Monday, August 18, 2008

Ramping up for the new school year

A few of the questions we are frequently asked are:

"Do you homeschool through the summer?"
"When do you start homeschooling in the fall?"
"Do you homeschool all year round?"

Our answers are: Sort of. It depends. Kind of.

We teach our daughters many academic subjects from Fall to Spring, pretty much the same time our friends have their children in public schools. But in the summer we often switch focus, while going lighter. We still want to keep their brains active, but recognize that twelve months a year can wear children down. It is nice to have a break.

It helps children to have a bit of a break, but we don't let our children vegetate all summer long. They watch little television and can only use the computers to do recreational activities for an hour a day. Recently they have been playing with Sketch-up, which we count as useful and so it doesn't debit their one hour a day account.

In the summer we've done a variety of things. In the past I have worked with my daughters to memorize poems. We've done a few field trips. We get out the Christmas Chemistry sets that sat and sat. They have taken some classes through the local community center.

We are slowly getting them back in the rhythm of school. Just recently Janine started the older two girls on the IEW writing program. Janine keeps them busy an hour or two each morning while she is working hard to get a schedule flushed out for the school year. We'll jump full force after Labor Day.

Years ago someone once commented that it takes about two weeks to get a new habit going. The first couple days are hard, because you have to retrain your mind. You are use to doing one set of activities and changing or expanding to another set takes effort. The claim was this is why salesmen would often loan people a vacuum cleaner for fifteen days. After fifteen days people were so use to the vacuum cleaner that it was easier to buy it than to go back to not using it.

We've found that the first couple weeks take lots of effort. We'll work with our daughters to get them to sit down and focus. We are as so concerned that they get a lot done, we just want them to get in the habit of working rather than playing. We'll expect some progress, but we're not worried if there is less progress than they could make.

We do sort of homeschool all year round. We just don't do the same kind of activites in the summer as the rest of the year.

It is great that we have the flexibility to do what we want, when we want.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Tiffanie Lloyd said...

"Sort of. It depends. Kind of."

That would be my answer too! :)
I started out so strong at the beginning of the summer, and then I don't know what happened. Activities and whatever else and "school time" became compromised. We managed to get a lot or reading done though, and several educational field trips and a couple worksheets a day (or every other day, or a few times a week) for each of them. But by no means were we "following curriculum". At first I felt guilty, but eventually I figured... hey, they are still ahead of kids in public school AND, it's not like we aren't doing anything.

We already started up for the fall, and I haven't had to do much review, somehow he managed to remember "last years" lessons.

Anonymous said...

Our answer would be similar to yours. The learning never really stops, but sometimes it's focused on the 3 R's, and other times we lighten up on that and delve into something that is of interest to us at the moment. For instance, because of the Olympic games, we decided to do a unit study on China. It wasn't on our academic plan for the year, but that's okay. We had fun, and we learned a great deal.

Anonymous said...

sorta kinda...yeah, that is us, too. We homeschool year round, but it looks very different in the summer. Except this summer. We just took a month off just because. Never done that before, but oh well.