Last week the kids and I hopped from pool to pool and park to park. We joined friends for days of play and picnic lunches. This week the forecast shows rain - lots of rain - and I'm thrilled with that. Not just because we really need it, but because that means it will be much easier to transition back into the swing of things with school.
I wavered on when we'd start school, not knowing if it would be best to jump in before an upcoming season with lots of travel or wait until after. But, after thinking way too hard about it, I remembered that schooling is very flexible and that the necessary time for any one subject wasn't all that important. For recording purposes, we started first grade and kindergarten on August 1st, but I assure you that hasn't meant hours of reading and writing each day. In some regards, "school" is actually a big part of what we do everyday anyway because there is always a lot of reading and discussion and learning.
But, there are still days when the boys have specific lessons and assignments and things they need to write or draw or do. I'm using this month to play with different options for timing and scheduling. Grady isn't a fully independent reader yet so he still needs a lot of my time. Micah has a short attention span and requires me to sit by him and guide his work. And then there's Annalyse - the darling but distracting almost-two year old that throws a wrench in some lesson plans with her whines and accidents and toys.
Hopefully by the time September rolls around and (our super fun but super busy) Fall kicks into gear, we'll all have a workable routine figured out. I think I've said it before, but it's worth reminding myself again: my main academic goal this year is to develop strong independent readers. I know that once that happens, self-learning will direct their studies and interests. History and science and the arts will make sense and fit much better into their limited scope of understanding once they can read and research and explore things on their own.
All in all, I think we completed maybe two hours of school today, but that was enough to finish several pages in math, phonics, geography, and out-loud reading. The best part was that it happened in sporadic increments of time throughout the day. Sometimes I like to get all school work out and completed before lunch so that the rest of the day is free. But then there are days like today where it just seems to work better to do things in pieces.
Right now schoolwork is fun because the bins of pencils and crayons and markers are brand new. The notebooks are blank and the textbooks are crisp. It's all a colorful adventure for them. (And, if I'm honest, for me too. I'm a school supply junkie and also happen to love the smell of new books!) I've shared a few ideas I have for field trips and projects we'll do this school year and the boys are asking if we can do them all this week. Don't you remember those days - when the beginning of a school year was fresh and exciting? It's fun to see my boys the same way.
For this rainy week, though, we're taking it nice and easy. A little bit of school work here and there. And a lot of Olympic watching in between. Grady Lee has spent the past two evenings sprinting from our driveway to the end of the cul de sac and asking me if he "was as fast as the Bolt runner that is the fastest man?" Micah is working to perfect his push off the wall while swimming and has informed me that since his name "is kind of like Michael (Phelps) I'll be a fast swimmer someday, too!"
Being the book-nerd that I am, you can be sure I've used the Olympics as good reason to haul out the world atlas and talk about world geography. Look at that - lots of learning is actually getting done. Phew.