Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are you done yet?

Our school year ends in dribs and drabs.  The sixth-grader, who doesn't take exams, was finished Monday.  The seventh-grader, who takes two exams, finished Tuesday.  The fourth-grader has to go tomorrow to Awards Day, and she'll be done by 10:30 or so.  The homeschooler, well....aren't we always learning?  I just want to finish her writing and history books, and those are easy to slip into the course of the day, even a summer day.

I love summertime.  I love vast swaths of unscheduled time rolling out in front of us.  I love swimming at 10 at night or 8 in the morning.  Okay, maybe 9.  I love forgetting to eat lunch, and then remembering, and then not being hungry for dinner so we just sit on the deck and eat watermelon.  I love deciding to go to the lake on the spur of the moment, because there is nothing on the calendar.  I love fireflies.  I love no one saying that we have to be anywhere at any time.  We can just BE.

But.  I don't love children sitting in front of screens playing games all day.  I don't love never poking noses outside.  I don't love never cracking books--actually the problem is more likely to be cracking too many around here and missing out on the sunshine.  And I don't love having to pick up after all my lovelies.  Makes it feel less like vacation for Mom, know what I mean?

So here are some of the tools I'll be using this summer, to make sure we all have FUN but also learn a little and share the workload.  First off, I've entered everyone's chores into  We used this last year.  Assign basic or custom chores to each child. They log in, check their chores for the day, and do them.  As they do chores, they earn points that they can redeem for various treats or even (gasp!) real money.  We used this with wonderful success last summer.  I dropped it in the fall, but the kids even asked about it.  You can make anything a chore to get points; I assigned certain books to all the kids and awarded massive points for finishing. (Yes, they all finished their books, and enjoyed them, too!)  I also liked not nagging every morning.'s FREE!!

I wanted each child to pick a topic to learn a little more about this summer.  One needs some reinforcement in math; we will use the awesome Khan Academy.  I also have a math course I ordered from Great Courses about problem solving, including game theory.  I like topics that show how creatively you can use math, so he and I will be doing this together.  It's only eight or ten 1/2 hour classes, nothing to onerous and it might even be fun!  He has also started reading Sherlock Holmes novels, so I am going to encourage that.

Another son is very quick with math.  I want to keep him interested bu don't see the need to work ahead in algebra. Instead, we're going to do statistics.  He's going to do that module on Khan, and our goal is to read the subversively-titled How to Lie With Statistics.  Should be, um, interesting.

One daughter has gotten completely wrapped up in the Dear America books, and now the Royal Diary books associated with them.  She wants to learn about the Victorian era.  I have a friend who knows someone who makes up activity boxes on different topics, so that is what I'm getting for this one.  I think she will have a lot of fun with it.

The other daughter discovered the joys of Roald Dahl this week.  I see many more of his books in our future, as well as winding up Story of the World, Volume 1.  With forty-two chapters in that text, we are a little behind.  We also discovered the Downy Quilts for Kids program, and we are going to make our first quilt!  I am so grateful that homeschooling gave her an opportunity to learn this fun skill.

None of it is set in stone.  If someone develops a curiosity about, say, Greek or marine biology, I'm game.

And me?  Earlier I declared 2012 "The Year of Finishing." I discovered so many half-done projects and unhung pictures hanging around the house.  So far I have finished two bags, a cross-stitch, two sweaters and a skirt.  I am going to work on a skirt and a hat next, then a pillow, then...I want to get all the pictures hung by the end of June.  Many were taken down or moved when we were painting or refinishing the basement, but that was at least a year ago, and some of them have been down longer.  Time to take care of that.  Then I want to make this cute blanket!

And riding.  Lots of riding.  We do have a show coming up....


Mary Prather said...

It sounds like you are homeschool this summer... ;-)

Cheryl said...

No, can't homeschool your kids over the summer. Everyone knows that. Ask Penelope Trunk!