Essay Time! What I did Last Summer...

View Poll Results: Do you do "school" during the summer?

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  • Yes, we follow the same schedule year round.

    0 0%
  • Yes, but we follow a loser schedule.

    1 50.00%
  • We do stuff, but use a significantly different schedule/approach

    1 50.00%
  • No. Summer is free time for my kids (and for me)

    0 0%
Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Jenn71832 is offline Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Essay Time! What I did Last Summer...

    Maybe some of you remember getting an assignment like that when you were in school. It seems a little redundant to give my kids an assignment like that since I was most likely there with them and I am already perfectly aware of what they did over the summer. But I did have some lukewarm childhood memories when T4L suggested "Summer Learning" as one of the posting topics for state moderators. And in writing this I have discovered a few things about our summer that I hope will help you if you are feeling like you didn't accomplish enough this summer.

    I wasn't sure where to start with this because, to be honest, I have had some health issues this summer and as a result we haven't done even half of the things I had planned for "school" for the summer. So I asked my kids.

    "What did you learn this summer?" I asked.
    "Uhhhhmmmmm...." As three blank faces stared back at me, I wondered if we had really learned NOTHING all summer.
    "We started using a new math curriculum?"

    That wasn't the kind of learning I had in mind. "Okay," I thought, "Maybe this needs a new approach." I explained that I wasn't talking about what we had learned during school time. I wanted to know what they had learned naturally. The responses got a lot more interesting, some of them bordered on strange. Kids have great imaginations. I just got to relearn that one.

    "We learned what stuff sinks and what stuff floats." My 7 year old said. The 10 year old kindly explained that this was an unauthorized experiment they had done in our swimming pool. Maybe that is why we had algae problems. Hmmm...

    "I learned that aliens are real and I can telepathically speak to bugs." This, um, interesting answer came from my very imaginative 10 year old. Remember what I said earlier about kids and imagination? Now you know why.

    "I learned that not having a schedule gets boring." From my practical and schedule oriented 12 year old.

    I decided to make a list of what I thought they had learned this summer. Mine looks a little different from theirs. No telepathy or pool experiments to be seen. Of course, I hadn't known they had learned those things, so they could hardly have been on my list anyway.

    Josh, my 12 year old, went to Boy Scout camp with Dad. He earned Merit Badges for canoeing, radio, emergency preparedness, first aid, mammal study, photography, sports, music and pioneering. That counts for a lot of learning. He also served as a Patrol Leader for his Troop which caused him to learn some very valuable lessons about planning, being prepared, leadership, and what happens when a group of teen and pre-teen boys are allowed to become bored. Not pretty. (I should add that he is the youngest kid in his Patrol which makes leading them even more challenging.) Josh also earned his First Class Scout advancement this summer. He has really grown from his involvement in Scouts and we are very proud of him.

    Ben, my 10 year old, started taking horseback riding lessons this summer. He has dreamed of learning to ride a horse since he was old enough to point and say "horsey". He used to tell me that he wanted to ride "that kind of horsey" while pointing at the bull riders in the rodeos and scaring the bejeebers out of me . I am happy that he settled for real horses. He made enough progress to leave the corral and go on a trail ride. That is going to be one of his favorite childhood memories even when he is an adult. Ben also loves one of our family hobbies, Civil War Reenacting. He knows a lot about the Civil War. He is a history and natural science buff and watches documentaries for fun. I can't list everything he has learned from those but I am sure it counts.

    Zach, the 7 year old, is a very happy go lucky kid. He would be perfectly content if all he learned this summer really did come from playing "sink or float" with his brother. He learned how to go fishing, how to help set up camping equipment, how to use the library computer to find a book he wants and many other things that are fascinating to a little boy. You know, things like how much hair comes off the dog when you brush him or how many times you have to stomp in the same place while you are running through the sprinkler before the grass turns into mud.

    We stayed up and watched (or tried to watch) the meteor shower this week. We traveled around the state and learned about our state's geography and history. We went to a baseball game, went camping, went fishing, swam, had friends over, all of the stuff that makes you think of a traditional All American Summer. And I feel very blessed that we were able to do all of those things.

    Because of the serious, sometimes life threatening, illnesses of some of our friends I learned not to take those things for granted. I learned that my kids can manage quite well for 3 weeks while Mom is on bedrest. I learned that my husband is better at doing the dishes than the laundry. I learned that I have friends that I didn't know I had. I learned that helping others, even when you feel awful yourself, is a great way to feel better.

    Most of all, I learned that even though the best laid plans go astray there is value in the chaos. I didn't teach my kids the things I planned. We didn't cover the material that I thought was so important last Spring. But my kids learned compassion, the value of giving and the importance of helping others. They learned not to take your health for granted. They learned that schedules aren't necessarily evil. They learned to be a little more independent. And, they learned a lot of valuable life how to telepathically speak to bugs.

  2. #2
    SahmIam is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Western WA

    Default Re: Essay Time! What I did Last Summer...

    With camps (VBS, sleepaway Bible camp) and visits with family, not to mention Daddy being home (yay!) and little brother being diagnosed with his autism, our summer was full. But our fall and winter will also be full, so we keep on schooling. Our schedule is different, but we don't necessarily do a different curriculum. At the beginning of summer we're completely off, then we ease back into it. The overall goal is to always be ahead in schoolwork before we do a break. And of course as long as we finish the curriculum and get enough hours/ days, I don't care when we do them.

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