At least not a fun summer, in a busy and somewhat large family.
Our homeschool year is over, and we won't be starting again until the last of week of August or the first week in September.
This last school year has been - awesome! I now have 9 whole years of homeschooling experience under my belt, and I must say, each year keeps getting a little better, and a little smoother. So if you are new to homeschooling - take heart! Just like anything else, time is the best teacher, and you will find the journey more enjoyable with each passing year. (That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable in the early years - it was. It's just even better now.)
About a month before our school year drew to a close, I suddenly came to the realization that it had been several weeks since Solomon, now 11, had asked me for any help with his work. He just finished 7th grade in most subjects, 8th in some, and 9th grade in Math. For that last one, he used Saxon Algebra I, which by all standards is a very demanding curriculum. Yet, not even once, had he asked me for help in weeks, not even in figuring out how far he should be along in each subject at the end of each week (he simply checked my lesson plan for that). Even before that, for most of the school year, he had worked independently. Only at the very beginning of the school year, way back last fall when he was 10, did he need me to go over the day's assignments with him each morning.
Somewhere along the road this year, my baby grew up. He is where we had hoped to guide him - on the road to lifelong, independent learning, as my years of labor in teaching him is now bearing fruit. Yes, it's exciting, but oh, it is also incredibly sad. I am so proud of Solomon, but a part of me is hurting from the continual severance that must take place as children grow into adults. When I talked to him about it, he was - naturally - thrilled. As was his Dad.
Being reminded yet again how fleeting this time is makes me ever more grateful for the little ones coming up in the ranks behind their older siblings. So yes, we are looking forward to starting again in the fall.
In the meantime, having a good summer requires planning if we are to make it enjoyable. Just the logistics of getting 7 kids out the door, on time ***laughs hysterically***, dressed, fed, clean, and with water and snacks that can withstand the extreme daytime temps is a task. Let alone coming home to something warm and nourishing for lunch or dinner, keeping up with the animal chores, laundry, dishes, and errands - whew! Remember, my goal is to feel refreshed, not ragged at the end of it all.
Which is where a cheapo little 10 cent paper binder comes in handy. In it, we hold the kids' reading program records, blank calendars for the next three months, notebook paper for ideas, and printouts of any fun events going on, as well as our own goals for this summer. Left on the kitchen counter, or in my purse, this lightweight binder is constantly by our side.
Each day's to-do list is on a sticky note on the front.
Older kids' reading program on the left, blank calendar pages on the right
More of the inside of the binder
Yes, riding public transit is considered an adventure around here. And no, it's not one I am willing to spend money on, seeing how they raised sales taxes just to pay for the crazy light rail that nobody wanted.
Would you like to see the complete list? You will have to check back for a separate post on that :)
Naptime, the holy grail of parenting sanity, is the time for Miriam and older to be working on the above (minus the piano, obviously). Summertime is a great opportunity to work with the younger kids without distractions from the older ones, so Miriam and younger will keep doing school work daily (which they are begging to do).
Little kids' reading programs
Okay, we're off to today's fun outing. Enjoy your summer!