Archive for June, 2011

Writing letters

This week, I got two letters.  One from a college best friend, and one from a California best friend.  It was so fun to get actual mail!  This week, I also went through some old letters from when I moved to Indiana from North Dakota when I was 13.  It was also really fun to read through some of those, though I couldn’t make it through all of the high school angst before needing a break.  I also have letters from Carl saved somewhere, and letters from college friends from summers away.

It made me really consider how special “real” letters are.  Yes, email and Facebook are great for quick connections.  I even have some older messages saved on old email accounts, and I could read through them.  But the personal nature of letters, the handwriting itself even, make reading through them so much more special.   It’s almost like reading the other side of my journal.  I wrote letters that expressed similar feelings to what I might write in a journal, and these old letters provide the reflection from someone else back.

I’m getting ready to leave for 5 weeks for clinical boot camp.  I will be away from home until July 29th, with a brief trip back for the 4th of July weekend.  It’s not quite vacation, as I have a lot of work to do when I’m there.  Still, I know I will have more time to myself, and a personal goal for this summer is to write letters.  To those friends mentioned above, to Carl, and to the kids.  I want them to have something special to look forward to when I’m gone, so I plan on writing to them each night and sending a daily letter.   I make no promises about how often I’ll write to others this summer, but I’m going to write.  This new habit may not make it far into the school year, when I again get behind on classwork and lesson plans and IEPs.  But for the summer, in this more relaxed time, it doesn’t matter that I can type much, much faster than I can write by hand.    I still will have 30 minuets a day to write some letters, to share encouragement with others, and to maintain connections that are very important to me.  So, two friends mentioned above, be on the lookout for letters!  One of them is already done, in fact, and should be on the way later today.

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Summer so far

My summer has been very relaxing, easy, and fun so far. I have had almost 2 weeks off of school-work, and my class load hasn’t been too heavy, meaning I do feel pretty relaxed. I am trying to get organized and ready for boot camp at least some every day, but as I get closer, I find myself with quite a bit to do still, and I leave on Sunday!

This morning I woke up at 5 am with a kid, and decided to stay up at that point. I took advantage of the quietness and worked on the “work” boxes for the kids. As part of their summer schedules, I want the boys to each do 30 minutes or so of some kind of academic work. This is mostly for Carl’s sanity as he will be on his own for 5 weeks! The plan is that it will give him a little down time from being the awesome dad that he is, and is part of the larger loose summer schedule we have already put into place.

The box for Humorous Thinker has:

  • math book, Life of Fred Pre-Algebra I with Biology, for him to do daily.
  • A write-your-own-book kit, which he got for Christmas, started, and hasn’t finished.
  • A journal for writing down the books he reads for the library summer reading program, along with whatever else he wants to journal.
  • A daily devotional book.
  • A brain puzzle book
  • The history book, A Child’s History of the World, because I think he will love reading it.
  • A book he got from school about critical reading and writing.
  • Some math and writing worksheets I printed from online
  • I also will be giving him writing assignments via mail when I am gone.

He decided on his own that he wanted to work on writing this summer. We got his 4th grade ISTEP scores, and they were all ISTEP+ range, but his writing was the lowest. So, he wants to work on improving writing. I also am going to have us both complete the same assignment, so he can compare what I write to what he writes.

The box for Perpetual Motion Boy has:

  • Worksheets for daily speech practice. Yes, the child of this SLP-to-be still has articulation errors! He can make all of the sounds, but I know he just needs to practice more, which we just don’t do that much at home. So, hopefully just a little daily practice this summer on r, l, and th will pay off.
  • A science book right at his level, about plants and animals. I went through this morning and wrote down assignments for some of the pages, putting them right in the book. Little things like “go look outside at the way the leaves are on the stems of different plants. How many different kinds can you find?”. Some of them he can send to me, others will just be recycled. I think he will love this!
  • A journal for recording the books he reads for the summer reading program.
  • A prayer journal
  • A “get ready for 3rd grade” workbook. Yes, he is going into 2nd. But I looked through the book, and he can do most of the first four weeks (aside from regrouping with subtraction), and I know he will be more motivated to work on something advanced.
  • A brain puzzle book
  • Some leftover math pages I got from school for second grade. He can work through one a day.
  • Printouts for learning cursive writing, which he really wants to do. His printing also needs a lot of work, but I figure we will work where he is most motivated, and right now that is for cursive.

Of course, Miss Imagination needs a box, too. She will mostly be taking her nap when the boys are working, but I am trying to find things for her to do at other times. So far, I only have:

  • A box of spelling puzzles, where each piece spells a word.
  • Melissa and Doug letter stamps and a stamp pad
  • A blank notebook and crayons for coloring, writing, and making things to send to me.

In addition I am also making a chores list for them, mostly for the boys. Our summer expecatation has a handful of chores to be completed daily, and then a list. Each day, we want them to choose at least 2 chores from the list. If they want to do extra chores, they can earn money for each chore. Humorous Thinker also gets paid to mow our lawn and mow a neighbor’s lawn.   He loved the list, and was immediately motivated to start on two chores today.  Perpetual Motion Boy thought it sounded OK, but doesn’t want to start until I leave.  Here are the chores:

Do Every Day:

  • Pick up the Legos and toys in your room; put them in the right bins
  • Pick up all of the books on the floor, even if you didn’t read them
  • Put laundry away
  • Set the table
  • Clear the table
  • Do 30 minutes of box work
  • Write to Mom, or draw me a picture!

Choose at least two every day:

Place your initial after the chores you do each day.  Extra chores earn you money!

  • Load the dishwasher
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Sweep the floor
  • Wash the floor
  • Vacuum in the living room
  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Wash the sliding door window and the bay window
  • Clean the bathroom sink
  • Wipe off the toilet
  • Spray and wipe the bathtub
  • Help Miss Imagination clean up her room
  • Read books to Miss Imagination and write them down
  • Take trash from bathroom to kitchen trash can
  • Wipe the cabinet fronts in the kitchen
  • Help get dinner ready
  • Clean mirror in the bathroom
  • Help fold laundry
  • Clean up the backyard
  • Clean the playroom in the basement
  • Take out the recycling
  • Weed and water the garden
Carl has a pretty good schedule mapped out for the summer when I’m gone.  Everyone normally wakes up between 6-7.  It’s breakfast and some iPad time then (everyone gets 30 minutes a day in the summer), and then outside time right away, since it’s normally pretty nice out at that time of day.  Very often this play time will be with the neighbors.  For 2 of the weeks they will have swimming lessons (just finishing up their first session) at 10, one week they will be helping out at the church summer program Recess, one week the kids will hopefully be staying with Grandma and Grandpa (fingers crossed it’s in their new house!), and one week they will be in Chicago with Carl’s brother and nephew.
After lunch (when they’re home), Miss Imagination will nap, and the boys will do their work and chores, and then have free time to read, play inside, listen to books on CD, and so on.  Carl normally will nap or take his own rest time during this time.  Then, in the afternoon they’ll have more time to play outside, hopefully with the neighbors again.  Dinner, then play time until bed.
I think they’ll have a great time, and only miss me a little bit!

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