Thursday, May 28, 2015

How We Fill Our Summer Days

We officially wrapped up our school year in mid-May.  May 15 marked the end of detailed record keeping, math lessons, and a schedule to consult and check off each day.  We crave the summer break.  I know people who love their year-round school schedule, but I use the time off to regroup, evaluate what went right and wrong in the previous year, and  order curriculum for the next year. 

And, truthfully, we would miss the daily hours that are free for spontaneous outings, extra sleep, all-day Lego building, and binge-reading. Sure, there are off-days when someone complains of being bored, but it's not a problem on the whole. Last June I wrote about how we manage all the many hours of "free time" in the summer.   Aside from a few tweaks, it's similar this year.

Summer is never a time to stop learning.  It's simply a new pace and style of learning. 

Two summers ago, we focused on life and home skills.  It's been life-changing (yes, literally) to have a house full of people that know how to do laundry, use the vacuum, and clean the bathroom.

After Owen began blossoming in the kitchen, we focused last summer on  menu planning and a wide range of other kitchen skills.  The added bonus is that feeling his way around the kitchen has helped him widen his culinary tastes. He went from a very cautious sensory eater to a slightly more adventurous sampler.

Several years ago, we started completing our health credit in the summer. I got tired of getting to the end of the year and scrambling to find something that counted for health.  Much of what is considered health is normal life learning.  It helped to be intentional about it and, more specifically, documenting it.

This year we are using a resource that a fellow homeschool mom shared with me: the Kids' Health in the Classroom website by The Nemours Foundation.  They offer many health-related units, based on approximate grade ranges.  We're going to try bike safety, fire safety, and an exercise on reading food labels.  I love that each unit offers a 1-page worksheet/quiz at the end.  While we rarely focus on test scores in our homeschool, the worksheet gives me a way to document a not-easily-documented school subject.

Last summer we also did a few mini-units on topics of the kids' choosing.  So far we have no plans to do this, but we've chosen a book series to read through instead.  We recently discovered the 26 Fairmount Avenue series {affiliate link), an autobiographical set written by children's author Tomie DePaola about his own childhood in the 1930s and '40s.  Each book is short and conversational.  We're already onto the second book! 

Do you have any summer learning plans?

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