Today’s guest post is from Cindy Dyer who offers ideas about how to homeschool your child and whether or not you should homeschool year round…. or enjoy your summers.
As a fairly new homeschooling mom (4th year), I keep finding myself taking back things I’ve said at some point or the other. I said I’d never, ever have a strict schedule. Oops. I’ve said I wanted to teach my children Latin. Eh. Maybe later. I’ve said co-ops were definitely happening for us this year, but it turns out we’re pretty happy at home right now. If I’ve learned anything about homeschooling in the last few years, it’s that nothing is written in stone, no matter how well it has worked for other people.
I’ve always said we were going to be year-round homeschoolers, mostly because the homeschool families I admire most seem to do that. That “lifestyle of learning” thing sounds great! But then life happens, and around here, it seems like life usually happens in the summer.
Yes, the kids are finding out any number of useful facts about crickets and fireflies, and we’re still reading (and learning) a lot, but the pace has slowed down, and academics are taking a back seat so we can focus on…well, nothing, really. We’ll focus later. Right now, we’re resting, and it is good!
When my kids ask me questions in summertime, I open my mouth to answer, but the sound that emits therefrom is very much like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice.
Wah-wah-wah, meh, wha-wha, brmp!
They’re not really listening. I’m not even listening to myself! There’s a mother deer and her fawn just at the edge of the woods, peeking between the leaves to see if we’re friend or foe. The pages of the books we brought outside are blowing in the breeze.
The boys are playing with pill bugs under the front steps, and they don’t care one whit about making a notebook page for that. The park suddenly seems a lot more inviting than our yard now that there’s a fair chance of seeing other children there.
Who can concentrate with all that going on?
The summer sunshine has turned our brains to mush.
So I quit.
I didn’t make lesson plans for July, even though I halfway wanted to. Instead, after spending June adjusting to our new baby, we took a long break in July, and we’ll (hopefully) hit the ground running in August. In spite of my well-intentioned plans to keep at it all year long, I’m becoming a pretty big fan of the traditional school year. There’s a season for everything, and this is our season for slacking.
While our family does thrive on routine, sticking to the three r’s all year long can get pretty stale. Some families are completely free-spirited and never even need a school year, but just go wherever their moods take them. Others seem to be able to have a book-learning lifestyle all year long without ever getting restless.
We’re somewhere between the extremes. I like the wild abandon of a traditional summer, with more academic structure for the rest of the year. I know, the a-word—academics–is suddenly out of favor amongst some homeschoolers, but we like spellers and math workbooks around here.
In the past, I’ve been foolish enough to think I knew how things were always going to be. I’ve learned my lesson about that. This summer has been wonderful, and I imagine we’ll keep taking these months off every year. But, considering my track record with predictions, I’m not making any promises. We might very well end up becoming year-round homeschoolers eventually.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.
This is our time to laugh and play, eat popsicles, dig in the dirt, and forget about spelling rules.
How about you, homeschoolers?
Do you take summers off, or do you spread your schoolin’ out more evenly over the year?
Cindy Dyer is a happy housewife and homeschooling mom to five children living in the mountains of North Carolina. You can find her at Get Along Home, blogging about life, children, faith, and sometimes even homeschooling. Or, if you prefer the short, chatty version, she is also on Twitter and Facebook.