August 6, 2015

Summer School

It used to drive me nuts, back when we were first home schooling the girls, when someone would ask what they learned in school that day and the kids would say, "Nothing."  As if we spent the entire day lying around watching television, which we didn't even own a television.  I realized somewhere along the lines, as annoying as these questions and answers may have seemed at the time, the girls answer was in fact evidence we were doing a good job of home schooling.  Our kids took learning as such a natural part of life they didn't see a line between school and recreation.  Which was always one of our goals in homeschooling our children.  For learning to be a pleasurable and regular part of life instead of a chore children find boring and something to dread.  

It seems people always want to know when we will finish school for the year or when we are starting the next semester.  We do have official start and stop dates for our "table work."  But the truth of the matter is we school every day and all day.  October through May we sit at the table with our books and June through September my kids are in Summer School.  We may spend most of our time at the pool or on the play ground but we are learning even more than ever.  We don't pull out many (or really any text books) but our kids are reading around the clock, sometimes a book or even two in one afternoon.  They listen to educational CD's or audio books at rest time and on car trips.  And there are music and art lessons.  Each summer we have various activities and games focusing on different subjects.  As a general rule I use the official school semesters to work on the core subjects such as math and grammar.  In the summer months we focus on social studies, history, geography, and science as well as fine arts and whatever strikes our fancy.  

Last summer we learned about all the presidents from George Washington to Barak Obama.  We learned Andrew Jackson wasn't quite all there and did you know John Quincy Adams went skinny dipping in the Potomac River?  This summer the kids were studying the 50 states and memorizing state capitals.  And then there is lots of time to explore on their own.  This afternoon Aedan and Samuel were doing science experiments in the driveway.  

 It's amazing how a jug of vinegar and a box of baking soda can keep them entertained for two hours.
 First they amazed us with their rocket

 And then they wowed us with their volcano
Learning needs to be something your kids want to do every day... something they drag you out of the hammock to see... something so fun they can't imagine 3 months of summer without it... otherwise something isn't right.

How do you keep learning fun and exciting?  What's on your school table this summer?

"I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school."  Peter De Vries

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for this. I hope I never dread the "what did you learn" question again. And I like your method of subject blocking throughout the year. We've mostly managed to squeeze all subjects in each week, with some exceptions, but it hasn't always been ideal. Spring, Summer & Fall are perfect times for educational field trips and vacations, which almost always involve history or science. Thank you for reminding me that learning happens every day, all year long! :)