Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Unschool

In previous summers we didn't declare an "official" last day of homeschool and first day of summer vacation.  We just gradually drifted into a more relaxed schedule as activities ended, my semester ended, and the rhythm of our days shifted.  Tim and N. often kept "doing school" in some form into early July.  But this year as N. noticed his school friends anticipating the last day of school, he asked when his last day was.  I asked him when he wanted it to be, and he chose Thursday, June 12.  Thus on Friday June 13, his first day of summer vacation after completing 4th grade, he luxuriated, sleeping in a bit, having a late breakfast, and reading the 4th Harry Potter book for most of the day.  He didn't get dressed till 2 pm, and he loved it.

Since then, N. has done lots of reading (Harry Potter, Henry Reed, Inc., various Asterix and Tintin, London Underground by Design, etc.), had long days playing with friends, had pool time, played with trains and his beloved Kapla blocks. He draws daily, of course, and is working on some stories that he started writing and illustrating in England.  He's going to a half-day nature camp for a week later in the July and a one-week ballet day camp in August, but otherwise his summer days unfold as he determines.

At the same time, N. agreed to keep some elements of his school year in place.  He still has weekly piano lessons and practices piano daily.  I've asked him to work on writing down one of his many music compositions, breaking up this daunting task by writing at least two measures a day and he's enjoying making progress on this, marveling that he's written 42 measures so far.  He's still doing French lessons with me for an hour or so every Thursday morning (He completed the first level and is on to the second, and he and I both are so thrilled with how much he's learned.  I get no compensation for saying this, but I really love this French curriculum, expensive though it is.  N. thinks it is a lot of fun and he's proud that he's really learning to speak, read, and understand French!).  He does a page in his Daily Math workbook once or twice a week.  And once he even asked Tim for a morning of "school," craving a bit of their regular time together.

So in some ways, summer vacation doesn't actually look that different from the school year!  But the tide is a little lower, the pace more relaxed.  I love seeing N. luxuriate in reading, creating, and playing with friends.  I think that's what summer vacation is all about!


Adrienne Pilon ("A") said...
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CMR said...

Love the "low tide" concept. Sounds like an idyllic summer!