Thursday, May 2, 2013

Summer school

May 2, 2013
That's it!  I have had it!  I am DONE being full-time Mom, full-time teacher, and full-time cook, bottle washer, and household manager.  Time for "summer-break"!

The funny thing is, one of the kids just asked this morning, "Mom, can we do summer school?"  The answer is a resounding YES!  She gets it.  It's all about the mental attitude.  It seems much easier to do an hour of seat work in the morning and an hour of reading or educational games in the afternoon, with lots of hands-on learning (playing) in between year-round than to have to "do school" for 3 or 4 hours of concentrated seat-work in the morning followed by 2+ hours of reading and homework in the afternoon for 9 months of the year.

Don't tell any of the kids.  Mommy's brain has checked out for the summer.  I am more ready  than they are to practice my multiplication by figuring out how much the 5 buckets of strawberries we picked at the local farm are going to cost at $.96/lb.  I am ready to teach writing in the form of chalk art on the cement slab where we BBQ and entertain;  and numbers on the sidewalk hopscotch forms.  I am SO ready to talk about the science of making ice cream- why we cook the egg-based pudding, cool it prior to pouring it in the can, add the salt and ice in certain proportions, and why crank freezers are better than electric.  I am ready to teach and learn the science and art of gardening- flowers, vegetables, trees, creepy-crawlies that both hinder and help the growing things.   I am ready to apply creative writing to things like My Summer Bucket List and Our Summer Menu. I'm ready to apply economics to Our Summer Grocery Budget which MUST include $2-4/week for frozen treats like Nutty Sundaes or "store-bought" popsicles that are all gone after each kid and either Mom or Dad get one, but are such a special treat compared to homemade juice-sicles that you don't even have to ask permission to eat.

It's all about attitude.  We are constantly teaching our children.  We are all constantly learning. This is something that maybe parents who educate at home are more aware of than some who don't.  But the attitude toward what is being learned and HOW it is learned might change throughout the year.  I dislike sitting at the table doing endless workbook pages with a crying 9-year-old who is afraid of his multiplication tables as much as he does. on the other hand, we both like standing in the garden, hoe or shovel in hand, quizzing each other on those same multiplication facts.  It's all a matter of perspective and method.

Here's my last thought in this particular meandering.  I see myself as the type of home-school mom who makes learning fun.  I WANT my kids to enjoy learning.  Unfortunately, more often than not I hear them say, "I hate school."  That is one of the reasons I am homeschooling in the first place- to teach my kids that learning is life-long and can be fun.  My heart sinks every time I hear those dreaded words, and I want to agree with the child who speaks them.  I have tried a few different educational approaches in the past 6 years.  None have been perfect, although all have had pieces that were enjoyable.  I am still working out the kinks of our teaching and educational styles and expectations.  Something tells me that our home-school experience will still not be perfected by the time the last one graduates high school or college.  That's okay.  I also have to remind myself ,as well as the children, that learning is NOT always fun, the subject matter is not always interesting, and the method does not always suit our learning style.  But that's okay too.  There are always things we need to learn in ways that we would rather not!   That's life.

I hope this is an encouragement to all my readers, whether you are a home-school parent or after-school parent or just an adult who can encourage the parents and children around you.  Our brains might be mushy and ready for summer break, but we are NEVER done learning!

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