Mid-August – that’s incredible! I can’t believe that it is August 12 already!
At the end of July, we took a week off of homeschooling, not really because I had intended to, but because we were busy. That week we went to the lake and had a picnic and the kids got to swim. One day we also got a pizza after I got out of work and went over to one of the local waterfalls to eat dinner. One thing I have to say is that we live in a beautiful region! We are never wanting for some incredible scenery around here!
I know that part of the reason that we missed out on a week of school is that I am totally burnt out. I have touched on this in my last few articles, and I am no closer today to feeling any better than I was then. I said to my mom today that starting Monday, I begin to count down the hours until the weekend comes with anticipation, but on Saturday morning, I count down the hours until the work week starts with dread. The weekend is just not long enough. Something (many things really) always get left undone when the weekend is over. I don’t want to go too far into this today but…this is my life right now. My counselor tells me “the world is my oyster,” but I have to be brave enough to take a risk, and foolish enough to do it with 2 children, to make a change. At least I have the 21st off for the solar eclipse. I decided that I would take one day of my precious PTO for a fun day – ALL the rest is saved for when the three of us get sick.
At this point we have finished up Unit 3 for Margaret Wise Brown’s book, The Little Island. I turned Paul off of it at first when I more or less forced him to answer my questions a number of weeks ago but afterward really analyzed it and have reminded myself that that is not my goal in homeschooling him. Rather I want to make learning fun and for him to be well rounded. Since that day, any mention of an island would make him put on the breaks, luckily the activities outlined for the unit were fun and he would come around once we got into it. We pulled out the globe to look at islands around the world and somehow the globe pacified him. I think he was interested and maybe it’s something concrete to a 4-year-old.
Over the past two weeks we made waves in a pan (and then the kids added sea creatures to it for extra fun). We also tried on clothes for all seasons and talked about why you would wear them at that time of the year. Poor Elizabeth had to get her own out because I feel so limited on time! And Paul decided that he didn’t want the John Deere sweater I got him for fall, he needed a long sleeve Lightning McQueen shirt because he was in Cars (TM) mode that day. Interestingly, seasons have been the topic lately. It is fun to watch as a concept is planted in a child’s brain and then it slowly develops over time – even if they seemed to be distracted at the initial conversation!
We also measured the globe and the kids’ bikes in a discussion of big and little, and then the kids acted out big and little directions mostly on their bikes – around the globe. The did get off at the end to demonstrate in front of and beside, etc. What’s most awesome about it is that the globe is fourth generation, at least as I got it from my grandparents house when my grandmother passed on 2 years ago.
This week, we skipped to Unit 6 and the book Fireflies! I don’t plan on skipping very often, but we have fireflies around our house and I thought it would be most relative to Paul’s life if we did the insect unit while there are insects outside. Tonight we went outside to try to catch fireflies but unfortunately we must have hit the end of their mating season because we only saw about 4 streaks of light very briefly. I knew that they didn’t last all summer, I just hadn’t been able to get to it until now. So, we turned on the outside lights and caught moths and crane flies instead. The kids are really into moths and butterflies because recently we grew some painted ladies, but we also have a couple of species of giant silk moths on the property including luna moths and polyphemus moths. Not too long ago they found an injured polyphemus at a local restaurant and we brought it home. I wrote about it for Life in the Finger Lakes magazine which I blog for, check it out at: Winged Giants.
Though I can’t stand this life around work and I long to have the hours to invest in my kids again, I am pleased that we are doing a number of days of school again. The idea is not to kill myself with homeschooling – because I wasn’t even going to do anything at all when I decided that I would keep Paul out of pre-k, so anything that we do is an added bonus. Mostly, I just want him to know that I love him and am here for him. I want him to know that I am his biggest supporter, it’s hard to convey that message when all of life is get up and get to work/ok let’s get home from work/give me a minute while I do some cleaning/no, don’t do that, or that, or that. Instead, while we are doing our “homework” I can focus on him and I can validate his efforts and his academic skills.
Share your thoughts: Do you school through the summer? If so, do you keep yourself at your regular pace or do you allow time to get distracted and do other things?