First off I should let you know we are considered “relaxed schoolers” And we relax-learn year-round for many reasons, some of the main reasons are:
1) I noticed my children (back when we attended school) defined learning as something you can only do at a desk with dictation by a teacher. You simply could not learn in any other situation. In fact they protested anything they deemed as school-ish outside of school hours. The class room situation quickly killed their lovely spirit and curiosity to learn, which broke my heart and frustrated our whole family. The children were stressed and their behavior reflected their stress.
By relax schooling my children have reconnected with the freedom to choose WHAT they want to learn, WHEN they want to learn it, WHERE they want to learn it and HOW they want to learn it. Which has translated into a constant stream of learning. They no longer protest the process of learning. Life is once again a peaceful learning experience, year round.
The process of “de-schooling” took my children a few months, but we didn’t see complete fruits of our labors until we as a family found trust in ourselves, our abilities and overall our family groove.
2) Before school I was a “strewing” type mama. Which is an unschooling term. And I stopped that when the kids were in school. I assumed they were getting their education at school. I assumed very wrong. Once we pulled out, I started strewing again. And once again our entire lives became educational; therefore, we homeschool year round, whether we want to or not. ha ha!
Everything we do has a degree of learning to it.
An average morning could look like this…sleepy heads surfacing, wanting to snuggle and listen to an audio book.
The audio story may lead my son to research the status of Pluto as a planet or not. He will talk non-stop about it, research it, make crafts of it, etc for a few days afterwards. Or become a detective like the main character in the story and start a sleuthing club.
My daughter might want to watch a cartoon DVD. I agree to let her watch, as long as the language of the DVD was switched to french. She will build a fort on the sofa and start talking to her stuffed animals in french.
It is still early in the morning, they are still in their PJs and nibbling on their breakfast….their minds are engaged in something interesting to them. The wheels are turning and I haven’t opened one text-book yet.
3) year round schooling allows you to take time off as needed.
I follow a few curriculums, because it makes record keeping for the state that much easier. I only follow curriculums my children enjoy.
I will give a giant shout out to the math program “LIFE OF FRED” my son will literally BEG me to do more and more chapters. My daughter is not a fan of math, but she is a fan of snuggling up with mom on the sofa to hear a story about math and the life of the crazy little character Fred.
If we sit down to do some text-book type schooling, and it isn’t going smoothly, If it is causing frustration for me or the kids, we can simply take that day off and come back to it at a later time.
Our state requires 175-180 days of school, depending on the year. By homeschooling year round, I don’t have to really worry about taking a day off or even a week off now and then. There is no way we will have 185 bad days each year and if we do, then something drastically needs to change! In fact we normally hit our 100th day of school at least a month before the public school hits theirs.
Other reasons we might take a day off are less stressful reasons…maybe friends or family come to visit. A spontaneous trip to Legoland. It is simply a beautiful day out and the beach or a hike sounds more appealing. It snows on our mountains and we want to make a snowman or go sledding. There are plenty of fabulous reasons to ditch the text books and head outside for a great learning experience.
Some families enjoy having a hard start and stop to their school year, but that does not work for our family. We see learning as something fun and a natural part of life that doesn’t stop in the summer or on the weekends.
My children do have some friends that attend school and can’t understand why my children love schooling year round. It does not compute with the kids that attend school, because they live for the summer break….to make that less confusing we simply call July our summer if people ask.
As I typed out this blog, my son was explaining this balancing experiment to his sister. (He learned all about this experiment from the tv show Beakman’s world. I am not anti-TV, but I am a firm believer that TV options for kids NEED to have an educational element. TV needs to spark curiosity that extends into their real life.)
And now that I’m about to hit publish on my post my son comes up to me and says “excuse me mom, but do you think you could give me some homework?” I ask “like what kind of homework?” He says “oh I don’t know maybe like go research our solar system or something?” I send him off with a post-it note that says “research and write down five facts about our solar system” he runs off with a giant smile….a moment later he asks if I can take him to the library today…so there you have it, we will be going to the library today. 🙂
That is what homeschooling in our house looks like! That is what learning should look like IMHO and that is why we have a relaxed homeschooling style and why we do it year round.