Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Off?

Now that summer has arrived, we are often asked if we take the summer off from homeschooling. It's an interesting question, one that cannot truly be answered without a rather long explanation about how schooling looks in our house. My typical response is that the kids won't let me. This is true. It is also brief. It doesn't require further explanation. It makes my kids look good.

Truthfully, summer brings with it a whole new form of home learning, a whole slew of new learning experiences, and plenty of time to process things learned through time in the great outdoors. It was, after all, during a summer on the beach 3 years ago, that Rhubarb learned to read by doing cartwheels and swimming and building sand castles for 3 months.

Here is a sample day from our summer: Woke up and kids walked Gomez, the dog they were dog-sitting. Upon returning home, Blueberry pulled out her "Handy Book of Science", the book she heads to for all science questions and from which she recites entirely made-up answers, and made up the answer to her question about Gomez: "Why do dogs lift one leg when they pee, but none when they poop?' The answer, apparently, is that this is completely natural and normal and that one should not look at the dog whilst peeing and pooping (according to Blueberry's interpretation, at least).

After Gomez was walked, the Sunday paper came and was quickly dissected, the kids taking the comics, Eggplant also taking the car section, and HotNerd and I getting our parts. Then it was time to bike to church. All 3 kids helped set up for fellowship time after church. During church, Rhubarb chose not to go to Sunday School because she liked the music that day. When music wasn't playing, she read Harry Potter. Eggplant and Blueberry went to Sunday School, where Blueberry created several pieces of art and Eggplant did mystery activities (as in, he didn't tell me what they did). During fellowship time a homeless man came into the hall. This is normally not a problem, but there are apparently 3 homeless men who are not welcome because of repeated acts of violence. Our pastor had to call the police as this particular man was once again showing some violence. This led to a very long discussion with the kids about homelessness and caring for all people, while at the same time understanding our limitations. We also talked at great length about mental illness and that people who suffer from mental illnesses are not usually violent, but that this was an unusual situation. Finally, we discussed how often times people think that because the one mentally ill person around IS violent, that all are, which is not true.

We then rode our bikes up the lakeshore and to the university, where we like to visit a "secret garden". Once home, the girls and I went on a walk to the store (where we didn't have enough cash and had to put stuff back). On the way there, I stopped to do push-ups and sit-ups, which the girls did with me. 

Eggplant and HotNerd, meanwhile, made radio speakers from an electronic kit. Rhubarb helped make dinner. By then, it was late. We all read as a family, then individually with each child, then Rhubarb and Eggplant read to themselves. Then it was bedtime.

The weekdays are not much different, except that we spend 4 out of 5 of them at the beach. The water was closed this particular Sunday, which is why we didn't go to the beach then. We also have various activities scheduled throughout the week, like our occasional gathering with other homeschoolers to write letters to our pen pals in Africa, Rhubarb'sviolin lessons, Eggplant's basketball class, homeschool beach days, and beach playdates.

And that is how summer looks for this lakeschooling family.

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