Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summertime Learnin' (The Lowdown on My Thoughts for June, July, and August)

The school lessons are dead!  Long live the school lessons!

That's sort of what it feels like for me when I talk about "the summer."  The traditional school year is over, but since we homeschool... not so much.  Sure, it's June, but not much changes because we're still home and we're still learning.  Well, apparently there's enough difference that I'm writing a whole post about it.   So, I think it all through for you here...

Our formal school year is done!  Wahoo!  Last year I made the mistake of going "formal" until the end of June.  So. painful.  You can even go back and read about how painful it was here.   This week we are on very-light-duty as far as lessons are concerned.  Each morning we are putting the finishing touches on our poetry memorization (because Popcorn and Poetry Night 2014 is coming up!) and reading (always reading).   We are also finishing up fourth-quarter art appreciation.  (We have to hurry up and appreciate Norman Rockwell because I've already maxed out the library book renewals...)  That's it for this week.  Then we'll move into light-duty lessons (as opposed to very-light-duty).

I had a baby in January and we took a couple weeks off from lessons + I have a natural tendency toward anxiety attacks if we go too long with learning something... so, we'll be working through the summer.  But I'm also of the belief that kids need play and fresh air and the kind of mental health and personal growth that seems to happen best when they're out stomping on nature trails, splashing in creeks, eating (perhaps too many) s'mores, riding bikes, scooting scooters, and making bows and arrows in the backyard... so I know I have to tone it down as far as my summer school expectations are concerned!   

Here's what I've been thinking...

* Things we won't do (I have to spell this out to reference when I'm tempted to keep going full force!): spelling, science, music, art, poetry, grammar/language arts, catechism.

* Handwriting.  Aaron will continue to work on cursive and will continue to write letters to his pen pal.  Dominic will continue with copy work.  

* Math.  Both boys will keep working through their Math books. They'll also practice addition/subtraction facts as well as other concepts (time, counting money, measurement) using the iPad's.

* Latin.  We will start to learn basic Latin prayers - Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Gloria Patri, Agnus Dei, and Benedictio Mensae.  Casual review of the Song School Latin II CD.

* Phonics and Reading.  All. summer. long.  I'm still waiting for the day (that glorious, blessed, Alleluia day) when someone around here will read a book voluntarily for enjoyment.  Until then... noses to the grindstone in the books, kids.

* History. I'm really excited about this!  No, really!  American history is my thing and since the boys have been using Story of the World at tutoring, I don't do a lot with it during the year. I'm looking forward to the history stuff I have planned for the summer.  I hope it turns out to be as awesome as I'm dreaming it will be (but... it probably won't :) )  There's not too much to it, just reading aloud from the fabulous American history series by Betsy Maestro, related picture books, and listening to This Country of Ours, by H. E. Marshall via Audible.  

* Outdoor nature drawing.  We totally slacked on this all year.  We'll see if we can get back into it.  The kids have already been schlepping nature into the house for the nature tray, but we don't have a nature tray up and running right now, so nature is just flying all over the house.  I've definitely got to get a handle on that before cicada season starts...

* Looking ahead to our Cape Cod vacation, we've read a few library books on tidal pools.   Today Ruth told me that sea stars eat muscles, "the kind that live in the ocean, not the kind that live in our bodies," so I guess we cross Kindergarten science off the list for next year.   We've also re-read this lovely book about shells as homes for sea creatures and are hoping to grow our own shell collection while on vacation.  (Regarding the beaches of Massachusetts, to say I'll be disappointed if we don't catch some cool tide pool action while we're there, is putting it mildly.  You'll either see photographic evidence of amazing low-tide finds here, or you'll read my frustrated rants and raves about the futility of it all!)

* There's a chance we might join my parents at the Sterling Renaissance Festival at the end of the summer.  If that's the case, we'll hopefully do some fun reading before hand - jousting, falconry, castles, Shakespeare and the like.  That "reading" may actually be entirely comprised of the captions of some my favorite history resources - Dover coloring books - we'll see if we manage to get any more than that accomplished :)

* Fiction read alouds.  Haven't chosen any books yet.  Looking for suggestions.  Anyone? 

Looking over this list, it seems like a lot.  But I think it's realistic.  Other than swim lessons and vacation Bible school, the kids don't have many summer camps or sports going on this year (we missed out on the registration for our favorite farm camp :( and many other camps around here aren't equipped to help manage Aaron's diabetes :[ )  Just math, writing, Latin, and reading will be habitual.  All the other stuff will just be bits and pieces here and there.  I think it will be little enough not to consume summertime, and will be just enough to help keep some structure to our days.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what we actually accomplish.

You can't see him, but I had James strapped on me in the Ergo, and Russ was there.  It was our first full-family nature walk of the Spring :)

One of the blessings and conveniences of home schooling is you can organize your year and schedule in the way that best suits you and your little learners.  What are your thoughts on lessons over the summer?   If you press on with school lessons, what will you be covering and how does it fit into the schedule?  

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I didn't even get to chat with you about your trip! That's all the "school" you'll need :) Seriously, though, your school organization is so commendable. We're sort of flying by the seat of our pants still...


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