Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Break

Though I love homeschooling - most of the time - I also love the change of pace of summer break. The first few years I homeschooled, I did more of a year round schedule. We'd take off about 6 weeks from late May through the 4th of July. Then we'd start back the week after the 4th.

This has several advantages. It's too hot here in South Texas to do anything outside besides swim unless you go out early in the day. This also gave me greater flexibility to take off weeks during the school year. Six weeks was enough time to order my stuff and get prepared for the next year.

The last 2-3 years, I have scheduled more of a traditional summer break. Last year, we took almost no weeks off during the school year so that we could finish the year by mid April before I was due to have Ashlynn. I loved the longer break. So I decided to do the same thing this year -though we ended mid May not mid April - for several reasons.

There are many projects around the house that don't get done except during school breaks, so this gives me plenty of time to tackle them. Also, with more kids now school age, it takes me longer to prepare than it used to. Also, as the kids get older, it takes me longer to get some things ready as the classes are more complex. FYI, my school aged kids are entering 8th, 6th, 3rd, and 1st. Plus with more kids, and as busy as our school year is, it just seems to take longer to decompress between years for me. :-) Also, as the girls have gotten older, they get involved in outside activities - music lessons, co-ops, etc. - that operate on a traditional school schedule. In many ways, it's easier to schedule around these things anyway.

So these days, the kids get up (they still get up at the same time as they did during school days, only on Saturday are the alarms not on) eat breakfast, do chores and go outside. I make them stay outside as long as they can stand it. Then they come in and the older ones practice piano. One morning a week, I make all four of the older girls do one math lesson. This keeps them from forgetting everything over the summer. I usually have one or two cleaning projects, like helping me move all the furniture in one room and vacuuming.

The rest is free time for them. They play or do crafts. Brynna and Hailey have been into "scrapbooking" like mad the last 2 or 3 weeks. The other day they all painted. They read a lot. I have "assigned" reading for them every afternoon. They have to read on that for 30-45 minutes and then can read anything they want.

I am spending the time preparing for next year - typing in lesson plans, creating lapbooks, making lists of needs for science experiments - as well as doing other little projects. Right now I'm on the hunt for the perfect bread recipe for the girls and I. I'm nursing my garden along. Last summer I redecorated like mad - some sort of weird postpartum chemical thing, I think. This year, I do want to get a couple of rooms painted and a couple of smaller projects done, but I am trying to keep from going overboard like I did last year. :-)

So what are you up to this summer?


Granny said...

What am I up to? Trying to get over the disappointment of all the things I won't be getting done :-/

Tami said...

I know your summer is turning out very differently than you had intended! Praying that you feel better soon!

Jeanie said...

Wow that sounds like a lot.
We didn't do all the subjects I set out to when we starting our hsing endevour this Jan(ie: History/Science) so we are almost doing the same schedule. We read Psalms with breakfast, Math, Spelling 4 days a week, read aloud time, language on days I feel like it. I am still so new and have SO much to learn. I need to see how you ladies prepare for the next year. I would love to see lesson plans from ALL in the July meeting : )