As I started looking at our June schedule, I decided we should probably wrap up lessons by the end of May, but I couldn't decide how exactly to "wrap up" this crazy year. And frankly, this "wrapping up" seemed like it could involve a lot of work in the form of assessments and records and such.
|The mood of my new chess players changes swiftly whenever a piece is captured. . .|
After Memorial Day, as I felt how fried and totally done I was with the day-to-day of my life, I realized a change needed to happen fast if my little crew and I were to avoid major melt-down. (Probably mine.) That same day, I read this post by Renee Tougas called Dropping It All. Yeah, this sounds about right:
As for ending our elementary school term, very unceremoniously, with the arrival of spring, I like to remind myself that a commitment to lifelong learning frees us from the need to start and end at certain times.
It also frees us up from the need to complete the workbook, complete the lessons, complete the term. Learning does not reach completion. Discreet projects and courses may be completed but the learning and application of math, writing, reading, history, etc... are not something you "finish". (emphasis mine)
You'll notice I even (ahem) borrowed her word. So we're taking a break now.
We'll start up some inside lessons again when the afternoons get too hot, but the truth, as others have pointed out, is that my kids never stop learning and exploring and thinking and creating. When I started writing this, they had their heads together, deep in conference, drawing maps of our yard, and writing out plans (with some majorly inventive spelling) for how to track down the "treasure" hidden there by the Anasazi, and influenced heavily by their recent Lego Star Wars video game session. I can assure you that was not on my lesson plan today. My kids are awesome.
|A Cinnabar moth! Scroll down in this post from last year to see our black and yellow Cinnabar caterpillars.|
So we celebrated this sort-of-final school week by putting up our bird feeders, which were knocked down by marauding squirrels. We also made a yarn scrap bag for any procrastinating birds who have yet to build their nests, invested some serious couch time enjoying The Adventures of Jeremy Muskrat* (ebook is free on Amazon), and took a field trip to the Portland Children's Museum with friends.
|Apparently I only took pictures of the process, not the finished product.|
If you're wondering if we met all our yearly goals and such, the answer is: probably. I've been keeping half an eye on our year-plan, so I remember what I'm aiming at, and we've been hanging out near it at least. I know there is a heavy emphasis on assessment in the public schools right now that makes my current attitude seem flippant; but, in our homeschool, we just don't have a need for formal assessment. If I want to assess Ava's math skills, I say, "Hey Ava, if you have 8 pieces of broccoli, and you've eaten 3 already, how many more do you have to eat in order to get your dessert?" I do keep a portfolio of selected work, and I have my "actual" spreadsheet as a record of all we've done, but freedom from assessment hype is one of the blessings of homeschooling small children.
|Assessment: Ava demonstrating her comprehension of our Jerry Muskrat* chapter.|
So for summer, our routine will still start with our morning chores and Bible time, and probably some read-aloud time because we all like that, but I know my kids will be chomping at the bit to get outside and I'm fine with that. I do have some goals this summer: review games, long sessions of outdoor nature drawing, helping the kids write down some of the stories they make up and then have them make intricate dioramas detailing the character development in said stories. . .oh wait!
Maybe we'll just read books, draw pictures, ride bikes and run around googling (Googling?) the bugs and plants we find. Either way, I have made a pact with myself not to touch my curriculum or planning books for at least a month. We'll see how that goes. . .
Take a look back at my "School Starts!" post from August to see how miraculously my little chicklets have grown!
A friend of a friend made this comment on Facebook, and it fits perfectly with how I'm feeling:
*Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means (at no extra cost to you) I may receive a portion of any purchase you make via links within.