Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling: The End of the School Year

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling (at Walking Therein) theme is: the end of the school year. I didn't plan ahead and once again didn't contribute anything to this carnival.

But, I'm always curious about homeschoolers' ideas about the "school year." I think as long as I've been an adult I've wondered why schools still have 3 months of summer vacation. If my kids were in school I'd be a proponent of year-round schooling. It just doesn't make sense to me to just stop for such a long time, especially for little kids who lose skills so quickly. OK, mine do. So everyone's kids must, right?

So we don't take summer off. We keep doing certain things. Reading, for sure. History, but we love that anyway. Geography goes with history. Writing, math, phonics for the one who needs it - all those go on. Bible and Catechism, of course. But that's not really school. That's life. But so is everything else, right? So why quit for 3 months? Why not take shorter breaks throughout the year instead of one long one?

And yet... I think goals and deadlines are good for everyone, so for our next school year (which according to Pennsylvania law, runs from July 1 to June 30) we'll be setting goals on a quarterly basis. This will be a good exercise for me this year; next year, if it works out well, the kids will get involved in setting some of their own. I need a year of practice because I'm not so good at it.

This does not mean my kids are chained to a chair for 8 hours a day all summer (they're not in the fall or winter either). We'll probably take most of June off, about 3 weeks. But Daddy starts school again in July, so we will too: an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) of "tablework" most days, lounging in the hammock reading, taking short close to home day-trips to the science museum and historic sites, swimming lessons, park days with friends... sounds like a good summer to me. And, no review, no catching up on some magical day in September when we restart.

Now, go over to the Carnival and see what others have to say.

Oh, and everyone might not like Alice Cooper, so click below at your own risk.


Sheryl said...

I had that album when I was in high school! (Back when he was dancing with snakes instead of Muppets.)

And I agree...we tried many different configurations of our "school years", and the one we finally settled on was just learning all the time.

Sandy said...

Did you read the stories about little Alex? That's so sad I don't even know what to say.

Missy said...

I agree Margaret, we certainally don't stop completely here and we also don't take a full 3 month break..we will be off completely for a week here and there, on our relaxed summer weeks, each kid will work on things particular to that child. and we will be back the first week of August so we can have more breaks throughout the year. YOur summer plans sound fun!

kerri @ gladoil said...

Oh, that brings back memories.. We used to play thaat every year on the last day of school. That feeling of freedom and elation and the teachers not having anything to be bossed about by the administration for an entire summer. I never took that very well.

We go all year too. I think city kids just don't have enough to keep them busy all summer. I guess if that's the time you use to do extra activities like lessons or camp, but otherwise..

Anonymous said...

We school year-round, too. I have no choice but to do less in the summer though, because the neighborhood children camp out on our front porch until I send my children outside. LOL

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh I so know what Leigh is talking about. If it werent for the neighbor kids we could go all summer with ease. I usually school until our week long vacation to the lake at the end of July every year. Then August is canning season and its too hard to do school. This year however Tink is more independent so Im hoping we can pick up again in August after our vacation.