Convivial Contentment: Summer Learning

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round button chicken

We have finished out our 2013-2014 school year! Time to celebrate! And we did, of course, with pizza and root beer floats with the good friends with whom we shared our lessons and experiences this year.

It’s been a great year, really. The baby took reliable naps and was barely toddling for most of it. About halfway through I started getting a full night’s sleep. By scheduling a good portion of our work with friends, I was a lot more consistent and did not cave in to my desires to flake out (not nearly so much as I used to, anyway). We read and loved Shakespeare together. We spent a lot of time walking back and forth and up and down the street as my friend down the street and I swapped kids.

But just because we’re taking a break from the math curriculum and Circle Time does not mean we’re taking a break from learning.

Pretty Sharpened Pencils

We completed the annual standardized testing required by our state. I could administer the test to Hans, Jaeger, and their friend all together, while my friend watched the younger kids.

In return for having to repeat myself much too often (“These are the instructions for the blah-blah test. You read them silently to yourself while I read them aloud, they say…”), I got 10-15 minute chunks of peace and quiet at a brightly lit table! I didn’t mind at all. :)

Happy Nature Walks

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Instead of Summer Break, I really should call this “Sunshine Term” (we already have a Spring and Summer Term in our normal year). It is simply learning in a different way, at a different pace.

We finished our testing on Thursday and Friday morning joined friends for a nature walk along the river.

We spent from 9:30-noon outside on a gorgeous day, walking, looking, drawing, talking, and picnicking.

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It was lovely, and I plan to spend as many Fridays as we can manage at least outside, drawing, somewhere, even if it ends up being our own backyard garden.

Funny Kids

Don’t you know, I didn’t get a picture of it, but Tuesday Geneva was in rare busybody form. She brought the entire contents of her pajama drawer and deposited on my (just cleaned) bedroom floor. She rearranged my bookshelves, moving books even into different rooms. Then while I ran upstairs for a minute, she tried my iced tea and spilled half the glass. Not to worry, though! She toddled over to the bathroom and brought toilet paper trailing out to clean up her mess! It was very effective. She then deserted the crime scene and was found innocently playing Duplos with Knox.

A cage might be in order for next school year. :)

Real Living

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Library visits. Audio books during Lego play (or room cleaning). Trampoline jumping and bike riding with friends. Drawing. Story writing. Checking for strawberries and peas in the garden. More reading. Learning about water flow (and hard work) as Dad builds a backyard waterfall. Baking and dinner-making. Requests for favorite composers while they do their morning chores. Yes, some extra chores, too.

There is not really any lack of nor cessation of learning, even if the normal learning routines are abandoned.

However, I am requiring xtramath over the summer, much to my children’s chagrin. It’s less than 5 minutes of their morning, though, so I don’t feel too badly for them.

School might be out briefly, but once the banquet of the wide, rich world has been tasted and the inner fires lit, there is no stopping the learning.