Friday, May 29

Intentional Summer, Part 1

My post is up at Heart of the Matter today.

"I have always held that summer is a great time for learning and while we stop our academics my kids continue in their social, physical and delight directed learning. But what about me? I have found that I become a bit of a taxi driver in the summer taking them from camp to playdate to lesson. At the end of the summer I look at my half-checked to-do list and think, “Where did my time go?” “What did I accomplish?” “Who did I become?”

This summer I’m..."

read the rest here

Tuesday, May 26

Year's End

We have 8 more days of school. We are finishing up:
  • the last four U.S. Presidents
  • math books
  • Latin review (J)
  • letter writing
  • A JFK report (J)
  • government lapbooks
  • a President's Trivia game
  • grammar review (b)
  • skills evaluation (b)
  • and our read aloud... set during the fall of the Berlin Wall.
We also have several field trips next week because we're close to the required 172 days, but not quite there yet. So, as we cross things off our list above we'll spend the rest of our time out and about at:
  • soccer club
  • dragrace time trials (check out Chip's blog soon)
  • park day
  • Young Eagle's day
All I can say is that I'm so grateful Colorado only requires 172 days.

If you have to do an inter-state move mid-year then make sure you're moving to one with less requirements.

Just a free tip.

Friday, May 22

Summer Reading 2009

I make an ambitious reading list every year. I never get through the whole thing but you have to have goals. Here's what's on tap for me this summer:

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. I experienced a bit of Norris when I checked out Amazing Grace from the library early this year. I didn't get to finish that one, but I bought this one so...

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. When he talks about walking through Laurelhurst Park it makes me long for Portland.

Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. I'm thinking of leading another "theology park" -- only not theology this time. This book may be a good fit. (TNL moms... take note!)

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. I need a good shot of him every year. He's good like crack.

The Religious Potential of the Child ages 6-12 by Sofia Cavaletti. My 10 year old isn't getting any younger and I still haven't read this one. It will be my schooling inspiration for this summer.

Faith Matters: Faith Mentoring in the Faith Community by Sondra Higgins Matthaei. This is one of the few seminary texts I kept. I plan to put it to good use this year in our new community.

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons. I've already read most of this but I skipped the academic application chapters because I knew I'd want to digest them while I was considering curriculum for the next school year.

Eat, Pray, Love: one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. Because I need to read more biographies.

I only got through three books last summer, but I have a head start on two of these already so I'm aiming high...again.

Wednesday, May 20

Year Round or Summers Off?

Darcy at Heart of the Matter posted on the site today and I responded to it.

Her question was: I’d love to hear the decision making process you took to determine your schedule. Do you school or not during the summer? Why?

Here's my reply:
We don't do academics year round. We take summers off for a few reasons:

a. I need a mental break -- I tend to wear this homeschool mom hat too tightly and my world revolves around it. I need to be free of it completely so that I can enjoy other things, and my kids, without "we have to get school done" hanging over our heads.

b. I sign the kids up for everything that I can afford -- swimming, archery, VBS, sport camps, chess, etc. These things are offered in abundance during the summer and not so much during the school year so we take advantage of these other learning opportunities.

c. I don't want my kids to be unapproachable to traditionally schooled kids. If we school during the summer then they may not get the invites to lake days and campouts because people assume that they have to "do school." Likewise, we can't be salt and light to the world around us if our schedule won't allow us to interact with them.

d. Kids grow in every way during the summer. I am acutely aware of their growth and take it all into consideration as I plan our path for the next year, purchase curriculum, etc. Having an extended break gives me room for extra clarity in making these decisions.

e. I haven't experienced that my kids need much by way of review in the fall. I've actually seen them grow in their abilities. For instance, my reluctant reader needed to have all the pressure taken off and during the summer he found the desire to give reading a shot. My oldest has explored his own interests during the summer, writing his own newspaper and finding entrepreneurial pursuits. We participate in the library summer reading programs as well (as many as we can find!).

With all that said, I admire families (i.e. moms) that can school all year long. Homeschooling is definitely diverse and beautiful.

So what do you do? Comment here or go to Darcy's post and tell her!

Wednesday, May 13

I know, I know

If it's any consolation, I haven't written in my journal much either. This whole big life change transition is... yes, Mom... unrecorded.


Friday, May 1

On HOTM: Our Station Box

My post is up at Heart of the Matter. I put up a brief sketch of how our station box works.

If you homeschool you'll love Heart of the Matter. There's always something going on. Check it out!