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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

Our school books are closed. Our Math CDs are put away. We've filled out our end-of-the-year interviews and have taken our first-day-of-summer bike ride to the neighborhood ice cream shop. Admittedly, we haven't tied up every loose end of the 2017-2018 school year, but we've no plan to. That's not our way. I'm a firm believer and have seen from the experiences of others that nothing will bleed a homeschool quite like slogging through worksheets and textbooks through the summer, especially for those of us who live in the near tundra and only experience nice, outdoorsy type weather for seven seconds each year.



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Nope. We never feel obligated to finish a workbook or complete a curriculum. If we can make it through 75% of what I had planned to do, I stamp "done" on the whole thing and move on. But that doesn't mean that our learning stops.

It just means that during the glorious days of summer, we take a more relaxed, delight-directed approach to homeschool. We use these slower days to enjoy some of the extras of learning that we sometimes don't have time for during the fall and winter.

Here's what our gentle schooling will look like this summer.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

Morning Time

Since the Hubs works from home now, he wants to continue to meet together for Morning Time each day. It seems to provide some much-needed structure and has always been a practical place to peg our daily Bible reading. That said, for the summer months, I will be simplifying our morning basket a bit by removing some of the academically-heavy pieces and shortening the length of time we spend together. 

Our missional community will be going through the book of Colossians from now until August so The Hubs plans to include selections from those few chapters in our morning plans. This will help our kids feel prepared to join the discussion each Sunday. In addition, we'll also be continuing on with the following: 
  • Do You Know What Tomorrow Is?- This is a book of calendar trivia that lists obscure oddities about each day of the year including weird inventions, famous birthdays, and national celebrations. (My kids really enjoyed this through the school year.)
  • Continue memorizing James 1
  • The Book for Children- On days when we're not reading verses from Colossians, we will read one section from this children's Bible storybook. 

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

Reading

Along with Morning Time, we'll also be persisting with our group silent reading each morning. We'll all grab our just-for-fun books and read quietly for 15 minutes.

I'll, of course, continue to read aloud two picture books and one chapter of our current read aloud every afternoon right after lunch. (This has been my most favorite part of our day since my daughter was born fourteen years ago. It's a piece of our family rhythm that is unmovable. I dare you to pry it from my steely grasp!)

In addition to reading their just-for-fun book, each of my boys will read one chapter of their current mom-assigned book out loud to me or silently to themselves, depending on their age and stage, and participating in our library's summer reading program in order to earn small prizes each week. To be honest, they all recognize that reading will happen with or without incentives, but they're also smart enough to accept a coupon for a free ice cream cone when it's being handed out. My daughter has opted not to track her reading with the library form because, in her opinion, it often makes reading feel burdensome instead of enjoyable. Can't say that I blame her.

Longer days mean later bedtimes during the summer which also means more just-before-bed audiobooks. My kids have listened to or hope to listen to the following in the next few weeks:

Field Trips

I've purchased a Kern County Travel Pass and plan to cash in on it many times this summer. Mostly, we plan to use it to gain free entrance to some children's museums, historical sites, and science centers around our state, but we'll also bring it with us as we travel across the country for my last speaking engagement of the season.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

County Fair

As always, we will be entering projects in the county fair including several selections from our art history notebooks, a few handcrafts, and an obscene amount of Lego creations. My kids are hoping to come home with ribbons in their hand and money in their pockets at the end of fair week. Here's hoping!

Family Fun

Last summer, I intentionally gave my kids a 1980s summer. I did not sign them up for any sports leagues, robotics camps, or vacation Bible schools. I wanted them to experience the tomfoolery of a vintage summer, free of agenda and organized programs. We played a board game, hosted the neighborhood kids, and took a bike ride nearly every day. (The American flag helped to create social and emotional boundaries when necessary.) We visited the beach, the park, and the ice cream shop with regularity, creating an entire summer of rest.

I hope to fill this summer with similar simplicity. Since we now have a YMCA membership, we will also plan to swim at the pool at least once a week. 

