Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer School

Lian and I have been doing "summer school" lessons all summer long. There is no doubt that he needs to work on reading and writing and his homeroom teacher suggested that he would do better next year if he had his multiplication facts memorized. As during the regular school year, summer lessons were a super frustration. On top of not wanting to deal with the wall of writing each lesson seems to be, he also wanted to be outside or doing one of the many activities he was blogging about this summer. I persevered. He got weekends off and holidays and any day where we as a family could be enjoying summer outside the house. The lessons were less than onerous. I certainly wasn't about about to spend all summer locked in a learning battle. 

Reluctantly he has pushed through with whines and fusses. As far as he was concerned nothing has changed. It's all really hard. It takes too long. And when is he going to get a real summer vacation? I wish I could make him see it from my point of view. It's true his outward behavior is unchanged toward the books he was reading at the beginning of summer and the books he is reading at the end. However, the books at the beginning were specifically chosen well below grade level to give him practice at practicing reading and the books he is reading now are much closer to what he will encounter once third grade starts. Somewhere in the middle of summer we went from switching off reading every other page to each other, to him forgetting to stop reading so I could read my part, to him taking the book away from me and reading it all on his own. Whining about how hard it is, the whole time, I might add.  

We had an agreement at the beginning of summer that if he finished one book over the summer on his own, then I would read the rest of his reading list to him. It's the best part of our day. We have enjoyed many books together over the summer. A funny thing happened along the way though. He started getting impatient for our reading time together. For the first time ever in his young life, what happens next was more important that how hard it was to figure out the words. He picked up the books and began to read ahead. 

From what I can see, he is sounding out fewer words, his comprehension is up and he is reading harder material. Even though he still hasn't quite caught up, I would say being a "slave driver" over the summer has paid off. That became even more clear when he answered a multiplication question in a tv commercial the other day. He had the audacity to look at me with his innocent, not at all humble, smile and say, "Yeah, I learned that from copying my math facts, Cool Huh?" I should be grateful it won't occur to him until he has third graders of his own, that that is exactly why he has been "laboriously" copying math facts all summer long. Oh and copying things over is a great way to practice, oh, I don't know, writing!

I am so glad summer is coming to an end. Once school starts and we have a lesson plan in front of us, I can once again use the phrase, "Because your teacher said so!!", life will be so much easier. As I see it now, spelling is going to be his main challenge for this year. I have to give him credit for the way he sounds out what he writes (at least he's writing yeah?). Something tells me it's going to be a long year. Totally worth the effort, but really long.

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