For the first time ever, I gave my guys an official break for a few weeks this summer. In PA we have to have an evaluation by a person with a teaching license. Our evaluation occurred early in June, so I told the boys that we would not have lessons from the evaluation until we returned from our beach vacation in July. Usually I just keep our routine year round, with a few days skipped here and there. But this year, we've got a summer break of a few weeks.
So, let me tell you what we're doing since we're not "doing school." Over the weekend, we took a camping trip to Gettysburg. We spent several hours touring the battlefield and then visited the Hall of Presidents. But we didn't do school.
Yesterday, we visited some friends from church and taught them a couple math games. We also made up stories about a fish that won a contest on a busy street. After our visit, we went to the library's summer story hour and listened to local readers read stories about animals. The boys made cute little animals out of pipe cleaners. But we didn't do school.
Today, the boys were working on their packets from the library. If they complete 15 activities they can claim a prize and a free book. McLane made salt dough and is working on a diorama of a wooly mammoth. Walker T. searched the web to find a dog breed he would like to raise and did a little research about that type of dog. Over lunch we listeneed to an adventure tape about knight. And the boys set up a pet grooming business in the living room. I was the customer who had to bring them stuffed animals to groom. But we didn't do school.
Several years ago, I had a friend who was homeschooling her children. One day when we were visiting I set up a little obstacle course for those children and we had fun running the course and timing each other. We kept track of the times and tried to make our time better with each round. We were having a lot of fun, laughing, playing, and even learning. The mother stopped everything in the middle to get her children's attention and said, "Look, we're doing school!" This experience made me decide two things:
1. Don't call it school. When we're at the table we call it lessons. I know tomAto tomAHto. But to me, they're not in school, that is where you go on a bus and sit in a classrom. We are learning as part of our life. These are lessons.
2. Don't call your child's attention away from learning to point out school! Yes, log it all. Keep your log book with you at all times and record anything you deem educational in any way. But don't tell your children it's school. It's life and life is about learning. Learning comes in all shapes and sizes.
One of my prayers for our home is that we promote a lifestyle of learning. I don't want the boys to compartmentalize learning and say that it only occurs from the hours of 8 to 3 Monday through Friday, September to June. Life is always a learning process and I want them to love that process. As I slow down for just a few minutes over our break, I can see that learning is happening in large quantities when we don't even plan it. Praise God for answered prayer!
Enjoy the ride.