So I'll answer some more questions. :)
Thank you for finding time to post so frequently and for answering questions and sharing your knowledge. To keep you going: what is Ricky planning for the next year? What new skills is Russell learning and working on. (This hopefully helps you see the HUGE progress he has made since his arrival at your home.) What are the major themes you plan on for the next 4 months of homeschool...... or activities TT&Bart will focus on for summer. How do you manage living in your climate in the summer. (I particularly wonder as just prior to WWII my parents lived there and there was no a/c and there were LOTS of .... insects with no controls. My mother, from the Pacific NW, was not entranced.)What is Ricky planning for the next year?
Ricky was held back in 1st grade so even though he's 18 years old, Ricky has to finish high school. He'll be a senior next year. His time will be spent working at his job, competing with the swim team as a diver, and going to school. He'll come over to the house every now and then and I anticipate that he and Herman will remain friends. Basically, he'll get to be a normal kid and he won't have CPS breathing down his neck. He still lives with his godmother, Rebecca, and everything is going great there.
What new skills is Russell working on?
Russell has learned out to sit up with incredible ease. He goes from prone to sitting and the physical therapist said his transitions are excellent!! (She was surprised at how "normal" his transitions are!) We will continue working with everything we can to help Russell catch up to what his normal should be. (As a child with Down syndrome it is expected that he will be delayed.) We will continue to do exercises that strengthen his trunk and core muscles. We will help him learn to pull up and cruise. I'm looking forward to some progress with fine motor skills so he can do things like feed himself toddler foods.
What are we doing for homeschool this summer?
I've mentioned how my boys are going to go back to brick and mortar school next fall. To make a long story short, it's largely due to football. TT wants to play football and homeschooled kids aren't allowed to do any public school extracurriculars. And, there is no city-run football program after the 5th grade. TT starts 6th grade in the fall so if he wants to play sports, he has to go to public school. (And no, there is no homeschool program down here that offers football either.)
Bart doesn't "need" homeschool as much as TT does. It doesn't make sense to keep him home if I'm sending TT to middle school. Bart will go back to the elementary he attended for kindergarten and 1st grade. He'll be in 5th grade there.
This summer the boys are going to keep working on math and spelling. When we pulled TT out of the online charter school he was attending, I knew we needed to do math differently than how public school had been teaching it. I bought Math-U-See and started both boys with the level Gamma (multiplication). Last year they did both Gamma and Delta (division). This year the boys did Epsilon (fractions). Over the summer we will do Zeta (decimals and percents). That will give both boys a very solid base in math and neither should struggle with how the public schools present things to them when they go back. Bart will be well ahead of most students and TT should be right on target. They'll be missing a little bit of elementary geometry - but not enough where they'll struggle.
As for spelling...yikes! Bart has ADHD and can't spell to save his life. He reads several grade levels ahead of where he's at though so I'm not too worried. It will come. I couldn't spell either when I was a kid. Spell check is my very best friend and a synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the one you want.
TT has made improvements with his reading. He still has dyslexia - and he always will. I'm not sure how he's going to fare in public school long term. He needs help incredible help with spelling, writing and reading for comprehension. We'll keep reading all summer and I'm hoping by continuing on with spelling curriculum, he won't lose any of the progress we've made.
Overall though, we're a family that values learning. I actually have more of an "unschooling" attitude than I'd like to admit. The boys will invent games this summer. They'll build with their Legos. Bart is going to a science camp on South Padre Island again this year (TT is going on a B.A.C.A. camp-out with Mr. Amazing that same weekend.) We'll read books out loud. I'll encourage both boys to read on their own (Bart is a book worm - I have to push TT a bit). They'll learn a lot this summer just because that's how we do things.
How do I manage living in my climate during the summer?
This question made me laugh!!!!
It's easy to answer. Two words. Air conditioning!!
I praise God daily this time of year that our home has two A/C units and I can afford to pay our electric bill. We've got window darkening screens that help. And I don't run the A/C as cold as some of the others do down here. But I don't go outside much in the summer and I look forward to fall and winter a lot! (We're already up in the low 90s most of the time with nighttime lows in the mid to upper 70s. Won't be long til we're over 100 most days. It's hot down here!!)