Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer School

Our academic year goes from Memorial Day to Labor Day, mainly because we follow our local co-op/Tutoring Center schedule. But that doesn’t mean the learning stops come summer! Here’s just a small smattering of what occupies our homeschool summer days…

House Projects
We have been busy re-building a house, so there is always a huge project (or two!) that demands beaucoup time and attention each summer. This summer is no different as the kids and I have been busy scraping, priming and soon painting our 3 floor + attic 1927 farmhouse (lest you think my husband is taking the easy road, he is busy inside working as a master craftsman, cutting, fitting and affixing hundreds of yard of trim on the inside of the house!). Our kids have learned a ton of building skills by working alongside us; grouting, dry-walling, brick laying and more! When we’ve run into areas that we don’t know how to do, but need to do anyway, we get ourselves to the local UFixItStore. Department Managers have been more than willing to walk us through huge projects and have actually been available to us, via phone, when we’ve hit snags. Our kids have learned carpentry skills, but also that you can tackle things even if you don’t know what you’re doing when you start out!
We almost always have a huge garden and the learning that goes into growing at least part of one’s food supply can not be over stated. For one, the kids become self policing about food waste when they’ve been the ones planting, watering, and weeding it! And they often will eat things they wouldn’t have dreamed about consuming if they’ve taken a part in growing it (beets have been the big exception to this rule in our family- lol!)
Building Furniture
We’ve built furniture together using Ana White’s amazing site. So many cool things- we started with the library cart, and actually built two and then moved on to book shelves.
Reading We almost always have a read-aloud going on, and often everyone has a favorite book going as well. What’s not to love about self directed reading? Fill that just made library cart with great reads from your local library, and don’t forget to load up on DVD’s and books on tape for hot summer days! We are currently listening to Focus on the Family’s Radio Theater’s dramatization of The Screwtape Letters and loving every minute of it.
Camps and summer go hand in hand in my mind. My older kids had the good fortune to go to a church camp almost every year in the mountains of New Mexico, chaperoned by our personal friend and Children’s Pastor, for really next to nothing.. Nowadays, we content ourselves with our local homeschool drama camp, and for Jr. and Sr. high schoolers, Shakespeare Camp- 6 days of literary goodness! The director (a local homeschooling Mom) assigns parts from a Penguin Classic amongst a group of about 30 kids, giving a 2 hour performance in a local park at the end of a week of 6 hour a day practices. They alternate between comedies and tragedies. Sounds horrible? The kids can’t wait for it!! We’ve also hosted horse camps and Lewis and Clark camps on our acreage, charging a small fee and having a blast!
Seasonal jobs abound! I worked as a life-guard and WSI for years, always had a job and always made more money than most of my peers. My son is working as for a landscaping company this summer and just negotiated a huge raise in salary- they have a terrible time keeping summer help that is realiable and does the job! Jobs are a great way to learn responsibility, timeliness, working to other’s standards and what to do with hard earned money!
Outdoor fun
We don’t have a local pool nearby, so we finally purchased a larger backyard one from Sam’s; hours and hours of fun at home. And, of course, the trampoline; we’ve had one for 15 years and the kids have spent hours and hours on it, jumping, spraying one another with the hose, star-gazing and picnicking. Bikes and walks are a regular part of our weekly routine, and don’t forget campfires! We have a fire pit in our front yard and have spent countless evenings enjoying the great outdoors together on summer evenings; often making S ‘Mores or roasting hot-dogs.
CurriculumWe actually continue to use some curriculum in the summer. My kids just seem to do better with a regular routine. This summer they are working on Rosetta Stone, Adventus Music, memorizing Horatius at the Bridge, Java computer programming, Science and a Bible study. Not every day, not every subject, but enough so that if they get bored or bicker too much, I just have to refer them to the list (handily posted on our kitchen black board).
What are you doing for summer school?

This post originally appeared at The Homeschool Toolbox

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