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Summertime Mama

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 in Homeschooling Multiple Children, Summer, Thoughts on Education

“Do you school all year round or just the normal school year?”

I pondered this question in those first few years and a older friend said something that’s always stuck and always led me to choose a true summer break.

“My kids have me as teacher mom all through the school year,” she said, “I’m always assigning tasks, telling them something they need to do.  During the summer, they need me to just be Mom.”

Her simple explanation continues to resonate.

There was the spring that we had taken many breaks because of a medical issue with my Dad.  I felt pressed to “finish” school, to work long into June, to keep going with Math through the summer.  After several weeks of schooling in June, I realized we needed to stop.  I needed to stop.  And not look back at the books until August.

This morning, our second day of summer break, the 3 older kids played Monopoly until the toddler and I showed up for breakfast(around 9).  I read aloud during breakfast, they ran off to do their morning chores, and then I surprised them by putting on a video.  (Only a homeschool family watches Winged Migration, a documentary, for fun, but we did and the two year old acted out the flight patterns of birds. )

My 8 year old made a wise crack during the movie and couldn’t stop laughing at herself.  I watched her, my eyes lingered on her, without thinking of what task I needed to remind her of, and I smiled.  We then watched the two year old do acrobatics on the living room chair, and I didn’t have to think once about sending her off with an older sibling so I could do math with the 6 year old.

After a leisurely lunch they headed off to play their marathon monopoly game.  As I sat here to begin this blog, I realized that the 3 siblings hadn’t fought once during the game over the last few days.  My dark mom side told me that they would fight soon enough, after the luxury of less schedule turned into bored picking and fighting.  And then I stopped myself from predicting doom and I remembered my daughter’s laughter from earlier and I thought,

Let’s just take it day by day.

My children need me to have less outside goals and desire just to be with them and delight in them.

So what about math and reading?  We have a creative way to incorporate reading into our summer and some math games we’ll play so those multiplication and adding skills don’t get lost in the backyard pool(though monopoly seems to be doing the trick right now!).

What about you?  Do you school in the summer?  Do you have any secrets for spending time with your children during the school year without always having an agenda or reminder?

Bring on the comments

  1. Great post. Clearly I’m new to this homeschooling thing, but I’m a big believer in taking a break. We’re not doing anything for the month of June, but I plan to add math back in for July so that we can take the whole month of December off. If I continue to homeschool – and ever have all three girls at home with me – I would like a year round kind of approach where we take off a month at Christmas, a month at Easter and a month or six weeks in the summer. But for now we’re sleeping in, reading books and having fun…

  2. aimee says:

    Should I mention that last year your started saying, “If I were to homeschool two next year?”. Now you have two home this next year and you’re saying, “If I have all three home….”. Hee, hee.

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