Today is our last day of school before our two week break! Yay!
When we first began homeschooling, we followed a traditional schedule with summers off. It was great to have summers off, but it was just too long of a break. It was even harder to get back into the routine of school when September came around. Then, it occurred to me. Why not follow a year round schedule and break up those summer months into smaller weeks throughout the year? I certainly could use a short break from school every couple of months. The children like having the breaks too, and they are less likely to forget things after two weeks off than a whole summer.
The concept of breaks is helpful for a child with special needs as well. A homeschool meeting I attended was a helpful reminder that when planning the day for a child like Gabriel, I need to keep in mind his developmental age (not his chronological age). He is 7 years old, but for subjects, like Language Arts, he is actually much younger. With that in mind, his attention span is equal to that of a typical 5 year old. Problems with compliance can occur because I have planned an activity that just went beyond what he can handle. He has reached his “saturation point”. So a child with special needs will likely need lots of breaks. Gabriel’s speech therapist did this all the time. A special toy, some jumping jacks, catching a ball, a new book from the library. These are just simple, short activities sprinkled throughout the school day to help break up the more challenging things that he has to face.