All this week, Simon was out of his own form of summer camp – ESY.
For those not in the know, ESY is Extended School Year. School districts are supposed to provide it for students who are either in the process of learning critical skills when a break could prove detrimental, or when the students will regress too much after any extended break. Since Simon does regress, even after a week off school, having a full summer would definitely be too much time off for him.
We’re lucky, though. We have a good school district, and we have a good head of special program who actually cares about following the law. Students get various services and different amounts of time in ESY, based on their own needs. Simon gets his speech therapy all summer in ESY. He also gets bussed back and forth (possibly his favorite part of the day). He gets a teacher. He gets a paraprofessional in the classroom. It’s like school, but smaller. And it’s almost a full day; instead of 7:30 to 2:30, it’s 8:30 to 2:30, Monday through Thursday.
He loves it. Seriously loves it. When it’s the weekend, he will ask us every night when it is next. He will tell us that he will go to ESY tomorrow, as if making the statement will mean that telling us makes it so. He wants it. We want it. Because, honestly, what else would we do all summer?
I don’t want to sound like a bad parent. (Maybe I am? Maybe I’m not?) But, honestly, Simon would, I think, have a serious problem having the full summer off. When he doesn’t have ESY, he wakes up every morning and then tells us that we need to go somewhere. His normal request is the grocery store. I don’t know why the grocery store is so much fun for him, but he wants to go there and wander around. So we go.
But imagine doing that every morning of every day all summer long. Then raise your hand if you would go insane after that. I’m seeing a lot of hands up in the air. Mine included.
These are the times when I get jealous of all the people who send their kids to camp, especially sleep-away camp. I don’t know when, or if, Simon will ever be able to do that. Will he get to go do something without an educational component? Will he get to go spend the night somewhere? Maybe he’ll get to ride horses, shoot arrows at targets, eat at a mess tent with some horrible “bug juice” and bologna sandwiches. Maybe he won’t.
Luckily, tomorrow morning begins our vacation – a vacation Simon has been eagerly awaiting for months. Then it’s just one more week away from school before he goes back, this time into the 6th grade. Let’s see what the new school year brings…