Ah, the dog days of summer are here. Last-minute vacations, sweating while shopping in the brutal Texas heat, and purging your house to get rid of the old, making room for the new and reorganizing everything to get ready for the school year.
I have four children in school. My oldest is starting her senior year, my youngest is starting second grade and my two middle boys are heading into eighth grade.
My oldest and youngest handle public school beautifully, but my two middle boys do not. They are a year apart, but the older of the two was retained once I made the wallet-clenching decision to transfer him to private school.
I love our local public-school system and was raised in it; however, it did not serve my boys well. The youngest of my two middles was in trouble on a regular basis because he was like a kid in a candy store and wanted to try one of everything he encountered, and at public middle school, there are lots of things to encounter.
However, my older of the two struggled with learning disabilities. I was reliving a heart-breaking moment with my husband the other day.
“Do you remember when he came home and asked if he was born bad?” my husband asked.
I felt my breath catch in my chest and his little forlorn face flooded into the forefront of my mind. My beautiful son was only 7 and in first grade at the time when he came home and asked us that dreadful question.
A teacher who had a pile of unfortunate events occur in her life made the comment to another teacher and my little boy picked up on every word.
Anyway, the school system did the best it could with him, but it kept him frustrated and behind up until I yanked him out of public school and placed him in private school.
We all celebrated a little victory dance when he came home with passing grades at the end of the school year — all without accommodations!
Anyway, this summer has been a little different for us Watsons. Not only do I have my four kids in the home, but we are also getting ready to receive two foreign exchange students.
Yes, I am slightly insane, but I am also determined to continue providing the education my boys receive at the private school, and if that means we have to rearrange and double up in rooms, then that we will do.
One of the major ways I am preparing, is organizing. Everything.
I am a super control freak when it comes to lunches, and I want to make sure my kids have good nutrition and end lunch with a satisfied tummy, so I make them take an entree, fruit, chip/cracker, drink, and sweet snack.
My tiniest boy loves cherry tomatoes, so I will often pack those for him as well. I take the time to bag up perfect portions of fruits and place them in a bin in the fridge, followed by all the other items in their own bins.
The morning of school, they just have to grab their items of choice, throw it in their lunch box and go.
This worked fantastically for all of my kiddos last year, and I suspect it will work great for the new additions to our family as well.
All six kids will be sharing a bathroom, so to make it less cluttered and to prevent fights of, “He used my soap,” I placed bins in my hall closet.
Each bin has the name of the child on it with their shower/bathroom supplies in it.
When it is time to shower, they just grab their bin and then put it back when they are done.
Of course, things don’t always go as planned, but I think we have a good foundation for a smooth school year with a house full of children.
I will keep you updated on the ginormous Watson family and my sanity!
Jennifer Watson is a Herald correspondent.