Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer homeschooling

I'm really loving the schedule we've had since last Friday -- that's when our summer officially began.  Without any extra children to care for, without work, without school, without soccer.  It's just so nice to be one-on-one with my family.

When we're not at the pool, hanging out with friends, or running around town, we're enjoying time at home.  We're having fun with some video or computer games, playing more board games than usual, or playing any  number of imaginary games - Doggie and School are current faves.  It's just so nice.

We've rediscovered how much we love homeschooling too!  We don't technically homeschool - we just spend time each day with workbooks, science experiments, the globe, educational outings, art projects, and reading.  During the school year - at the end of long days and just before late bedtimes - I was generally not eager to read long books.  But now, with a more flexible schedule and without the pressures of work that must be done, I am reading my first ever chapter book with the kids.  Bryan was the wonderful chapter-book-reading parent long before I was.  I was totally missing out!  I'm thoroughly enjoying The Chocolate Touch.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this time spent with my guys.  When I lay down to read, Zach lays right beside me and is absorbed in the book.  Luke lays with us sometimes, but he's usually wandering the room and listening with one ear.  I read.  We laugh.  Zach smiles up at me and tells me how much he loves it.  I tell him that I love it too.  And I do!  I know that it will not always be this way.  I know that he is growing up quickly and will not necessarily want Mom to read to him in the years to come.

We gather around the kitchen table every day and work in workbooks.  Zach has flown through almost all of his summer homework that his kindergarten teacher gave him.  And he's halfway through his first grade workbook.  I'm amazed as I watch his little brain figure out how to do word searches, crosswords, complete 5 and 6 letter blended words, and learn the difference between words like bear and bare, or their and there.  He's got a crazy math brain and he comprehends way more about science than I do.  He's so fun to work with!

Luke is too.  He's breezing through his preschool workbook - figuring out mazes, circling items that match or don't belong in a picture, and identifying things that rhyme.  He can write all of his letters, but I think that's more of an artistic talent -- it is not letter recognition.  For example, he insists that an "A" is an "E".  After correcting over and over, I just let it go and feel a tad sorry for Miss Pam who will have him in class in the fall.  His determination will serve him well as he runs a small country as a middle schooler, but it's not exactly conducive to convincing him of something he's certain is not correct!  Still, watching his little brain absorb information is delightful.

If I could be guaranteed that homeschooling would be this fulfilling and enjoyable and wouldn't be at all a detriment to our kids, I'd totally do it.  But our kids thrive on and greatly desire the company of their peers.  Being on their own at school continually builds their confidence and belief that they can do anything.  And they LOVE all of the relationships - with students, teachers and staff alike.  School's good.  And so are summers!

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