family life / science study

summer break, or is it?

Why is it I’m in the thick of a sizzling summer, lakes surrounding our community, beaches minutes away, waterparks in abundance, that I still want to be doing this….

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When we could spend our days leisurely pursuing this…

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Is it my deeply embedded desire to school year-round? Is it a deeply-seated anxiety that when the neighbours ask, “What curriculum do you use? How do the kids learn everything they need to if you’re not pursuing the government’s curriculum?”, I’ll have a ready answer: “We’re still doing studies”! Or is it because I just like books?

Still, the girls and their friend found a science project right under their noses, or under their feet. Tiptoeing across the docks toward the marsh, they saw creatures wiggle in the water. They captured a half dozen black tadpoles. An interested bystander caught a full grown toad.

They were already familiar with the life cycle: the tadpole will become a full-grown toad. So why not capture a few in an about-to-be-recycled water bottle and bring them home? Google info about the growing tadpoles and discover that if you boil spinach and cut it into little bits, the tadpoles will happily grow into full size toads right on my kitchen counter (next to the basket of bananas).

I’d say this qualifies as a full-grown science project. I’d say this qualifies as learning. And all without a book. All without my prompting. Learning independently, and learning continuously throughout the summer, all at the beach.

Do any of you have a hard time transitioning from studies to summer?

2 thoughts on “summer break, or is it?

  1. It does take some time to come to peace with home schooling, because there are so many societal pressures out there. Depending on your environment, home schooling can be a “tough row to hoe”. After three years of home schooling, I am finally relaxing into the task.

    Now, I see the summer more like a “paid” teacher then a normal parent. The normal parent is wondering (or stressing) about how they are going to fill those long days of summer for their children. Like a paid teacher, I’m looking forward to the summer. I need the downtime to recharge my batteries for the “school year”.

    But learning continues without me. Boredom is the great friend of a mother worried about their children’s education. The hot days of summer brings days of reading in the shade of trees while listening to the buzz of insects. I become more of a “guide” during the summer. I help guide research on the topic of the day, whatever the day brings. I learn about who my children are becoming. I watch and listen to what they have to share, and share in return. We have long evening talks about topics I could never come up with. I become comfortable with answering: “I have no idea. You will have to find out yourself.”

    Summer gets the home schooling parent prepared for a change of roles, from the “teacher” to the “guide”. The guide is the role a home schooling parent will take on in the later years. This transition is very natural and happens if the parent likes it or not. By time the child become a young adult at 12-14 this transition is in full bloom. It’s a beautiful time.

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