I have the best plans of continuing to homeschool over the summer. These plans consist of very organized days, eager and willing children desiring to do their math, and soft music playing in the background. I think that all of the workbooks for summer bridging activities will be interesting and they will inspire learning and creativity. Doesn't everybody imagine such summer days?
I wonder when I will stop dreaming about such summers, and will just embrace what really happens.
I wonder when I will stop being surprised by my plans not working out the way I want them to.
This summer, I'm trying a little more of a proactive approach (for my psyche, anyway) that involves only a few days a week of actual work, and less than a few hours of time a day devoted to such work. At least, I think, we aren't just lounging around doing nothing. My children's brains aren't just being lazy, wasting away into nothingness. I think of it like a compromise. A very flexible compromise.
After all, there are days that I am lazy, too. It's hard to admit that out loud, but, it's true. There are summer mornings when I just don't feel like being organized, or on time. We don't start lessons, because I don't make it a priority, and the kids don't have it as a priority. Some days are just... well, lazy. Here is the compromise part: It's OK.
It's OK to be in our pajamas all day. It's OK to skip math and go to the pool. It is even OK to wait to start the laundry until tomorrow (or the next day).
So, we are trying to be a little bit disciplined and a little bit flexible. We are having an expectation of math and grammar three days a week. While I don't think this is asking too much, my kids continue to balk at said assignments.
"The sun is shining"
"It's too cloudy"
"My head hurts"
"My stomach hurts"
"My third toe on my right foot hurts"
You get the idea. They think I was both born yesterday, and was never a kid. Meh.
This is my proposal (read: expectation, read: demands): Three days a week, less than a few hours a day (sometimes less than an hour a day). Work on the (wretched) math and grammar (please!). The oldest daughter still actually has curriculum to finish- as in, she still owes me, like two papers, and has another novel to get through before she can start junior year. She, actually, is very agreeable to my (ahem) proposal. We also have a loose schedule of crafts, library time, science time, and Bible study. In my perfect vision it isn't such a loose study schedule (I guess I'm a little bit of an organization freak- I like schedules like I like geography and timelines- everything in its own time and space). In reality, though, we have these lazy days, and rainy days, and sunny days, and sick days. We also really do have to get the laundry done... everyone has grown, and most of the girl's shorts are a little too short for my liking. They really only have, like, three pairs each.
July is the fun month, though, where we relax a bit on the schedules. Like I said, it happens every year. It gives me time to get organized for next year, and it allows the breathing room needed to re-evaluate what did and didn't work for us. I'm embarrassed to say that I've just figured out that the way I teach (that, mind you, worked for my other two kids), does not work (at all) for my youngest. So, this July, specifically, this week, will be spent putting together next year's curriculum for her. I'll keep you posted!
Homeschooling is the best thing ever, even when it isn't the best thing ever. I love that I can do it, that my husband wants us to homeschool our girls. It is hard at times, but so worth it to be able to spend the best parts of our days together. Sure, it's nice to get a break, and yes, I have those moments when I wonder what on earth am I thinking, but overall I wouldn't change it. I love the summer time when we all can relax a bit, even though I sometimes struggle with all that relaxing. It is a great gift to be home with the kids. And, for real, I know that they really are learning... even when they are "not".