5.14.2010

Summer Plans

Much to my amazement, my girls and I are less than 40 hours from finishing our official school year! Beginning last August, I chose to implement a year-round schedule in which we follow a rough six-weeks-on, one-week-off format. So we'll continue to do some academic work through most of the summer. But we'll wrap up the content for our core curriculum - in our case, My Father's World - before lunch on Friday. Woo-hoo!

We'll take off completely for a week - maybe two, lol! - and then start up our "summer session" right about when their summer swimming lessons begin. But, whereas a typical full day of academics takes us between four and five hours during the regular school year, I've decided to schedule no more than two hours a day during the summer. I want to shore up some foundational skills (i.e., the "3Rs") and provide some enrichment activities, but I also want the girls to have time to bask in the joys of summer. I think my plans strike a good balance.

I'm completely willing to make adjustments to suit our circumstances on any given day (i.e., if a fellow homeschool family asks us to come over for a swim or for a mini-vacation we have in mind at the end of June). But in general I plan to have the girls do some reading, math, and spelling each day - which should encompass about an hour of our time. Of course, daily reading is the most common-sense educational task in any learning environment. As for math, I want the girls to continue "catching up" after we took a step back to fill some gaps this past year. And in terms of spelling...well, they've been making such great progress (we just finished Step 16 in Level 2) and it's so "painless" with All About Spelling that I simply don't want them to lose ground over the summer.

In addition, they'll practice piano on most days and keep up with the Rosetta Stone Spanish we were finally able to begin in January. Plus, I'm introducing them to keyboarding using software called Typing Instructor for Kids. They're excited about that! Last summer, they enthusiastically learned to write in cursive because I built it up as a "big deal." And this year's "big deal" is learning to type...because then we can launch a blog for them in the fall when they begin to study composition.

"Summer school" will run through July 9, at which point we'll take our "long" (three-week) vacation to enjoy our church's Vacation Bible Camp, an annual family foray to a wonderful Bible camp in the northwoods of Wisconsin, and some time to revel in doing absolutely nothing at home! And then on August 2, we'll again start back up with our full curriculum.

Though I've got this all laid out (simply because I'm a planner by nature!) and am looking forward to our plans for the fall, I have no intention of failing to enjoy the slower pace of summer while it's here. For us, a little bit of daily structure will provide just what we need to help us make the most of the season - and there are many educationally-sound reasons to forgo the usual 10- to 12- week academic hiatus besides. I'm excited about this coming part of our family journey.

What about you? What plans do you and your family have for the summer?

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