By now all of the schools in our community have let out for the summer. My youngest finished Kindergarten at our local public school so I know first hand the excitement and relief that summer break means. No more early morning rush to get to class on time. No more testing. No more homework. No being tied to a rigid schedule. Freedom.
I have just finished my fifth year of homeschooling with my other two children. Five years. What started as a transition to a new home in a new state has become our life style. Learning is our game and while our pace slows significantly with summer time, our curiosity does not. What amazes me is the natural beauty of self-directed learning. My kids always have something they are working on. My rising 9th grader is working on a fiction story with two friends, ordered two pieces of music to learn on the piano, and has several art projects in mind. She also took note that she did not finish her Latin book and has the goal of finishing it this month rather than waiting until fall. My rising fifth grader is teaching my youngest to play chess, making wands (his passion), and is always working on maker projects or experiments. Both of them are proficient in researching what they need on the internet and in books. My rising first grader , who will also be homeschooled come fall, is in constant motion asking to do kitchen science, baking, writing or reading stories. We also take advantage of our family memberships and frequent the local museums, which offer a spring board to questions for further exploration on the computer or at the library. There are free outdoor music experiences in our area that we take advantage of for exposure to jazz, classical and pop. Game nights provide opportunities to use critical thinking, math, and reading skills.
We often get the question “do you do “school” during the summer?” School is the institution and learning is individual or collaborative exploration not bound to the confines of the institution. The truth is we never stop learning. Curiosity doesn’t stop. The desire to learn something new is constantly burning. That is the true beauty of life-learning.