While not necessarily "un-schoolers", we ARE eclectic homeschoolers. And with that title comes ALL forms of learning...including a little bit of un-schooling or as I like to call it..."schooling at the speed of summer."
Our official last day may have marked the end of assignments and schedules, but, it did not put a three-month halt to our learning. On the contrary, there is plenty o' schoolin' going on 'round here. It's just been slowed from a gallop to a trot. It's intentionally more leisurely. It's purposefully more gentle.
Here's what our days look like during the sunshine months.
For the summer, we pack away the Good Morning Board. Although we obviously still have breakfast and still get dressed, our morning routine is less planned than during the fall and winter. We do still make devotions a morning-time-MUST, however. The older three kids and I read from our individual Bibles and devotional books and then, we each take rotating turns reading a picture Bible story to the two youngest.
In addition to our daily read-aloud for the month, my oldest three boys have to read out loud to me for at least 15 minutes each day. This not only gets them closer to their summer-reading-program goals, but it also maintains constant reading practice throughout the summer.
My daughter, ever the book-a-holic, is rarely without a book in her hands. So, although I encourage her to read at least 15 minutes a day, it is really more of a obligatory request.
As is our summer-time custom, we often allow all the kids to stay up past bedtime to read. The extra-long daylight makes it nearly impossible for them to fall asleep at the normal time anyway. So, the Hubs and I like to capitalize on the lengthier days by instituting the following late night reading rules.
- You have to be in bed at the normal time...8:00 at our house.
- You may read books, look at picture books (for those too young to read), or listen to audio books...for one hour.
- If you get out of bed for any reason other than an emergency, you forfeit your reading time and have to go right to bed.
An extra late bedtime AND a whole hour of uninterrupted reading time! A win-win for everyone.
Summer Science Project
Since we spend six months of our traditional school year buried by snow, it is difficult for us to pursue any biological themes for science...at least the ones that are shaded in GREEN. For this reason, we have always chosen one particular element of nature to study during the summer months. As with any delight-directed learning, I left this year's science project choice up to the kids. After some brainstorming and a quick family vote, they decided that this summer we'd focus our science efforts on WEATHER.
A couple of times each week will find us
- reading great weather-themed living literature books
- conducting weather-related experiments
- recording the temperature and cloud patterns of the day on a calendar
- using weather instruments and tools
Who knows? We may even end our study by making a celebratory cloud cake!
Discovery Basket Time
So far, our summer days have been more mobile than in year's past. Since we are in the process of trying to sell our house, we have not been at home very often...requiring a more flexible schedule. So, while we haven't been able to enjoy our discovery quiet time EVERY day, we have tried to sneak it in whenever possible.
Summer...with its fun-in-the-sun-laziness...has always been a great time for my children to explore individualized extra-curricular interests. Because the season is short, the commitment is minimal. I might not be able to taxi my daughter to three-day-a-week basketball practices ALL WINTER LONG...but, I CAN commit to chartering her to a morning basketball camp for one week in the summer.
In addition to free weeklong swimming lessons offered by our local YMCA that my oldest three participated in the very first week of summer vacation, here's what my kids have chosen for their own personal summer learning.
- "Mommy's Helper" for a family friend once a week
- week-long morning basketball camp
- two-day sewing camp for girls offered by some wonderful women at our church
- Alert Cadet training with dad
- nearly-free weekly guitar lessons offered as a ministry from our church's children's ministry assistant
- bi-weekly art lessons with an exceptional retired art teacher in our area
Blonde Warrior AND Greased Lightning
- twice-a-week morning T-ball at a local park
While I love the vigorous learning that takes place during the school year, I also enjoy the "exhale"-style schooling that happens during the summer months. The organic kind...the slow-down kind...the GENTLE kind.
So, that's what our summer learning plans look like. How about yours?