My son’s carnivorous plants are thriving, and one plan we have for this summer is to give them a bigger pot!
Someone once told me that summer has a mind of its own, and I believe that. For the past few summers, I’ve learned to go with the flow, and I know that my plans might not come to fruition. That’s happened this year too, but I’m pretty happy about what we’ve accomplished anyway.
I always wonder if we should do some formal lessons in the summer or just have unlimited free time. The thing about not having any schedule is that I’m afraid I might disconnect from my kids, concentrating on projects around the house and work that I’ve been neglecting for a long time. I’ve also noticed that having a little structure just feels right for us. If I keep the boys busy in the morning, they are less likely to mope around and say they are bored in the afternoon when I need them to play by themselves. Or, if I decide to let them have free play time in the morning, one of them might come ask me to do something with them anyway. So, if I feel like I’ve planned to spend the time with them, I don’t get as discombobulated, wondering when to say yes and when to say no. I hope that makes sense!
Of course, we do need days when there is nothing on the schedule, and the boys can do anything they want. We do that plenty of days all year round, so I’m not too worried about making them do too much. Besides, what I consider schoolwork for the boys is not torture, and sometimes, it’s exactly what they want to do. It just helps me to have a plan so I can make sure we’re accomplishing our goals.
Here was my loose idea of what we could work on this summer. Keep in mind that this isn’t a daily list. Some of these items we may do everyday, but others we may only do weekly or even just a day or two in the summer.
- Math — I’m going to be making math more a priority for my eight-year-old from here on out because he’s pretty much got the reading thing.
- The boy’s projects
- News and current events
- Catch up on Nature Journals
- Work on our junior ranger badges
- Memorize a poem
- Work on our history timeline
- Summer camps
So how’s that going? Here you go:
Math — Yes, we’ve worked on math. But I was planning to do more readalouds with math books, and that didn’t happen because it’s hard to get the books from the library! (Other people want the same books I do. Grrr.) However, we did read The History of Counting, and I signed my eight-year-old up for Splash Math’s summer program. I don’t actually recommend that program — I thought it was going to be something else, but it’s just a review. If you need a review, and your kid likes working on the computer, then it might be a good fit. It has fun graphics. I signed up early, so it wasn’t expensive, but as it gets harder, my son really hates it, and it doesn’t offer any explanation of how to do the problems (it only tells you the right answer, if you get it wrong), so I’m considering letting him stop.
Readalouds — Like I said, I was hoping all of our readalouds would be about math, but that didn’t happen. So we’re continuing on in The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh, which was one of our best library book sale finds ever. (We got it for $2!) The boys like Winnie much better than the math books anyway. (We also read books of my sons’ choice, usually at bedtime, but I’m not counting that here because it’s not part of my formal homeschool plan.)
The boy’s projects — I started a project calendar, and I’ve been trying to make myself available when the boys might want to make or do something time-intensive, and that is working out fairly well. (I’ll write about this in more detail at some point.) However, their projects these days are less about making something and more about doing: My eight-year-old started taking piano lessons this summer, and he’s practicing at home on his own. The five-year-old is interested in birds, and he mostly wants to look at our bird app, which I do with him at night before bed. I listed all of my boys’ current projects in The Summer Rundown.
News and current events — For a while, I was wondering how to introduce my son to news and current events in a way that would engage him. home/school/life magazine has a great list of resources on its blog, which came from the Summer 2014 issue, but my son seemed too young for most of those. Then I found News-O-Matic, which is an app. My son didn’t like it at first, but I incorporated it into our lessons, and now he voluntarily checks it everyday! I can’t recommend it enough.
Art — Most Fridays (but not all), I have kept up with our art lessons, and I even incorporated some math! One Friday I surprised the boys by turning Art Friday into a field trip to the Georgia Museum of Art.
Catch up on Nature Journals — My eight-year-old used to enjoy this more, but it may be coming to a close. The day we were working on this, my son lost interest pretty fast, so I probably won’t make him continue. After all, we started it when he was four, maybe?!
Work on junior ranger badges — I thought we might make a point to go on some family outings to places that we need to go to make progress on getting the next badges this summer, but with the intense heat and the summer camps keeping us busy, we’re not going to make much headway this summer. That’s okay because it’s just an ongoing project that we do whenever we can. We did, however, earn some Civil War badges this summer. They didn’t require a lot of work, and it was fun too.
Memorize a poem — This is something I’d like to start incorporating into our homeschool on a seasonal basis, but so far, I am lousy at making time for it. The boys and I memorized poems in the spring, but I never did anything with it. I should have videotaped them because they’ve probably forgotten it by now!
Work on our history timeline — I finished making two big timelines this spring, and I need to get more intentional about adding what we learn about history to them. Really, it’s just about setting aside a day to work on this because we have some things in mind to add to it! I think we’ll get to this soon.
Summer Camps — Truly, the summer is about summer camps. It’s my number one priority for many reasons, and anything else we can get done is just icing on the cake. I wrote about the camps my sons took in my upcoming column, which will be published soon, and I’ll post it here too.
As you can see, we haven’t been able to do everything. But with lots of play time, gardening, bird-watching, sketching, and other odds and ends, we have had quite a full summer! Soon, I’m going to do an end-of-the-year celebration and let my sons know that they are moving on to 3rd grade and Kindergarten. I have been busy planning some birthday celebrations and next year’s curriculum too….I’ll be sure to update you about that as it happens.
Do you homeschool year-round? What are your favorite summer activities?