Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on May 25, 2016. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago, so some of the events I mention in it have already happened.
I am exhaling a sigh of relief as I write this column because this week marks the end of so many things. Our appointments are done until fall except for my nine-year-old’s weekly piano lesson. One appointment a week seems like a vacation to me.
I have also finished testing my nine-year-old. In Georgia, homeschoolers are required to administer a standardized test at the end of third, sixth and ninth grade, and this year he was in third grade, so it was time. Although it felt like a huge waste of time – I know exactly what subjects he’s weak in and what subjects he excels in – it was pretty painless. He was able to sit and focus and take the tests in reading, language and math, and he told me he didn’t think they were too hard. I don’t have the results back yet, but I’m not worried, especially since the scores are for our eyes only.
We are out for “summer break,” so to speak, although as homeschoolers, only a little bit changes in our daily routine. I plan to do lessons during the summer, but I’ll mostly let the boys pick their favorites. I know for my nine-year-old that will be science, and I won’t be surprised if my six-year-old wants to keep learning the multiplication tables. Unbelievably, he seems to like math. At least, he likes it if he thinks it’s a game and not “a lesson.”
We’ll be taking a break from lessons for the next couple of weeks because my boy’s cousins and their parents will be visiting us. We’re all very excited because we haven’t seen them in so long, and my six-year-old doesn’t remember them at all. This means I’ll have five little boys in my house for a whole week! This should be an experience I’ll never forget!
Expecting visitors has been good motivation to do my spring-cleaning and some decluttering, although my house never looks like I have successfully “de-cluttered” it. More toys and crafts and junk seem to grow out of the walls as soon as I deliver a box to charity.
I’m grateful it’s not quite summer on the calendar yet, and we’re having some nice spring weather. The boys and I planted green beans and tomatoes and some herbs – it’s a much smaller garden than we’ve attempted in the past because I know it’s all I can probably handle. As the boys get bigger and interested in many different things, the time we have to putter in the garden gets smaller.
I fondly remember those days when my eldest son was about five and constantly pulling seeds from bushes and flowers we would pass, and he’d want to plant them all. Or he would ask to plant the seeds we’d extract from the fruit we bought at the grocery store. (We actually have a lemon tree growing from one of those experiments!) Although he still loves plants, especially his carnivorous plants, he’s not as interested in spending that much time in the garden. At nine-years-old, he’s entering a new season of his childhood.
My six-year-old is much less a nature boy than his older brother was at that age. He would rather carry all his dinosaur toys outside and play with them in the dirt and a small pool of water, i.e. “the watering hole.” But he does love to go outside late at night with his father, carrying a flashlight, and look for frogs. Older brother joins them too.
Soon it will get hot. The mosquitoes will get worse. The green beans will need to be staked, and I’ll probably be tired of going out to water them. But for now, I’m going to relish the beginning of summer break, a change in our routine and this beautiful weather. I hope you are enjoying the benefits of the season as well.