I have never understood the term “lazy summer days.” Around here, summers are buzzing with activity. So much so that sometimes I feel like when fall comes around, I am exhausted. Whether it’s all the sunlight or the extra long days, I’m not sure. But I’m usually extra crabby in the summer.
So when it comes to school, it helps to keep on. We’re not big vacation-types either, so we like to take our breaks around Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays. Our vacations end up being days of hanging out at home, gardening, renovating and reading, playing games and entertaining.
So, what are we doing currently for school work?
Well, for one, we’re doing a lot of memorization. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that we use simple home-made flashcards for math facts and we’re continuing to use those. Math, especially, is the subject that makes me immeasurably glad to be homeschooling. My daughter, who will be 8 next month and would have been in third grade in school is nowhere near ready for multiplication. My son, 6, is almost done with it. I don’t care how long it takes them. What I care about is them achieving mastery.
I also broke down and bought some memory work CDs from Classical Conversations. And I have to say, I was quite impressed with their history timeline. The children are finally (finally!) in the stage where they are able to retain and recall tons of facts and information. Not just that, they seem to beg to want to know! Ah, this, this was the stage I’ve been waiting for! I love it.
Teaching them is humbling in that it reminds me of how much I do not know and how much I have yet to learn. It’s like I’ve been given another opportunity.
My daughter has been wanting to learn cursive for a while now and has really taken off with Handwriting Without Tears. Reading and writing has always been central to our homeschool, so we spend some time reading on purpose. They also do their own reading in things they’re interested in and we always have a weekly library visit for which we are seriously looking into buying a book cart.
My third child is still too young for formal work, so he spends much of his time playing outside. But he’s been wanting to sit and “do cool” lately, so my daughter spends some time with him helping him count and identify letters and numbers.
Me? I’ve recently developed an interest in American history. As the children memorize the world history timeline and are introduced to basic American history, I try to read as many biographies as possible.
The one thing we have not done yet is a formal science curriculum. Okay, let me rephrase that. We are switching curriculum because I didn’t like the last one. We’ll be starting the new one next week. It promises to have lots of experiments, which the children love. So far, so good. I’ll have another update soon.