seat (and sanity), counting down the days until school starts and also counting to ten more times than she cares to admit
Just because the kids return to school does not mean that any of this will stop. The kids will still yell at each other before and after school, there will always be a ridiculous amount of laundry, and I will still have to flip out and/or count to ten when dealing with all their shenanigans. However, every school day there will be a lovely six hour break from the nonsense. And that, my friends, is the key to keeping my last shreds of sanity intact. I need that break. It is the only thing that will help me build up my patience reservoir, and unless Costco starts selling huge vats of patience (wouldn’t that be great?), it will take me until next May (why does school let out so early?!?) to completely restore it.
Summer, as we know it, is quickly coming to an end. With school starting again in less than two weeks, I’m wondering how much more fun we can squeeze into the last days of summer break.
My kids have been plenty busy this summer, with camps, play dates, VBS, birthday parties, and typical every day kid stuff. We’ve played soccer and kickball and baseball in the backyard; we’ve captured lightening bugs and stayed up late watching movies. With the cooler-than-normal weather, we’ve not been to the pool as much, but the mild temperatures (low 80s in July in Ohio!) have made it more pleasant to spend a day at the zoo.
With at least one more big activity planned (a day at an amusement park), I think my kids would agree that they’ve enjoyed a great summer. I’m hoping our transition back into our school schedule will be an easy one; or, if nothing else, an uneventful one. The kids are excited to get back to school, and I’m more than ready to be back on a “normal” schedule.
Here’s to a lovely last 12 days of summer…but who’s counting?
My children will return to school seven weeks from today. But who’s counting? Certainly not their tired, cranky, overwhelmed mother. She never complains. Not ever.
What a day.
Being the last week of school, I’ve been busy gathering gifts for all the teachers, aides, and support staff that help my kids at their schools. Andrew’s last day of preschool was today, so I had him sign the cards for his teachers last night. Alex threw a fit, because he wanted to sign the cards, too. I tried to explain to him that he would sign the cards for his teachers, but not Andrew’s. He was not a happy camper. Andrew signed his name, I put the cards away, and we moved on.
At least, I thought we did.
When I went to get the cards this morning, I found this:
You may have seen me use this hashtag before, on Twitter, when I share a link or express my thanks to a public figure for drawing positive attention to a situation which involves an individual with Down syndrome.
This is something that I do to try and share the importance of inclusion with everyone, as many people just don’t have cause to think about it. It is my hope that someone sees the hashtag and puts a little thought into why inclusion is such a beneficial element.
Today, I was fortunate to see inclusion in action. Alex went to a birthday party for one of his third grade classmates. For the last couple of years, this has not been a standard occurrence. For some reason, the party invites stopped arriving; we feel as though this has coincided with the decline in classroom inclusion in previous years. The kids just haven’t been given an opportunity to see Alex as their peer. However, we (Mark, Al’s third grade teacher, and myself) have worked hard this year to increase Alex’s inclusion time. When Mark spoke to Al’s class on World Down Syndrome Day, he made sure to point out all the similarities between Alex and typical third graders. We sent home an information sheet about Down syndrome to the class, and Mark felt like he really got through to the kids. I would have to agree.
When we arrived at the party this afternoon, he was greeted with the usual enthusiasm, and after that, he chose to shoot baskets on his own for a bit (the party was held at an indoor play area). This is what we typically do. The kids are always happy to see Al, but then they get caught up in their own activities. This doesn’t usually bother Alex, as he still gets to see his friends, so I just followed Al around as he explored all the different play areas.
Then, something remarkable happened after Al happened to catch up to some classmates. They decided they were going to play on something else shortly after Al joined them, but instead of taking off, they stopped and waited.
“C’mon, Alex!” one boy said, and then another repeated “Yeah! Alex, c’mon, with us!”
Alex beamed. I beamed. It was wonderful.
They all stampeded toward a trampoline, where they bounced and shot baskets into an attached hoop. Al has a pretty good shot, and could keep up fairly easily with his peers as they all jumped around, playing basketball.
My amazement didn’t stop there. “Mrs Kearns! Did you hear that Alex read to our class today? It was awesome!!”, one of the boys yelled.
There were no other adults involved in this conversation; nobody was prompting them to make conversation about my kid. They seemed genuinely proud of their friend and his accomplishment, and they wanted to make sure I knew about it (I did know, as his teacher had sent me a note to tell me). Again, Alex beamed.
Then, the pizza arrived and it was time for the kids to eat, but Al decided he was too hot and he asked to leave. He said goodbye to his friends (and even got a couple more hugs), and we thanked the birthday boy’s family for the invitation.
I hope this is the beginning of a new trend. The more his peers see that Alex can do what they can do, I feel like they will include him more in their activities outside of school. This is just one way that inclusion benefits everyone, and hopefully, with time, we will be able to spread the word even further.
Inclusion matters. It really, really does.