Here's the season's most frequent question: Do you continue with school through the summer? This question comes from people who obviously don't realize that children really are learning all the time, summer or not! So, yes, I let them put their math books away but other than that summer looks about the same as the rest of the year. Here's a glimpse at some of the things we've been "studying."
In April my older boys and I visited a Macaw rescue facility. We learned about everything from macaw mating habits to the reasons for rainforest destruction. The field trip fit in nicely with what's turned into a year-long study of birds. My nine-year-old studied birds for Science Olympiad, and my twelve-year-old just finished his bird merit badge, all the kids have been pouring over our bird encyclopedia from Costco and we've been closely watching the nest of baby robins hanging over our deck. We’ve also been very busy learning how to raise chickens this spring. You'd never believe how excited the boys were when we spotted a red cardinal in Illinois (my nine-year-old informs me that the cardinal is their state bird).
My oldest son has spent several hours this spring working with his Aunt to paint a mural on the wall of his bedroom. Art is a never ending event around here. Sometimes I think it would be nice to just have one single day where the school table wasn't littered with paper, colored pencils, pipe cleaners, markers, scissors, tape, glue guns, beads (you get the picture) but I don't really have it in me to stifle their creative impulses! When my seven-year-old isn't busy drawing he's usually building something. Here's a picture of one of his creations (it's a boat going under a bridge).
My olderboys are learning to scuba dive this summer.We gave them lessons for their birthdays last year and it's taken us this long to get around to doing them! They won't be doing any open water dives but they are having a great time in the pool and my oldest is already begging to do his open water class.
Cooking has been all the rage this spring. The boys are both becoming rather accomplished chefs. My twelve-year-old has learned to bake a whole list of Gluten Free items (I’m gluten-intolerant so his help is much appreciated!) and my nine-year-old has started inventing recipes for his first cookbook. Tonight he made gluten free, cinnamon/ chocolate/maple bars and they were amazingly good!
When we went camping both the older boys learned how to chop wood. This is not a subject they teach in school but maybe they should. My husband said a couple of college guys came by and asked to use our ax, the only problem was neither of them knew what to do with it!
After all that chopping the boys worked on their fire building skills. Later that night as we watched the fire my twelve-year-old actually ran to get a notebook so he could write down words describing fire. He wanted them so he could write a poem when he got home.
This summer my nine-year-old decided to become a reader. He's been a good reader for a long time but he never really liked to read, then last month he finally caught the literary bug. Now he's tearing through 3-4 books a week. It's hard to be too annoyed that I can't get him to do anything because he always has to "finish his page".
Our other passion this time of year is the garden. My second son is growing 11 different squash plants and my oldest just built a raised bed for his herb garden, he also volunteered several times this spring at a local nursery. My daughter loves to help with anything that involves dirt!
And last but not least we are learning how to play Frisbee golf! I don't think there is a better way to spend a summer evening!
Summer is a wonderful time tostep back from traditional studies and see how much children are learning when we aren’t “doing school”!
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