Despite the lengthening of the school year by a week due to the crazy number of snow days we had this year, it is, in fact, only three weeks until the final bell rings and Caroline and John are home for the carefree, sunny, lazy days of summer.
Well, sunny at least. While the kids will have plenty of time to have fun, play with friends, go to the pool, and generally goof off, just like last year they'll also have summer curriculum courtesy of Mom. Add in the worksheets with Dad, the summer reading program at the Fayetteville Public Library, swim lessons and tennis camp, and it should be a jam packed ten weeks.
Last year, we had weekly Bible verses to memorize, three journaling prompts per week, an art project, a science topic with hands on learning, and a recipe for Mommy to try. We were triumphantly successful in Bible verse memorization; the journaling results were priceless; the art projects were fun but toward the end of the summer got a little bit overwhelming; and the science projects were hit or miss, at best. I managed to get all but one of the recipes made, learning along the way that the cookbook I had identified for my life list effort was less than gourmet (or less than edible, a couple of times), so I'm giving myself a break this summer until I find a more reliable source of new family meals.
I have had it on my list for weeks now to get this year's summer curriculum written, but for reasons ranging from legitimate (job transition took most of my excess mental capacity for several weeks) to really lousy (I still have three Candy Crush lives left!) it was left undone, a blank slate, until this morning. Thanks to the early-spring-like weather we are having, my morning bike ride plans got pushed to this afternoon, so I sat down at the computer to knock it out:
a fantastic website that has me thinking this could be a year-round possibility for us.
Gone are the art projects; gone are the science experiments. In their place are the combined History, Science, Geography lessons, and a new pillar on Money Management. My dearest wish is that by the end of the summer, Caroline and John never again say "well we can just go buy one!" about whatever toy or object their fickle hearts desire at the moment.
While not a formal part of the 12 weeks of 2013 summer learning, we also read several children's classics together last year, and I hope to do the same again this summer. We need to finish up one book that we started last year, but there are a few new ones on the list, too. Good readers make good writers, and good writers are hard to find, so I hope to equip my children to stand out with their ability to punctuate, capitalize, use appropriate verb tenses, write complete sentences, and all of the other things that this English nerd Mom loves to see.
The biggest difference between last summer and the one to come is the two week summer vacation we're taking out west. I can't WAIT - there are sights to be seen and natural wonders to behold and Rocky Mountain states to be explored. There will be plenty of fun learning on that trip, including (I hope) Mark Twain audiobooks along the way. Those western states are awfully big, and there will be a lot of driving, and there are only so many movies I can responsibly let them watch in the back of the van. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they like Audible as much as I do!
It's an ambitious curriculum, but I hope it's a balance between keeping the kids inside too much and preventing "I'm bored!" by the third week of June. Summer isn't here yet, but we're ready to hit the ground running when it arrives, barefoot, in our shorts, and ready to learn all at the same time.