Just Keep Swimming

May 2020 Curriculum Club Newsletter

*This article was first published in our Curriculum Club Newsletter. Not a member? It’s easy to join! Simply Visit our page: JOIN THE CURRICULUM CLUB and great articles about educating your kids will arrive in your inbox every month as well as a deeper look at our curriculum, upcoming holidays and Member’s Only exclusives!


Just Keep Swimming – By Mrs. Crabtree

This is the time of  year I hear the song “School’s Out For Summer” playing in my head! But in our house it said: School’s (Not) out for Summer! We just keep going, or like Dory says:  we just keep swimming! 

Many homeschool families do not take a “break” for summer. Instead they adopt more of a year long (I prefer to call it life long) schooling philosophy.

 If this isn’t something you are already doing, I have some practical tips on what works for us and why we prefer not to take summer’s off! 

If you’re not a homeschool family – it’s the perfect occasion to test it out, or you can be “Summer-Schoolers” only. Just “Homeschool” for the summer months so your children continue to thrive educationally. 

ROUTINE 

We stay in our routine. We don’t get up at the crack of dawn anyway. There isn’t really a reason to “sleep in” and get the family all out of alignment. Then we’d just have to get BACK into the routine again and you know how hard that is. I highly recommend this to all families. Try to say as close as possible to your bedtime and wake time on a REGULAR basis. Think about how hard it is when daylight savings time comes around! Add in adjusting to “Back to School” time and that’s three times a year you need at least a week to realign your healthy sleep cycle. 

(Remember when they took naps? Can I go back to THIS sleep cycle???) 


ACADEMICS

We do most of our core ACADEMICS in the summer. Museums and theme parks are crowded because everyone is off and visiting. We save our field trips for the “traditional: months when things tend to be less crowded, or we can go early before schools arrive. For those of you “summer-schooling” as I suggested this can be a time to catch up on skills or to get ahead! EVERYTHING is learning. 

I always tell my children that we have school every day, 365 days a year. There are no days off because everything IS learning. Whenever we take a vacation (even if it IS over the summer)  – that’s just what we did for school. This works wonders. I actually told my children they could have Leap Year day off. I’ll never forget the year they got up at 1am to play video games on Leap Day. Everyone should celebrate Leap Day with absolute abandon every 4 years. Why fill an extra day with work?
 

(Lauren helps her cousin make giant bubbles at our “summer camp”)


FAMILY TIME

Summers were special because I wasn’t working, so we got to spend more time as a family. If I stopped schooling, my kids would have scattered to the wind. This might not apply to your situation, but many jobs have reduced summer hours so perhaps the non homeschooling parent is home more! Remember #3, everything is learning so Games, Movies, Hikes…it all counts! 

Don’t forget to take advantage of the great programs your community offers. Many have free reading programs with rewards. Even movie theaters have free or $1.00 movies! If you don’t want to go to the Movies or Library this summer due to local stay at home orders or just to play it safe..organize a program among your child’s friends (or classmates). They can all read the same book and meet online to discuss it, or do the same with a movie. Host a small gathering in your home or park, whatever you are comfortable with. This might be THE perfect summer for an old fashioned lemonade stand! When life gives you lemons after all….  I know whatever you decide your learning will be plentiful and your journey will be blessed!

(Douglas making a face, looks like sour grapes to me!) 



 I’d love to hear how you spend your summer months. Feel free to send me an email! 

– Mrs. Crabtree

Self Evaluation – Have your learner evaluate their own work.

April 2020 Curriculum Club Newsletter

*This article was first published in our Curriculum Club Newsletter. Not a member? It’s easy to join! Simply Visit our page: JOIN THE CURRICULUM CLUB and great articles about educating your kids will arrive in your inbox every month as well as a deeper look at our curriculum, upcoming holidays and Member’s Only exclusives!



Self Evaluation By Mrs. Crabtree

At the Happy Hive I always felt it was important that because the kids were working on topics they chose, that they should be the ones to evaluate the quality of the learning that took place and decide if they were ready to move on. 

Each day I asked them simple things like: What was your favorite part of our learning activities today? Why? What would you do differently, Why? Sometimes they would tell me they wouldn’t do anything differently – that was important too! What made that day’s activities work so well?  These conversations led to choosing their best piece of work for the week to display and why other work wouldn’t be on display. Often they put more effort into things they were passionate about, but eventually learned to balance the less favorable assignments. I always kept the conversations focused on the learner and what was important to them. Every assignment doesn’t have to be done to the highest standard, at least not in our house. Balance was also important. Let me explain. 


My son was born with vision issues. His penmanship never conformed to “traditional” standards. We never made it an issue. He answered the questions asked in the simplest manner possible. There were never extra words, and often it was correct, but messy. What would be the point of having him re-do work that wasn’t neat? Even when I KNEW he could do better? He really didn’t care how his writing looked, his goal had always been to just get the letter onto the paper because of those first visual challenges. He eventually learned how to control his writing and bring it into somewhat of a legible print. Cursive was learned, and he can do it, but he chooses print. He never liked how his writing looked, but also never chose to make it look better. It just wasn’t important to him, and that was ok with us! He completed the tasks given. He preferred to spend hours building book report scenes out of Legos. We’d get a scene from History, Literature, etc. We knew if he wanted to set his mind to a task, he could – and that was what was important. 

The Boston Massacre in Legos.

As a High School Junior, his current Language Arts program of choice is writing a book. He’s using a computer thankfully! Simply allowing him to progress and choose his course and not make writing an issue has paid off. His writing is descriptive, his characters developed and he is writing so much more than the days of simply the basic answer! 

I am here to mentor the learners in my school, not judge (grade)  them. If they evaluate their own learning, they are better equipped to take more and more responsibility in the planning as they age. It’s a beautiful thing! 


 I’d love to hear how you  evaluate work in your Homeschool. Feel free to send me an email! 

– Mrs. Crabtree