When we discovered that we would be moving to Utah the week Mary would start Kindergarten, I frantically began looking into the schools here. It didn't take
long for me to find that our school district here has year round school, a.k.a. the "track system."
I didn't like the idea at all, and thought it was a horrible thing. Year round school...blah! With Mary's severe separation anxiety, it was as horrible as I thought. We would spend a few weeks working through things with her, she would finally get into a routine, and then she would go off track. We would have to start the whole process over again. It was not fun.
First grade has been a whole new experience for Mary. We had some anxiety to work through the first month or so, but once she got in the groove, all has been well, and we have actually come to really enjoy the track system.
I really like how just when we are all ready for a break from the spelling tests, homework, missing Mary all day, and the crazy mornings (7-9 weeks on track), Mary goes off track, and we love it.
She is off track for three weeks. Those three weeks are the perfect amount of time for all of us to rest, regroup, play, be together, go on any trips, and then be ready to get back into the swing of things again. She starts back up with school just in time.
I have really come to enjoy the not too long breaks, and the not too long chunks of school. The timing of getting a break, and going back to school seems perfect, for us anyway.
We have started a thing in our home when Mary goes off track. I make chore charts for the kids that they work on during the weeks Mary is home. It keeps them busy and productive, and teaches them to work toward a goal. Once the charts are finished (usually takes them about a month) they either get a pre-determined amount of money, or they can pick a toy or activity they want to do.
Mary was off track last month, and it was spring break, so they got some extra long charts to work on. We also had some extra long time to play as a family...and we did! I was very impressed with how well the kids did on their charts this time. I put some things on their charts that I wanted them to learn to do and get in the habit of doing. Like, making their beds each morning, setting the table, helping with dinner, practicing piano, ect.
They finished their charts just in time for Mary to go back to school, and they picked their rewards.
Mary got a doll she has been asking for for a while now. She saved up her own money as well and got a second doll to add to the collection. She plays with them a lot and doesn't take them for granted, because she had to earn them.
Sam picked a game for the wii that he has wanted for a long time, and he was VERY patient as we had to order it and wait for it to come in the mail. He checked the mail every day and was beyond excited. Well, the game came, and it wasn't what we thought. Major bummer. Sam handled it really well, and after we returned the game, he came up with another thing he wanted. Something that shocked me, but after a day of thinking about it, Ben and I decided to let him have it. Again, I had to get back on the internet and find it, and again, Sam was incredibly patient... and incredibly excited. I was very proud of him for waiting so long and for being such a good sport. We picked up his "reward" last night. He LOVES it, and I think it is way better than a silly video game. Sam's reward will get it's own post very soon.
With the charts, the family fun time, the breaks, the excitement of going back to school after the break, and the routines, we have found our groove with year round school, and have come to really enjoy it. It fits really well with our family and our lifestyle. It is a really good thing! Not to mention the fact that Mary goes off track for the final time in 1st grade the week the baby is due. Perfect!
So, I will happily eat crow right now, and admit that year round school is great, and I am grateful that we have been able to give it a chance.