Our two boys are a solid eleven and a half years apart. Having them spaced this far apart has come with a whole lot of PROS, because Hubs and I can tell the boy, “Watch your brother for an hour here, because your dad and I have a meeting in town.” Of course, we never tell them that our meeting was a date over ice cream cones or coffee, because then we have to field a thousand questions in regards to WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE US? It also means that I can shove a booster seat in the backseat of the boy’s car and wave goodbye, as they both head off, over the river and through the woods, to Grandma’s house, while Hubs and I are left alone at home to survey the seventy-four thousand Lego bricks covering our hardwood floors. Those are the times when we consider how beneficial a Shop Vac is to a family.
Having that many years between your two children also comes with some CONS. Namely, we have a six year old who doesn’t understand why he can’t do some of the things his older brother gets to do. Thing 2 is fascinated with the fact that his Bubbie can go to a movie AFTER BEDTIME… at 9:30 PM, of all the crazy late times!… while HE has to be in bed. He’s overwhelmingly irritated that Bubbie can walk through a parking lot with us… and not have to hold hands with Mom. And… Thing 2 has never understood why the boy gets to have homework, when he doesn’t, even though we’ve explained the differences between your kindergarten year and your junior year. (That’s primarily that your armpits don’t smell bad in kindergarten, while 11th grade is ALL ABOUT THAT DEODORANT!)
We have had a lot of IT ISN’T FAIRs shouted out, so Hubs and I solved that issue by having Thing 2 read out loud more. This summer, I bought some workbooks targeted at the kindergarten and 1st grade levels, and our little man has been thrilled to sit at the kitchen counter and labor over them… exactly like his seventeen year old brother slaves over his calculus book. Thing 2 has even been quick to insert a lot of eye rolling and heavy sighs when he adds a picture of four cookies to a picture of three cookies, because he has learned that this is what you do when you’re waist-deep in homework. It’s basically hysterical.
Last week, Education.com emailed me and asked if I would like to take a look at some of the educational worksheets they offer, and if I’d like to review those worksheets in a blog post. I checked out their website and decided that this was definitely something I could handle, because honestly? I am all about educational worksheets and keeping our little brains fresh on math and phonics skills over the summer, when we have three months to forget our short vowel sounds and the different number combinations that can be added together to equal ten. I am all in for summer worksheets that give my boys that “September edge,” when they return to their classrooms, armed with their freshly-sharpened pencils and brand new sneakers. Education.com sent me a worksheet, which I printed out and promptly handed over to Thing 2. He did the usual eye rolling and deep sighing, because WHAT IS THIS ATROCITY OF HOMEWORK IN THE SUMMER?! I told him, “I guess you can do it later,” but he quickly hollered out, “No! I’ll do it now! I love my homework!”
The boy overheard that comment and said, “You’re going to get to a point very soon when you’d rather have your eyelids removed than do another page of homework.” Thing 2 replied by asking, “How do you even take your eyelids off?” (That’s another CON of having boys spaced eleven and a half years apart; the older one can be a bad influence with his graphic comments.)
Thing 2’s worksheet was one focusing on addition facts.
You’ll have to excuse our handwriting. We are six and work on projects at a speed that would make Dash Incredible sit up and applaud, and our 8s look like drunken half moons who can’t find their shoes. We also made a backward six to start with, because it’s summer vacation, and WHICH WAY DO SIXES GO AGAIN?! The first attempt had to be crossed out and remedied.
Sadly, we picked the wrong answer for the next problem, so we had to fix that one, too. I believe this is a fine example of why teachers prefer actual pencils with chubby erasers on their tops, over purple markers that last forever on paper.
We also employed the ANSWER THE QUESTIONS YOU KNOW FIRST method of doing this worksheet, which is a fancy way of saying OUR KID HOPPED ALL OVER THE PLACE AND WORKED ALL WILLY-NILLY, WITH NO RHYME OR REASON TO WHICH PROBLEM HE SOLVED NEXT.
And basically, that’s what my hope is for him with summer worksheets — that when he walks into his first day of the first grade at the end of August, he won’t have lost any ground from all the time spent in kindergarten math. I want him to walk into the first grade and be on top of his math game, thinking that September math REALLY IS a piece of cake, so that he doesn’t have to spend any time catching up again. For that reason, I think Education.com is a website that we will be using all summer long.
You can check out their homepage right here (EDUCATION.COM). If you’d like to see some samples of math worksheets, you can find them RIGHT SMACK HERE, and download some free ones for your own kids, at their own levels.
And then you can sit back and drink an iced coffee, while they roll their eyes and sigh and ask you why you’re ruining their summer lives! To that I simply say, “I’m helping you become the best version of your future first grade self that’s possible!”
Y’all have a very happy weekend!