With the end of the school year – the official one, not ours – coming around, it’s time for us to pull out those dusty water guns, throw those bathing suits in the laundry, and check to see what days are free for the beach. It’s finally summer!
When I was little, summer was unlike most kids’. Though we got the two months, those two months were filled with academic activities to stimulate my mind and keep me active until we could return to “actual” learning. For the most part, this wasn’t too bad. To a six, eight, and then ten year old, this arrangement worked fine for me. But when my siblings got older, my mom noticed we weren’t retaining information as well as we should. Except for the basics and the portions we really loved, that year of schooling was just flitting away. So she made a decision, one that I imagine would be hard for any parent or teacher, especially the parent who loves their kid.
She decided to nix summer break.
This was sort of a shock, but luckily we were all at that perfect age where we weren’t too little or too old to get upset about something like that. According to Mom, we were losing our summers to give way to – hold on – another school year. Yup, that’s right. My ice-cream-eating-Beach-Boys-listening-pool-swimming-time was being given up to go right back to school. We’d have a three week-break, she explained. And every six weeks we’d get one week of break. It was a perfect arrangement and in the long run it gave us more breaks, she insisted.
Looking at the decision from a few years down the road, I can see her point and actually enjoy doing our year this way. It isn’t such a long haul from one break to the other and it gives us something to look forward to by the fourth week (my brother repeatedly asks my mom every week how much more until break). This also works well because we get bored easily. Getting past that first perfect golden week of device-and-sleeping-in-filled euphoria, we find ourselves quickly wanting something to do. A standard conversation goes like this: “M-om, I’m bored.” “Why don’t you read a book?” “I’ve read all my books”. “Why don’t you play outside or paint or”- -“I don’t want to do that. I’ve done all that.” “Well then what do you want to do?” “I don’t know. Do something?”
It’s funny reading it, but this is the truth of the situation. We’re homeschooled kids. We’re used to always being active, always participating in some kind of fun activity, always learning. After the first week, our eager minds are looking for the next challenge.What challenge is that? Who knows! For now, I plan to spend my first week of break pretending I’m taking a vacation. Who knows, we may get around to taking a weekend trip somewhere in the three weeks.
Chime Time! Do you do year-round schooling? If so, how? If not, what do you do to keep your kids active?