Family & Fun · Homeschooling

School’s Out! — Of Childhood and Summer Days

School’s officially out for my crew……this week marks the beginning of summer vacation.  So now what?  Do I let ’em run wild and free?  Or do I make sure they do just enough school work to prevent academic amnesia come September?!

There’s a part of me that feels the need to make sure the kids’ academic skills don’t take a back seat over the summer.  And then there’s a part of me that remembers what it was like to feel the freedom of summer vacation.  No books, no homework assignments, just living the good life in the country!

Oh, there was work, don’t get me wrong.  I was one of four girls growing up on a farm, so you can bet there were plenty of things to keep us busy for a summer.

The first order of business was usually the  annual ritual of cleaning out the garden shed and basement.  We pulled out all the plunder that had accumulated since last summer, swept out all the dirt and cobwebs, and then neatly arranged all most of it back where it came from. 🙂   Then there were peas to be picked and shelled.  The garden needed to be weeded, the grass needed to be mowed, and the flowerbeds needed to be mulched. And of course, growing up on a dairy farm, there were calves to be fed and cows to be milked.

But there were rewards for our hard work.  After a morning of picking and shelling peas, we headed for the swimming pool.  After a couple of hours chasing unruly heifers over hills and through woods into a corral so Dad could vaccinate them, there was a nice cool house, comfy sofa, and a good book to curl up with.  And I remember the really special days, when Dad would say it was time to pack up the car for a day at the lake.  We’d leave after breakfast and come back by late afternoon in time for milking.

Besides reading, I don’t recall ever doing any schoolwork over summer vacation, except for one summer.  I needed to be a little further along in math than I was, so my big sister took my little sister and me back through the pasture to a rustic little shed where we set up “school” and had math lessons. I can still smell the Mimosa blooms from the tree right outside that shed.  Ahh, memories!

So now back to the present.  What am I going to do with my kids this summer?  Well, the childhood ritual of cleaning out the garden shed must have been habit-forming, because that is one task on my to do list that I plan on enlisting the kids’ help for!  Then there will be weeds to pull,  plants to keep watered, vegetables to pick and can, and calves to feed and eggs to gather.

Although I don’t have a rustic little shed to hold classes in,  I think I’ll give the kids just one lesson to do each day — either math or copywork, so as to prevent the cobwebs from forming in their bright, young minds.  Even after chores and that one lesson a day, I’m certain there will be enough care-free hours for them to count it a summer vacation.

I have a mental list of fun things to do with the kids this summer as well — crafts, nature journaling, swimming, bringing home loads of books from the library, and planning and dreaming about the sights and attractions we’ll be taking in during our big trip in July.   We’ll spend three weeks on the road with our camper, trekking across the country to visit my sister and her family in British Columbia!

So now you have a general idea of the things our family will be doing over the summer.  In my next post, I’ll fill in the details about what kind of (unconventional) math lessons they’ll be doing, as well as all the fun crafts and projects I want to try.

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8 thoughts on “School’s Out! — Of Childhood and Summer Days

  1. I think our plan for summer is similar! We’ve already backed off for most of the month of May, so we’ll just continue to scale down for June and July. But I want those summer time experiences for my kiddos too– especially those life skills like hard work and eating (literally) the fruits of your labors! And learning to swim of course! 🙂

  2. We are on our last week and I can’t wait to feel the relief of being done for a few months! This time of year is always hard as there are a few weeks of transition where we are still doing school but we are also doing summer activities. It is a hard balance and it will be nice to check school off the list.

  3. Isn’t it nice to have another year done? We ended last Friday and it feels good. We continue with school work through the summer too. They can pick anything but they have to do something each day. For my crew, that is nothing new. They have always done some kind of work in the summer. It forces some downtime. Otherwise they go 100% everyday! I remember lazy days as a kid. I keep hoping maybe my crew will find “lazy” for at least one day. Happy Summer!

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