When spring bursts, I feel invited outside.
I am thankful to be living alongside my children as I have a keen awareness of the need for variability and activity. For the last decade, no matter the personality of the child, I have seen a need to change up their routines around this time of the year.
Once upon a time, we (me and my four kiddos) stopped our formal homeschool studies at the end of April and got outside to play, to garden, to do outside activities, to explore the world differently.
We wrapped up the formal studies so we could plant the garden, diagram and label plants, paint vegetable names on rocks, paint our names on rocks, hot glue gun rock animals together. We took our easels and paintings outside and found something to paint. We played Mother May I or Red Light, Green Light on the lawn. There were nature and bird studies, poetry and Shakespeare reenactments.
We only continued with daily music practice and math questions until the end of June.
The seasons as we knew them, from winter to spring, did indeed shift our homeschool routines: winter inside to spring outside.
Every year’s May project season changes as the kids change, grow up, have their own priorities. Still, though they are wrapping up bookwork, no matter what they do, learning continues. Call it the unschooling season, call it the project season, but it is all learning.
This year, my eldest took on the ultimate project: adulthood. Just yesterday she took a rideshare to one of Canada’s largest cities, Vancouver, to learn to manage a cat hotel. She was only home for two weeks between adventures, recently returning from Mexico from a five month solo backpacking trip. (I might add, this is all a new season for our parenting too. Tears. Pride. Awe.)
Our second daughter, sixteen, is solidly focussed on completing her pre-planned academic hours in on-line chemistry class, SAT essay classes, analyzing literature, reading, learning about Canadian history, world economics and political science, studying French all the while, maintaining her hours in choir and her bakery job. She just finished a slew of dance classes in a wonderful community dance offering this past weekend. She’s considering spicing up her routine with a local college course.
Our third daughter, thirteen, is eager to upload to her YouTube channel twice a week. (She can be found at http://www.youtube.com/RachelChristiana) She might consider doing some paid media organizing for a local business. She’ll continue with her paid laundry job, but hopes to find something new to spice up her income and her experience. She’ll do more babysitting in the meantime. She has her eye on a MacBook and other YouTubing equipment. She’ll continue with her BraveWriter on-line writing and photography class.
Our youngest, a ten year old son, has the most childlike aspirations. He’s intent on perfecting his Anki Overdrive and Crokinole games. He’ll continue to compete in on-line chess with his dad, earn some money landscaping around our yard, and paint a canvas to decorate our homeschool room. Maybe I can convince him to help paint the Cluckingham Palace Welcome signs…
Of course, I’ll try to include some of those Shakespeare reenactments and ask for help planting in the garden still, cause you know, those are my happy places too.
Our children’s project ideas are maturing just as they are, but for younger homeschool family project seasons, I offer these ideas from our years past: