As of a few weeks ago, we have officially wrapped up the 2011/2012 school year! So all the books will be packed away, right?
NOPE! Not even close!!!
"On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months..."
Wow! No, thank you!
We decided to continue school through the summer for a few reasons:
1) The above mentioned study.
2) Keeping the habit. Right now, our children know and expect that they will be doing homeschool work in some form, most every weekday. I can remember last fall, after taking the summer off, trying to get the kids into a homeschool routine- it was a nightmare! They fought and struggled! I will not be doing that again. My children do much better if they ease into a routine, rather be tossed in without a life vest. The biggest hurdle for our children was not the amount of work- it was going from no work to work, period.
3) There is really no reason to stop.
What does summer homeschool look like?
I decided that the boys will be doing reading everyday, and they will do one single other subject daily as well. This is much less work for them than they are used to- so they still understand the concept of "summer break." The subjects we cover are extremely diverse- but generally speaking (from the few weeks we have done so far) both boys request their subject to be math or math-related.
For our reading, I was inspired by my good friend, Kaysha, and a challenge she is doing with her little boy, in her homeschool. The idea is to read 1,500 books in one year (repeat reads do not count!). WOW! Our children read a good deal, but not *that* much, so I had to say yes and add this to our homeschool! For our family- we talked and agreed to break it down to no less than 4 books per day. Carter will read at least 2 of the daily books out-loud to us, the rest of the daily books will either be accomplished by either Kurt or I reading aloud, or Harrison reading to us! This will be as much of a family activity as we can make it- so everyone benefits from the books- so reading alone will not count in our total (Carter and Harrison enjoy books before bed, but they will not count toward this goal). To keep track I set up a Goodreads account, just for the kids (link here), and with Kaysha's help I have started to track books with Excel. I envision a lot of library trips in the future (while on bedrest, Kurt will be doing those with the kids!).
For the additional subjects, since the boys have become obsessed with math, I have been burning through math workbooks and am trying to keep it fresh by adding worksheets and activities I find online. We have math games too, but those are additional and do not count toward the daily work. I want the boys to remember what it is like to put pencils to paper every day- so even if we may do a math activity (like the boys helping to bake something, and they are doing the measuring) we follow up with some kind of paper activity (like a journal about baking).
Overall it has been a great success- and the kids are happy to finish their work early in the day (right after breakfast!) so that they do not have to think about school for the rest of the time. They are enjoying the warm weather- love to watch Carter's guinea pig run around on the closed balcony, play Wii games against one another (for a fun family activity- Kurt and I have been playing Mario Party with them!), build with Legos, dress up in costumes, and engage in imaginative play. (At this very moment, Carter is dressed like Santa Claus and has been delivering toys to our family members every half hour or so. We thank him graciously, and he then returns the toy to his workshop. Harrison is playing with Star Wars action figures, and a large cardboard box- the box is the Death Star, and he is having the characters engage with one another. Good guys always win, of course.)
So, those are our summer homeschool plans!
As far as school in the fall...
I have had surprising number of people question me about whether or not the boys will be homeschooled this fall. Kurt and I have maintained that we will make plans yearly (or by semester if need be!) and do what is best for our kids at that time. We spoke to both boys about it, and both have requested to continue homeschooling next year. Our whole family is in agreement, so unless something drastically changes, our children will both be homeschooled next fall.
I am currently in the process of researching what the best methods will be, and which materials will work for us in various subjects. For me, regarding Carter, this is a pretty easy process- his learning styles are so firmly a part of his personality that we will continue to focus on core subjects, theme based projects, and unschooling- Carter does not do well with a set curriculum and "the man" looking over his shoulder- he HATES being micromanaged! Carter thrives on schedule flexibility, as there are days where he will happily burn through multiple math chapters, and then there are times where he "needs a break" from a certain subject for a time (yes, Carter can be "made" to do work each day, but he doesn't do half as well and doesn't retain as much as if he was able to pick what he is working on). Harrison is actually my tricky one when it comes to looking at fall 2012, as his personality and learning style have never been a large part of our homeschool day- he was always so flexible that we could really do anything with him- online schools, mail-order sets, unschooling, anything! Thus far our homeschool style allowed Carter to set the pace and feel of our homeschool- but again, I am reevaluating and have decided to give the boys equal shares of homeschool attention, so trying to figure out what to do with Harrison is like charting new waters. And, of course, I am taking into account that we will have a newborn joining us as soon as school starts this fall. Lots of exciting changes!!!!