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

Individual Interests

An uncomplicated schedule will give my kids a chance to welcome boredom which in turn will encourage them to build, create, and explore--three skills that are often lacking in childhood today. They'll have time to work on the following individual passions. 

Sweetie Pea

Jr. camp counselor- She will be working at a local Bible camp for much of the summer. Fortunately, she'll be able to come home on the weekends. (While she's gone, I'll just be curled up in the fetal position counting the days until she returns. Can someone feed the rest of my people while I'm busy missing her so terribly?)

Babysitting- Throughout the summer, when she's available, she'll be babysitting for a few young families who have come to rely on her baby whispering skills.

Patreon ukulele tutorials- A few years ago, with the help of a few youtube tutorials, she taught herself how to play the ukulele. Now she writes her own music occasionally, plays the accompaniment for our Sunday morning worship at our missional community, and has inspired four other young ladies to take up the uke. She recently subscribed to the Patreon account of her favorite online instructor. For only $3 a month, she gets new videos, sheet music, and tips for playing worship songs on the uke, the guitar, and the piano. On her downtime, she hopes to explore the site some more this summer.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

Super Boy

Civil Air Patrol- Throughout the summer, my son and his squadron will attend a week-long encampment at a nearby military base, march in a few parades, and continue to earn rank.

Short Wave Radio- He was given his great grandfather's shortwave wave radio for his birthday and plans to spend a few weekends with his grandpa (The Hubs' dad) learning how to use it. 

Lawn mowing service- For two years, he has made weekly rotations shoveling snow and mowing the lawn of a neighbor. (Admittedly, he gets more traction out of the former than the latter, since it snows 99.9% of the year around here. But I digress...) His faithfulness has earned the attention of another neighbor who has recently asked him for lawn care through the summer. 

Blonde Warrior

Lawn mowing service- In addition to mowing our yard each week, he will follow in his older brother's footsteps and begin mowing the lawn of a neighbor up the road. (I think these boys are trying to form a lawn care dynasty.)

Legos- As I've mentioned before, this boy of mine is obsessed with Legos. I have no doubt this summer will find him crouched in the basement working on Lego creations for various stop-motion videos. He'll use the free Stop Motion Studios app

Greased Lightning

Garden tomatoes- My eight-year-old is the resident green thumb of the family. He didn't get that from me. This summer, he has plans to plant a small raised patch of tomatoes. (Hopefully, the neighborhood kids don't use his harvest as ammo for their mock war zone. That may or may not have happened before.)

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2018 #homeschooling

The Dude

Baseball- My youngest son loves playing, watching, and talking baseball, preferably with other Twins' fans. I had hopes of enrolling him in a summer league. But when he found out it was T-ball team and not a baseball team, he washed his hands of the whole thing. (T-ball is for babies, apparently.) So, the entire family, myself included, has made a commitment to accompany him to a nearby field several times throughout the summer to play together.

I've also culled a handful of baseball-themed picture books and illustrated chapter books to read to him during our quiet reading time together. Last night, we enjoyed a vintage story about Babe Ruth. (Did you know that he was called "Babe" by his coach because he was the youngest player on his first major league team? Neither did I.)

Me

Homeschool prep- As usual, I'll be using the summertime slowness to start prepping for the 2018-2019 school year. I've already formed my curriculum plans, but have yet to make one official purchase. Calm down, everybody. I've still got time!

Book edits- I'm putting the finishing touches on my book and will ship it off to my editor at Moody Publishing by the end of summer. It's not due to hit the shelves until spring. So in the meantime, I'll be making my way through edits and/or finding a-million-and-one ways to procrastinate finishing said edits. 



That's it. Those are my uncomplicated plans for the next few months. Barbeques and bike rides, swimming pools and popsicles on the porch--I'm hoping to empty our days of hustle and introduce my kids to the slower pace of summer that I enjoyed in my 1980ish childhood. It's gonna be rad to the max! (So sorry about that whole "rad to the max" comment. The 80s have a way of bringing out the sillies in me.)


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