The first weeks of summer my Facebook news feed was full of ambitious summer home education plans. I started seeing posts on limits of screen time, mandatory reading time, and a host of educational websites for learning activities and printable worksheets on line. I am tempted to follow suit as it seems that is what “good” parents do, but then I remember “because everyone else is dong it.” is not a good parenting strategy. I have decided not to do any of that stuff, and here’s why.
Summer is a season of rest.
During the school year our days are a blur. We get up early, spend 8 plus hours a day at school, do homework, run between dance and martial arts, and fall into bed half dead by 8:00. Ok so that is the goal, but often it is actually closer to 9:00. During the summer we do a few church camp things, but we have no extra curricular activities, and no set scheduled when we can help it.
Summer is for family time:
We are so busy during the school year that we never see each other. Someone is constantly gone to something, and we just don’t have time to bond together as a whole family. My children play together like no other in the summer. When they get board they start making up their own games. Their relationship with the school system will last 20 years or so. Their relationship with each other will last a life time, and at some point I won’t be around to facilitate that.
Summer is for Self Exploration
We provide a wide variety of materials and toys, and our kids pick out what they want to do with them. If they find something on YouTube or the Internet they want to learn more about we help cultivate their interest. This summer one of my children learned to sew and knit. Another learned about animals, and the boys learned about electric circuits.
Summer is for FUN!
During the school year we have no time for fun activities like flying kites at the park, or going swimming, or doing Lego lab at the library. One of our favorite things to do is feed the ducks at the pond, have lunch in the park, and go to our local children’s science museum.
Summer is not for “getting ahead” or “falling behind” for average students.
To be sure there are some kids who need the extra help. In fact I was one of them. I spent two hours a day in tutoring during the summers in 3 rd and 4 th grade. I couldn’t add 2+2, but soon I was cought up to my peers. I never did school work in the summer again. I still managed to not only get into college, but I did very well. The point being if my kids are headed for an acedimic life it will happen without me riding them to read daily or do math worksheets all summer.