Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer School

We homeschool, and like lots of homeschoolers, we do things a little differently. One of those things has been to do school over the summer. I know it sounds mean to keep the little cherubs indoors during the best parts of the year slaving away over their workbooks, but I've learned that turning them loose seems to equate madness, bickering and almost complete stupidity. Don't get me wrong - I love my children, but I've seen what unfettered freedom can do to them. It's no good thing.
So, summer school. But it's gonna look a little different to the summer school I remember (you know, remedial, boring and generally summer-ruining). It's going to be structured but relaxed, fun yet meaningful. The kids are even excited about it, which kinda shocked me. So here's the plan...

First, the girls will be doing a fun, inductive Bible study (How to Study the Bible) that they've had some experience with 3 days a week, and some writing assignments from the Institute for Excellence in Writing the other 2 days. All the kids will spend some time working in the garden each day, be it weeding, feeding, pruning or harvesting.  It'll be a great opportunity for them to learn to care for these plants we have (maybe they'll be less inclined to rip them apart, anyway) and even do some pest/weed identification and elimination. The big girls will have a reading list that they can work from and spend some time recording thoughts and information in a reading notebook (inspiration found here), while Noah continues with his phonics book.

Now, for my favorite part. I am compiling a list of hymnwriters that the girls will read about, get to know, learn the music of and present on. With their piano teacher's help, they will (hopefully) be able to play a hymn by said writer in 2-3 weeks. For instance, the first on the list is currently Isaac Watts, who wrote "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross". Both girls will do some reading on their writer, but one will concentrate on practicing the music while the other prepares an oral presentation, which they will both have ready in 2 or 3 weeks to give to the family. Abi already knows this particular piece and Anna should have little trouble picking it up, so Anna will play and Abi will speak. Then, with the next writer, their roles will swap.

I'm really excited about all of this, though the plans are still coming together. Hopefully, we'll be ready to start next week. We've even moved our schoolroom downstairs a couple weeks ago, which means we can work downstairs when it's too hot to be upstairs or outside, and we can work in the afternoon when the little ones are in bed without fear of disturbing them.

So, that's the plan. Like all plans, it's up for renegotiation and last minute changes when needed. Coupled with this idea for directing our time in the morning, I have high hopes for a fun and productive summer!


Danielle said...

I LOVE the hymn project. I'm a hymn junkie, particularly hymn writer biographies. I have tons of books on the subject, although I'm not sure about the reading level. One of my faves is "Favorite Women Hymn Writers" though.

Briana Almengor said...

20You know I've been waiting w/ bated breath for this post. :) Seriously. I have. Can't wait to look at some of your links. I was just defending my desire to see the kids work throughout the summer to LA last night (really to myself..I have a guilty conscience in overdrive all the time).
You know I'm going to tell my kids when they complain this summer about any work we do that the Gaynors are working, too. :)
Thank you.

Kelly said...

Danielle, could I borrow a couple of those books when we meet next week? I'd love to have a look.
Bri, happy to give you a good excuse. We will, indeed, be working, though it's still a break from normal things. The best of both worlds, I think.

Kathy said...

I am so glad you posted a link to the weekly chart my Mary Ostyn. We have done something similar in summers past, and had totally forgotten about that idea - a specific day for library, baking, blessing others, etc.