This being the first summer we have been homeschooling, I am learning a lot about what true education is. For the month of June we have just been taking it easy and not thinking about school. Our new school room (formerly the playroom upstairs) is a mess! Many books are all over the floor, in piles by category. The closet is beginning to look organized with all of our games and educational materials. The attic storage area in that room is really looking great. Now, I just have to get in there and finish organization of books, buy another table and whiteboard, and some fun accessories to make it cozy, and we will be ready for formal "school". It is funny, though, that in our effort to not do school we have really been learning a lot. Here are ten things I know have really been fun and educational for my kids:
- Helping Mom and Dad with Household Projects: the kids have been helping me sort through the school materials. Last week both children helped categorize all of our books. We also gave a lot of items to charity and have put some things into boxes for some younger children we know who could benefit them. Each person's closet has undergone a slight renovation, too. It is hard to give things away, but when I can point to specific children who will really enjoy what we no longer use it helps my children let go of things. My children are learning organization and charity.
- Gardening: In our garden we have zucchini, squash, pepppers, tomatoes, watermelon and canteloupe. As I was hoeing the garden last week my daughter said "No No No! You aren't doing it right. Let me show you." Music to my ears! Then, she took over that job! My son checks the plants each day to see how they are doing and provides water when needed. We also learned that deer this year are very interested in our backyard! After research my husband found out baby powder sprinkled on the plants keeps deer away. My children are learning respect for nature.
- Focusing on sports we enjoy: I don't like to be running everywhere during the school year. The most we do are piano lessons and church activities. For the summer both of my children are taking swim lessons - Anna is in a synchronized swimming class, and Grant is in basic swimming lessons. They are FISH! We swim at the YMCA and Aunt Julie's pool on a regular basis. My son has just completed t-ball, which he loved. And, each Monday evening they take group tennis lessons at the YMCA. They really enjoy this. My children are learning rules of different sports and the importance of taking care of your body.
- Reading for fun: We are participating in the summer reading program at our local library. Both of the children are reading a lot for fun so far this summer. Grant reads just about anything he can get his hands on and is showing an interest in chapter books. Anna has just finished another American Girl Mystery and is working on "The 39 Clues" Series. I am also reading for fun, which doesn't happen a lot during the school year. I am just about finished with "The Help". Love it! My children are learning immense things through reading and the importance of leaving mom alone when she is immersed in a good book!
- How to come up with things to do when they are "bored": I think this is the most valuable skill we are working on this summer. Creativity is born out of being bored, and I have seen some creativity this summer. Most of my son's stuffed animals are dressed up (in American Girl clothes, which is funny) and sitting in front of his dresser, where he reads to them on a regular basis. My daughter has started sitting down at the piano to play for fun, and not just when I ask her to practice. I am so happy she is learning to love music. We have also learned that a sprinkler and popsicles and few neighborhood friends can keep us occupied for an entire afternoon. My children are learning that the only person who can make you happy is yourself.