Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Summer of Rest

Summer has finally arrived, the sprinklers were shoosh shoosh shooshing outside my window this morning, and the kids are slept in.  I think today is a day off for all of us, as I need a little time to regroup, and it's just too pretty out to work.  Josh has been wanting to go play tennis, so we went  to the park, the Dollar Store for a popsicle, the library and now we are all cooling off and enjoying a lazy afternoon doing NOTHING but reading and watching a little TV.  I am going to get ready to leave for the weekend, as I will be attending the Annual Meeting of the local conference of our church denomination over in Golden, CO.  I will be kidless and husbandless, and will be talking with adults for an entire 2 days...imagine that! Hahaha!

I thought I had a great start to our summer school session, but ran up against a total road block.  Our science for Angela, Matt and Kenny is just not going to work.  We have spent a couple of weeks working with it, and I am not going to continue to beat my head against a wall with a curriculum that doesn't help them retain a single thing.  You know, the longer I homeschool, the more I realize the importance of working with very good materials, and the more I see how typical textbooks are anything  BUT good.  I had a long conversation with our Resource Consultant at school about my science dilemmas and textbooks in general, and she brought up how the textbooks from the 1970's and 1980's were much clearer to understand, had less "fluff" and less distraction on the pages, and didn't expect high school to be "miniature college" and allowed a student to build knowledge gradually rather than trying to cram it all down their throats in one year.  As she said, and I am seeing it as well, there is so much peripheral information provided in the average textbook these days that the learners can't see what the overall important points are.  I am glad she brought this up, because I thought it was me!  I have a fairly high literacy rate, and when I am struggling to retain information in the kids' textbooks or when I have to read and re-read a section to be able to explain the main points, there is a problem.

So, sadly, I am off in search of something better, and am feeling a tad bit frustrated.

The good thing about homeschooling is that if something is not working, you can shift gears quickly.  The bad thing is that you have choices, sometimes too many, and that can make it difficult.  Actually, in this case, being secular homeschoolers with a public school charter leaves us few choices.  Having English Language Learners adds to the difficulty.  I have a couple of ideas in mind and have ordered a sample to see if it will work, we'll have to wait and see.  I hope so, as I'd like to get past the research stage for this next school year.  But I am emphatic about finding the right texts and resources, as it makes all the difference in the world for our kids who are trying to make up lost ground.  We've done very well thus far, and I believe it has been in large part due to very carefully selecting what we are working with.

I am declaring this summer to be a summer of rest, peace and fun.  We have little scheduled beyond summer camps and California in August, and I want us to lay around a bit, do a little school, and enjoy one another to the fullest.   I want to get back to my harp, which has sat untouched as other things filled my life, I want to read a lot of books this summer for pleasure, I want to take walks, stay up late and snuggle on the couch with Dominick and the kids, make S'mores and go exploring around our area.  I want to have as little paperwork or research as I can possibly have, and I want to forget the challenges of school work for a little while.  I want time with friends, drive in movies, spontaneous ice cream runs, and silly art projects.  I want garden fresh salsa, singing on road trips, and water fights.

I want summer to be filled with the singing of birds outside my front door, and the late afternoon sunlight casting its beautiful golden glow over our neighborhood.

I need rest, I need to refresh, I need to refill myself.

And by golly, that's what we're gonna do!

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