Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adventures in Homeschooling: On the Last Day of a Golden Summer . . .

On the Last Day of a Golden Summer . . . For whatever reason, that line from Pooh's Grand Adventure - The Search for Christopher Robin always comes to me the day before school is about to begin. While some homeschoolers hit the books throughout the summer, we've always taken a long break - almost a full three months. We all need the rest and relaxation that summer brings. Yet, lots of learning goes on even in that down time. I like to say that we are unschoolers in the summer.

Just for fun this year, I thought I'd keep track of the various things summer brought, educationally speaking.

Field Trips: We didn't take any vacations this summer, but we did hit a few relatively local attractions such as the Springfield Armory, the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival, Forest Park Zoo, the CT Science Center, the Springfield Museums, and Ocean Beach.

Camps: David went to a one-week video game design camp and Isaac went to drama camp.

Summer Reading Program: They both volunteered two hours a week at our local library to help with the summer reading program as well as each read 100 hours for the summer reading program (a goal that they set for themselves - the program ended at the beginning of August; they've read much more.). David also went to a photography workshop that was being held at the library where they used long-exposure photography to photograph glow sticks. Both boys went to a robotics demonstration put on by WPI. And, we got to see some awesome shows put on by Tanglewood Marionettes where we also learned about puppetry.

Physical Fitness:  We spent a lot of time outside this summer. The weather has been wonderful and we were able to take advantage of almost every day swimming and/or playing at the park. The boys even got to try kayaking at a friend's cabin!

Reading this, it seems like we must have been busy all the time, but that really wasn't the case. The boys had friends over often, we got together with our homeschool group, Amy and I played outside quite a bit in the yard. It really was a relaxing, golden summer.

I'm dreading the start of "school" tomorrow, even while being thankful that I don't have to get everyone up and out of the house tomorrow to get to a physical school. I don't know what this year will bring. David suggested we could just skip school for this year, but while I might be willing to take an full unschool approach if they ever felt compelled to do any math or writing in their free time, that isn't the case. They need the structure, even while I respect the fact that they do the bulk of their learning outside the classroom. And so, the curriculum is bought and I have a general idea of where I would like the year to take us, and like or not, our new adventure begins tomorrow morning.

If you have the chance, please say a "Hail Mary" for us to have a good year - productive and full of positive learning experiences.

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