Ah, summer. Those long, lazy days when there is nothing to do but whatever you want to do. The possibilities are wide open. It’s so exciting when you’re young that even the hottest, most humid day doesn’t bother you. I remember feeling like summertime lasted about a year when I was in school. It was the pinnacle of the school year–the time when I didn’t have to learn anything I didn’t want to, filled with life experience and exploration and sleep. Blessed sleep.
So why would I choose to take 7 weeks out of every summer and homeschool my kids? Well, let me tell you, it started out as a fluke.
See, when we first started knocking about the idea of homeschooling (or at least taking it seriously), I was worried the littles–then 6 and 8–would not be able to learn from me or take me seriously as a teacher. Sure, they had no problem with it when I was in their classes at the school, but taking on their entire education was… different. Monumental. So we asked them how the would feel about homeschooling and they were all for it. Which scared me even more. So I made them a deal.
An offer they couldn’t refuse, if you will.
I told them we would do a science class that summer and if they approached it with a willingness to learn and were serious about it I would then take all the necessary steps to un-enroll them from the public school and start our adventure. I think I picked 7 different fields of science and spent a week on each. Just to see how they would respond.
The truth is, it overwhelmed me. They took to it like fish to water. They took me seriously, they learned tons, and We Had Fun. I was hooked. They were hooked. This homeschool thing was on.
Then, when I started planning the actual school year, I realized we had already accomplished 7 weeks of that year. A whole 35 days was wide open to do with as we would. We could take 2 weeks off at Christmas. I could be off for the entire hunting season and wouldn’t have to miss out on morning hunts because of class. We could take a week off in January or February when winter had us at our lowest. Hmm.
So I contemplated the genius of the plan for the next several months. The cool thing about having done a science program during the summer was that we could get outside and explore and get hands-on experience with whatever we were studying. Also, we had held school mostly during July, that time of year when the Ohio Valley is unbearably humid and hot and people are more apt to escape to the air conditioning than spend long days outside. So we were able to be inside when we wanted and outside when we needed to be and It Was Perfect.
A yearly schedule was born. The Littles still get 10 weeks off for summer, but they get it during the best parts–June and late August/September. They still giggle that the bus drives by while they’re on summer break. They still get to hang out with their friends who attend public school and are on break when they aren’t, because we’re done with summer school by 11 and the rest of the day is theirs.
We’ve done it every year, picking a different science theme each year. It is one of my favorite parts of the school year to be honest. We shuck the classroom and have class at the dining table, out on the patio, on a blanket in the grass. We’re more relaxed, looser, and even more apt to laugh. It’s still golden days of summer, we’re just learning at the same time we’re enjoying.
This year, because both boys will be middle-schoolers, we’re going to expand into something new. They are going to learn to write research papers, which means much more independent work than we usually do during summer. Each week I am going to let them pick a science topic to research on their own and write a short paper about what they’ve learned. It will be a new area for us, independent study during summer school. I am having trouble letting go.
But I bet they’ll be dragging their books and tablets out to a blanket in the grass to do their research.
That makes it all worth it.
Latest posts by KT Brison (see all)
- Story Time: A Christmas Star - November 12, 2018
- American Literature for High School - October 25, 2018
- 9 Fun Halloween Printables and Activities for Celebrating - October 18, 2018