The pictures in this post are from our Father's Day camping trip to Cave Mountain Lake and Natural Bridge. The pictures make me think of summer. When I was a child, summer vacation lingered like a dog loving a belly rub. Just like a long session of belly rubbing can wear out your arm, a long summer break can wear out your nerves. During those childhood summer vacations, we might go visit family, take summer enrichment classes, or attend a program at the library. Other than that, it was just me, my brother Tim, whatever friends happened to be around, and a lot of free time. We were creative kids and found lots of things to do with our free time. However, that last stretch of summer it was always too hot to play outside, TV was boring, and we were running out of safe ideas. In short, we were bored. When school started up again, I was ready to go. New clothes, new school supplies, new teachers, new information! YAY!!
Even now, as a homeschooling mom, I feel the same way. The first few weeks of our summer vacation its fun to throw off the routine and just do what we want, but it gets old real quick. The kids get stir crazy and start to be a lot more disobedient due to the lack of routine. Many fun places are crowded with people taking their summer vacation. It also seems just shy of criminal to make children sit and "do school" when the weather is lovely, but expect them to play outside when it is scorching hot. Why follow that schedule if you don't have to follow it?
After the first year with a long summer break, we decided that was not the best option for our family. We generally school through the hottest part of the summer, take a long break in fall, short breaks at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and in early spring, and another long break after testing in May. Of course, we get some unscheduled breaks from time to time, due to illness, or unplanned opportunities. This schedule works really well and allows us to take long breaks when the weather is pleasant and popular spots are not too crowded. We also avoid losing any significant progress from one school year to the next.
This year, I got distracted by some big projects, so our post-test break stretched a little long. The week we were going to start school was derailed by trying to get my in-laws into an assisted living facility. Of course, I also got sick and that pushed things off further and meant the house was a bit of a wreck the week we started school. Now, my in-laws have decided they hate their facility and, while touring a new facility, MIL broke her hip. So, FIL is in one facility, MIL is in rehab and we are trying to keep up with both of them.
I am looking ahead at everything "on the books" and I know this is going to be a busier than normal year. The neat thing about homeschooling is that we can incorporate school into our life. We will take our schoolwork with us to doctor's appointments, read history and science to each other during our long trips to Northern Virginia, and take advantage of every teachable moment. We will prioritize, making sure bible, math, reading and writing are covered every school day. Polar Bear will plug along with his science. We will use our time as wisely as we possibly can.
If I were to type out everything I need to do in the course of the next few months, it would be enough to drive me to drink. Since I am a nursing mama, I'll have to ask a friend to be my designated drinker. I'll stick with my Preggie Lady Cocktails and take it just one day at a time.