Another Homeschool Year Done, Summer Begins

Adele is done with another year of Foundations and Essentials. Avril's done with Challenge B. 

Avril spent some time cleaning out her desk and notebooks. She felt so much pride and relief and excitement at having finished another year of Challenge and having started another summer vacation. 

That picture above shows the stack of papers she threw out, much of which was from Mock Trial. 

In the summer, my kids keep doing daily chores, of course. But I usually give them an extra chores that need to be done, since there is margin to do more housework when schoolwork isn't pressing. A few days ago, I had them dust in their rooms. Yesterday, they cleaned their bathroom thoroughly "as if we are having guests" and cleaned our big basement living room. 

They keep doing math through the summer. Trial and error has taught me that math needs to go on year-round unless I want my kids to totally unlearn the discipline of sitting, focusing, and thinking math, forget basic math facts and laws, regress in their ability to calculate mentally, and repeat several lessons if not half a book before catching up to where they were when the last school year ended. So we just do math year around, and I'm convinced it's something we actually enjoy more because it's something we do all the time.  

They keep taking piano lessons and practicing piano. They actually can do more piano in summer, a full hour of practice everyday, rather than the half hour I often give them during the school year when there is so much more schoolwork.

I make them read silently for at least an hour everyday all summer out of books I assign them. Adele is given a stack of books on her current reading level that I've carefully curated. Avril is assigned all the books she has to read next year in Challenge 1. They have to spend at least one hour in these books I assign them, but they are good books, so they usually get into them and read them longer by choice.

Note: I have my Challenge students read the books for the next year ahead of time during summer so they are more prepared when the pace picks up during the next school year and they have to reread novels and write papers on them and also do Latin and Logic and Math. So pre-reading the books gives them an advantage when it comes time to think about the books again. And reading in them in summer means they have time to just read and enjoy and relish the stories before they have to use the content for assignments. As a rule, we read books more than once, even many times each. So reading the Challenge books ahead and then reading them again during the official school year is no big deal in our home. 

Since the girls love reading, they usually read much more than one hour, but I officially assign this one full hour of silent reading in the books I've curated, and the girls love to retreat to their cozy spots with books when morning chores are done. 

I usually encourage them to watercolor everyday in summer, because there is margin in the day and light for such a lovely task. But the past few days they've been Smashbooking with photos and memorabilia from this past homeschool year, and that's an artful craft that they are enjoying together, so I am not pushing the watercolor yet. As long as they are using their time in fruitful, soul-nourishing ways, I'm satisfied. 

As a rule, screens don't really exist for us even in summer, and that's pretty much true for me, too, even though I check email daily and text and also blog. 

Screen time is very, very limited, again, because trail and error has taught me that screens don't have much to offer us and do more harm than good to everything I'm trying to cultivate in our lives. 

We've also started a new puzzle, something we do to mark the start of every break.




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