As a homeschooling parent (did I just say that? Am I really a homeschooling parent?) I am often asked the question, “Are you doing school this summer?” My answer to that question is yes…and no.
Amélie…and her teacher…need a break, so we won’t be drilling phonics flashcards, and she won’t be writing out her spelling words with dry erase markers on the car window (yes, we do that, thanks to an idea from the excellent book Carschooling). But, if there is one thing I have learned from homeschooling her this semester (and wow, there has certainly been more than one thing that I have learned!) it’s that educating my kids is an ongoing process. We took the day “off,” for example, on Jack’s and Matt’s birthday on Tuesday, and we visited the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit at Union Station. We had so much fun! We didn’t have traditional school that day, but we learned so much about dinosaurs! The next day was our library day, so guess what kinds of books we came home with? Yep, you’ve got it–dinosaur books! So we can continue our “education” during storytime. How great is that?
While we won’t go back to the Dinosaur exhibit this summer (it was a little on the pricey side), we did buy a membership at Union Station, so this summer we will go to Science City (more “school”), the Planetarium (“school” yet again), and the KC Rail Experience (truthfully, I don’t know what that is, but let’s just assume it will be fun AND educational). I am also excited about doing some fun school things that we haven’t had a chance to explore as much this semester as we both have been on the major roller coaster ride of figuring out how to homeschool and be homeschooled! Amélie loves art, and I bought the first book in the Artistic Pursuits series, and we can’t wait to get started on that. She also keeps bugging me to take her to the new Egyptian exhibit at the Nelson. Maybe we can do that sans little obnoxious (and LOUD–did you know that the hallowed halls of the Nelson ECHO LOUDLY?) brother.
The “school” that I am perhaps most excited about starting with Amélie is this Nature Journal. This might be the coolest book I have ever bought (maybe not–but I am very, very excited about it!). Truthfully, and much to my husband’s chagrin, I am really an indoorsy person. I like to be outside…if I am sitting under a tree reading a book or writing in my journal. Once I am actually doing something outside, like gardening or hiking or camping, I enjoy myself, but it usually takes a bit of earth-shaking to get me there. I think this book just might do it. I must say that going on a woodland scavenger hunt, doing leaf rubbings, and following the phases of the moon sound really fun to me (maybe I should buy my own Nature Journal!).
Another school subject we are going to have fun with this summer is music. I have heard wonderful things about The Classical Kids Collection. I wasn’t too thrilled about spending $50 on it, but thankfully my library has copies, so I have the first one, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, on hold.
The other thing I am doing is making a list of things that Amélie has struggled with this semester, and we are going to slip in teaching of those items. For example, for some reason she can’t remember what a vertical or a horizontal line is, and while I won’t spend the summer stuffing flashcards in her face, we will occasionally review our math facts.
I almost forgot the most important part of our summer school–READING! (How could I forget that one???) We will do the summer reading program at our library and continue to hone her reading skills throughout the summer. We have had so much fun reading this semester, and I can’t wait to listen to her read all summer long.
So, as you can see, we’ll be doing “school” this summer, but I don’t think I will be hearing many complaints. And of course we’ll be doing all kinds of non-school things, like splashing in the pool, playing with friends, and riding bikes. We both need a break from the regular structure and discipline of school, and we are both looking forward to sleeping in a little and playing a lot.
What are you doing this summer?