After nine weeks off school – oh I just love long summer holidays!!! I did have a hidden agenda for our holidays. And this is why we need such a long holiday – I am a firm believer that kids need to spend hours if not weeks doing “not a whole lot” if you leave them long enough they seem to naturally process all that they have learnt and then they get inventive and start generating a whole lot of ideas that I could never have imagined.
So here we go se7en things the hoods have been up to and se7en things I had on my hidden agenda:
- Some folk got sewing.
- Some are able to prepare a meal from scratch.
- Our vegetable garden got planted, watered, growing and maintained.
- The whole garden needed a maintenance plan, with a weekly chop, hack and sweep and whatever else is needed.
- Getting out and beaching:
- Winding through the Bible in 90 days… well I think we might well be doing it in 180 days – but slow and steady wins the race!!!
- And we kept a visual diary!!!
Now all the while my kids are rediscovering their freedom!!! I was doing what, I think, all homeschool mom’s are doing… Making a list of the things we should be adding to our school days this year, things I should be doing better and things we can investigate more… and more and more and just a little bit more. Before I have batted an eye my “school to do” list is miles worse than the most optimistic list of “New Year Resolutions.” Any rational thought as to how many hours there are in a day fly right out the window. The fact that we homeschool and that we can be totally flexible with our time, means that I can plot and plan every minute of every day. I have a look at what other home schoolers are doing and going to a frenzy of guilt as I imagine my children are missing out on great educational activities… Not to mention lists of potential projects and endless outings… MADNESS!!!
And this is why we have such a long holiday, because after a couple of weeks of plotting and planning, comparing and analyzing. I eventually lose my mind and settle back into my “Slow and Steady Wins the Race” approach… I really am not mad about every moment being an educational event – that happens anyway. I am all for letting them craft because they want to, play games because they want to, read books because they want to and outings because they are fun. By calling a trip to the beach an educational outing suddenly turns something joyful into a box that needs to be ticked – you know, educational outing of the week – ticked!!! Crafting suddenly becomes a whole list of boxes to be ticked… endless boxes. And isn’t that so what I want to avoid, I don’t want my kids to think they have to achieve all sorts of ridiculous standards in order to be “educated.”
So I do have a lot of fun plotted and planned for the new school year and I intend to do them whenever I have a moment in the day, rather than waiting until everyone has done their math or whatever. I always used to save the fun goodies till everyone had done all their “real” work… and we just never got round to the fun!!! Not to mention why are the fun things any less important than math and language arts… Come to think of it being able to make a meal might be quite important in the scheme of life!!!
So here are the fun things that we are doing so far, nothing wild and new – I am rather looking for consistency and for keeping at it long after the thrill of a new school year has passed:
- Exercise: In the past I have always left this till the end of the day, but by then my little guys need to be headed for the end of the day wind down. I would love to go on long rambling walks but we don’t live in a place where this is feasible… which means trips to the beach to run and games in the driveway (we could do a lot worse), but I need to fit this into our day a lot earlier even if it is before school in the morning…
- More responsible cooking and baking: I love that our kids are involved in food and planning and preparing and so on. But I would like my kids, the older ones especially, to be taking an active part in meal preparation – not just helping, but actually doing!!! To this end we are working through:
- More Science Experiments: I have been doing Science weeks for the last couple of years. But my kids are mad for experimenting and I re-equipped our science kits when we ordered new school books and we are good to get into our experiments as they arise. I have partnered my scholars with a sibling this year… I know twice as much trouble (!!!) but I think I can leave them to it a lot of the time and see what they do – no one invents an experiment better than a kid who has just asked “I wonder if…” and is then told: “I wonder too…”
- More Arting and Great Painters/Musicians: I love studying Great Artists with my kids. But this often gets lost in the scheme of school. And good intentions often fall by the wayside. This year we are doing this as soon as we sit at the table for school – it sets the tone for something fun!!! We always have a time for free writing in the morning but not so much for free arting, which my kids tend to do on their own but my little ones still need a hand in the getting the water set out and so on for paints. I think I need to shake this up a bit and let all of them elaborate their writing with painting and drawing and crayoning… just by putting a different medium on the table breaks them from the same old stuff routine!!!
- More Great Out-Doors: I want to spend more time roaming around in the great outdoors – it is so easy to settle down and read indoors but I think I need to make the effort to gather ourselves and head outdoors… I think I should at least read through our poetry books outside… that will force us out for 15 minutes or so – rain or shine we need to just find a different spot round our house each day…(Potential post – se7en poetry spots!!!).
- More Mapping and Virtual Travel: Our virtual traveling flew right out the window when Hood #8 was born and I think it is time to get our traveling boots back on…
- More peace at the end of the day: This is my goal for the end of the end of each day – a little peace. Chores done and things settled so that we can have a calm evening without total madness breaking out at supper time!!! It is totally achievable if we just have a snack at about 4pm – everyone is recharged and good to go… and everything winds down smoothly. Leave it till later and trust me – it doesn’t!!! You would think I would manage this since that’s all it takes – but no, like my kids I always want to linger longer!!!
Where in the world will I find time to do all this fun stuff with my kids, we are already so busy with school. One of the reasons for homeschooling is that kids can learn a wider variety of things in a shorter time and have fun doing it… Well I can honestly say after a couple of months “dullsville” can easily set in as you just do the bare necessities of school to survive. It is up to me to keep things light and fun. And stick this list on a post-it-note to remind me to do the fun stuff!!!
The only way to get school done is for me to stay away from the laptop during school hours… unless it is to dash off and find the flag of Guam (I kids you not!!!) … Just being off-line for a couple of hours frees up endless time. My kids know school is a priority and I really do know that the blog world will still be there at the end of the day!!!
That’s us, lots of good stuff intended!!!
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