Well, a few days before the end of kindergarten hit us, I was all in a panic over not having a thoroughly scheduled summer for J. Little did I know, our schedule was about to explode! Heavens, we’ve been busy! So busy that I haven’t had time to establish the daily routine to where it is consistent yet.
We had two days to get a feel for my big visual schedule system before the long Memorial Day weekend (which threw everything off, as weekends, and holidays, do). Then all of last week I was up to my eyeballs in preparations for Vacation Bible School, which meant I was squeezing in every possible moment to work on VBS stuff and kind of pushing the boys off to play on their own, if I could. Plus, we suddenly had a few playdates and other activities pop up that had to fit in (some of which threw off bedtime routines)…not doing a good job with consistency yet. This week we were all at VBS every morning, which is a much more taxing atmosphere on J., and apparently L. as well, as he was literally stuck to me the whole time. SO, we’re still in that phase of finding our summer groove at home. Hopefully things will settle down a little after this week!
We have, at least, established Central Command – surrounding a cork board between the kitchen and living room. Here I have posted J. and B.’s Summer Reading Program cards, and the library schedule of coordinating events for the Summer Reading Program, highlighting a few specific ones to try at various branches. I have also tacked up the suggested reading list that J. brought home from school as a bridge between kindergarten and first grade.
I have a written daily schedule with time-frames that the OT suggested, and a visual schedule board to illustrate this for the boys (with all those PECS cards I made). Next to the schedule board are choice cards for each J., B., and L. (within reach of the boys) to tape up their choices for chores and playtime activities (these are tacked in Ziploc bags labeled “Chore Choice,” and “Play Choice”). Things that frequently change on the schedule board are lined up with Velcro on an extra strip of felt that is tacked above the schedule board like this…
The big schedule board starts with J.’s Free Time Choice that he earns after completing his morning routine (morning and bedtime routines are posted separately in J’s bedroom, and include home OT). He has the incentive of choosing an activity if he can do his headphones, and all that jazz that goes along with Listening Therapy.
Next up is either errands or a fun outing (good playground time, since it gets so hot here this time of year), followed by a high impact snack (thick, crunchy, cold…including a protein). It is mid-morning by this time.
If we have been running errands, then next we do outside time and try to include movement that gives good sensory input (jumping, swinging, sandbox…) If we have had a fun outing, then we switch to do inside work next. This is when we all do general pick-up and then each of us picks a chore choice (vacuum, sweep, mop, dust, empty dishwasher, help with laundry…).
Next on the schedule board is lunch. I should mention, that there is plenty of wiggle room in the time-frame here. Sometimes what’s on the board for an hour only takes up half an hour. The boys have lots of free play time built up inbetween things, and I try to follow their lead with what they are content doing or if they are ready to move on to something else, while also sticking to the order of the schedule board. The order of events is what the OT felt was most important, not that we quit doing something they are enjoying because it’s 1:30 and 1:30 is written down as school skills time. It’s not that rigid.
After lunch is down time – the boys get to pick a Quiet Choice (puzzles, Lego’s, computer, TV time, books…). I also have School Skills here where I’ve attempted to do workbook pages with J., or get both J. and B. doing an art project. I picked up a cut and paste book at the store that has turned out to be a very good investment. My homeschooling sister-in-law also recommended ABeka Art books, which sound similar, but I’ve yet to track any down.
The OT told me to put half an hour of Mom’s Choice on the schedule next, which is to be a Not-An-Option thing for the boys to cooperate with or else they lose one of their own free choices later. I put in an afternoon snack.
J. gets a Free Choice with his afternoon Listening Therapy, that I try to do with him. Then brushing and compressions, then Free Time Choice as I get ready for dinner (like playdoh at the kitchen table while I cook, or sandbox on the deck while we grill).
Dinner and clean-up, then Family Time Choice for the evening, before bedtime rolls around.
The second half of the day has been thrown off by the new arrivals of soccer practice and swim lessons, both of which pretty much fell right in our laps. Great opportunities for J. to challenge himself and grow, but it has created some hectic time as we are running here and there and squeezing in dinner and getting home late. The schedule still needs to be tweaked a bit.
My big responsibility for summer (VBS) is now complete, and I think our Start-of-Summer kaBoOm! has passed. I’d like to do more with practicing school skills, and more with our library time…and regular playground time with access to climbing, instead of just poking around the yard digging holes and emptying the recycling bin into the front grass over and over. Why do they do that stuff?? I need to rethink afternoons/evenings with swim and soccer, and add Therapy Time to the schedule, as OT will start up again regularly next week….at the moment though I’m way too pooped to enforce any sort of order.
This house is presently very far from order, and I would like nothing more than a morning to stay in bed as long as humanly possible.