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June 6, 2013

School’s Out for Summer – Now What?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/schools_out_for_summer_now_what/

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No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

--Alice Cooper

I can’t really believe that tomorrow is the last day of school. Tonight, I ran out at the last minute to buy gift cards for our son’s special education teacher, 1:1 aide and a few other classroom aides at Fairfax High School. We wrote out thank you notes, added some bird stickers and placed the new Willy Wonka DVD received from my sister in Danny’s backpack, all set for the big party tomorrow. But I still don’t feel ready for school and it’s familiar rhythm to end.

This is the earliest that school has ever ended, due to a new schedule that rings in the new school year in mid-August instead of the traditional after Labor Day . I’ve crafted a schedule worthy of a presidential hopeful in New Hampshire, with three different sitters/aides, his big sister, me and my husband all taking turns until Etta Day Camp and then summer school kicks in, with second session in the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah California as the grand finale.

We’ve made a list of the top five places Danny wants to go while on vacation which include the beach, zoo, and plane museum and we all look forward to getting to sleep in a little later. But Danny has developed some very nice friendships with the other kids in his special education class, and after spending several years together, the group really feels like a big family, and he looks forward to his time there. He got sad when I told him that school was ending, and he wouldn’t see his classmates for several weeks. They do gardening together, food prep/cooking, and take community field trips by public buses to grocery stores and other public places where they will need to go as adults.

I remember counting down those last days of school, just itching for more time on my own, away from class assignments and homework. But since Danny’s main social interactions outside of the family take place at school, he’s a lot less excited about school ending. So it’s time to add some new educational apps to the Ipad, buy a whole lot of sunscreen and get in touch with my inner “oompa loompa” as we settle in for the long days ahead.

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