This is our fourth year of homeschooling, if you count that first year when we did unschooling with Wilson. (The unschooling experience is a whole ‘nother post.) We’re still figuring a lot of things out, including how the different personalities of our kids require different approaches to schoolwork. One recent change we made was to insert a summer break into the school year.
Now overall, I believe the kids are happier when they have a regular schedule (i.e. year round) and consistent tasks to accomplish. Wilson, especially, doesn’t do well with loads of unstructured free time. I’ve known him to pick up a mop and clean the kitchen floor because he needed to accomplish at least one job that day. Year-round schooling also allows us the freedom to take a day—or a week—off, here and there, and not worry about it. So it’s structure, with freedom.
However, we decided that the combination of schooling year round and using a curriculum with no grade levels could leave a kid feeling like he’s not getting anywhere. The work in front of him stretches out to the horizon with no mile markers of progress along the way. That’s not cool. So at the end of the summer, we took a break from our summer schedule and had some “last week of summer” celebrations (described below).
The last week of summer stretched into the last two weeks of summer as I worked to get our new school schedule planned out. But the next Monday, we celebrated the first day of school (and here and here) with our new 3rd grader, 1st grader, and pre-schooler.
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Last Week of Summer recap: The first night, we surprised the kids with tickets to a circus. It was a big hit, especially the magician and the cotton candy.
One day we painted, which is always exciting because we don’t do it often.
Another day, we went to the Drive-through Safari, where the emus rule. We kept making 2 m.p.h laps until all the food pellets were dispersed. We still have bison slime on the car window.
Throughout the week, there were board games and dress-up games.
The most elaborate dress up game was the Mario Brothers.
One night, Nick played the fireball-hurling Bowser.
He was no match for Mario and his glubbs.