Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This is normal?

It feels strange to have children out on summer break instead of simply moving to half day academics to accomodate for the heat and the desire to play in the sun more over the summer months. I set up a summer rules list for the public schoolers. I reserved the right to put them into homeschooling if they were to show up bored and unble to entertain themselves, or seeking to do nothing but veg in front of screens for the summer. However, the actual homeschoolers this summer are only three. S is in homeschooling for the summertime because the summer school being offered at his school is far above his academic skills. The school specifically requested that I work with him on core academics this summer to continue his progress to try to get up to grade level. The other two homeschoolers are my two middle schoolers who have learning challenges and thus I have choosen to continue to homeschool them.

In the fall, I will still be homeschooling three. However, S will go to public school and L is coming home to homeschool. I have discovered that after all of these years, I still have a fundamental difference in philosophy on how kinder education occurs in this country. I am very unhappy that Kindergarten through third grade is all about learning to read and do mathematics. There is practically no focus on other subjects and just as little attention paid to improving writing skills. I want my children to learn to read because they want to, and not because it is a forced requirement before they can gain access to knowledge. I want their learning to be based upon their own desire to learn, hampered only by their own quest and nudged to protect the basics if it appears they are missing something.

I have made the decision that I will homeschool the final two babies through their elementary years. I find no purpose for word and math drills except to do busy work. If you understand the concepts of math, and you have a love of reading so that you devour books, you have learned far more than speed drills will ever hope to teach you. If you learn science, history, social studies and other matters while learning to read, then you will simply learn to read side by side with your other learning then you will seek learning out for it's own sake and not merely to accomplish a task. This is what I have taught my older children that has allowed them to be so successful when they transitioned into public schooling. This is what I want to teach these last two babies so they too will have a strong foundation to frame their educational edeavors upon. I will homeschool them. It's not for a liftime with them, but it is to lay their foundations. In the fall, L will join C and Ch in the homeschooling. She has specifically requested she get her summer off and aside from reading books, that's what I'll do with her.

In the meantime, I'm really not sure what to do with a bunch of bored children for nearly three months. M's status is so unstable that we cannot do many outside activities. There will be a few activities, maybe a weekend we can camp-out and convince the nanny to keep M for us. I cannot keep them constantly busy and active. I'm really unsure what I am going to do this summer with all of these kids. I may simply put them back into homeschooling simply so they don't drive me insane. We've never done a summer break before, and I'm not convinced any of this is going to go over well.

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