We're hitting "pause" on school for three whole months. But don't you worry. There will be no summer slide around here. Our brains will not turn to mush like last summer's abandoned ice cream cones.
We'll still be learning even when all the school books have been boxed up. Learning is a lifestyle. It's not something that ONLY happens on certain dates of the calendar between certain hours of the clock.
To us, summertime welcomes learning through leisure. The warmer days and light evening breezes usher in a chance to school more gently. More organically.
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Here's what summer school will look like for us.
Although our morning board will be packed away, we will still begin each day with personal devotions. Our Bible Study basket will remain in its rightful place next to the comfy chair in the living room and each of the kids will make his/her way to it first thing in the morning. Our summertime devotional materials will be as follows:
- Me- After finishing up a slow-and-steady study of Galatians (per my 2016 Goals), I moved on to John. Each day through the summer, after reading and copying a short selection of verses into my devotional journal, I will use The Moody Bible Commentary along with the helpful notes in my Study Bible to journal my thoughts and my findings. I will continue to keep a prayer list and use my mother's prayer book to help me focus some of my prayer time on the specific needs of my children.
- Sweetie Pea- She just finished up a precepts book this spring. So through the summer, she will take a more leisurely approach to her morning devotions and just read through certain passages of her Adventure Bible until she gets a new discipleship book next fall.
- Super Boy- He'll continue to read excerpts from Jesus Calling for Kids along with his Seek and Find Bible.
- Blonde Warrior- He will read one story a day from his Picture Bible.
- Greased Lightning- He will choose one story each day from one of our picture storybook Bibles including the new one he got this past Christmas, Early Readers Bible.
- The Dude- He will continue to "read" one story each day from his wordless See With Me Bible.
Daily Reading Time
In addition to our daily read aloud time (when I read a few picture books and one chapter book out loud to all the kids), my three oldest boys will continue to read a chapter of their "mom-assigned" book out loud to me each day. While my daughter does not have to read out loud, she will continue to read through books on her Middle School MUST READS list. They will all, also, participate in the library summer reading program to earn small prizes for leisure reading.
As is our summer-time custom, the kids will get to stay up past bedtime to read on occasion. The extra-long daylight makes it nearly impossible for them to fall asleep at the normal time anyway. So, the Hubs and I will re-institute our late night summertime 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.
Since we practically live in the tundra and our world is covered in WHITE most of the time, it is sometimes difficult to do nature studies through the school year. So, we've always saved them for summer. After our annual brainstorming session, it was unanimously decided that we would study insects this summer. I purchased a few insect field guides and have made a short list of library books to check out in the coming weeks. But for the most part, I'll not be too heavily involved in the summer study. I never am. In the past, they have mostly consisted of observation, collection, and narration/illustration in nature notebooks.
While my kids won't be doing any formal math through the summer, they will occasionally be allowed to play a game on ABCYa.com or Arcademics.com or use the Mathmateer, Math Bingo, or Monkey Math app to review their basic math facts.
County Fair Exhibits
Come August, I'll be morphing into a crazed carnie at the county fair. If truth be told, it's the most wonderful time of the year. As usual, the kids will be entering projects, crafts, and-the-like to be judged by artisans around our community. And I? I'll be nursing a fried-food-on-a-stick belly ache. Can't wait!
Summertime has always been the time when we stair-step our chores and learn them through mentorship with mastery in mind. This summer will be no exception. My daughter will learn how to deep clean the bathroom and everyone else will move up the chore steps.
In an effort to NOT run a summer sports taxi service, I have signed my kids up for GROUP kickball this year. They all enjoy playing. However to be honest, it's not anyone's most favorite sport. But in keeping with our family core values, I don't want to waste our energies and efforts running from one ball field to another in order that all five of my kids can play an organized sport. And I don't want each.and.every evening to be hijacked by games and practices. We are not a sign-everyone-up-for-all-the-things-and-fill-every-moment-with-an-organized-activity kind of family. We just aren't. So, I went looking for a sport that they can all participate in together...and came up with kickball which meets twice a week just after lunch. They'll get sunshine. They'll get out-of-doors. They'll get exercise. They'll get togetherness. So kickball it is!
The slower days of summer will provide lots of opportunities for cultivating passions. When they're not learning all together, my kids will each be doing the following:
- Mother's Helper- every Monday morning
- piano practice- every afternoon
- creative writing in her young writer's journal
- Engineering camp- every morning for a week in June
- art lessons with a retired art teacher- twice a month
- Reading Horizons- one online tutorial a day for phonics review
They'll be gentle. They'll be GREAT!