A few weeks ago, Dana asked what our summer school plans were. Usually, we school year round. This was our third year homeschooling, and it was beginning to feel like we had been schooling for three straight years. Oh, wait. We had. After much thought and consideration, I realized that it is not the actual school that was getting me burnt out. My children are some of the easiest children to teach (except for Gabriel who argues about everything, just to argue-- but since he doesn't require a lot of 'teaching', the teaching part of homeschooling is easy for me). No the stress was coming from always being 'on.' There was no conscience break that allowed my brain to say, "Well, if we do some learning today, that would be fun, but we don't have to do anything." So, I decided to finish school two months early. Fortunately, we were ahead in everything. How often does that happen? Having said all that, though, there is still a major problem. My children need mental stimulation, ALWAYS. Otherwise, they are bears. So, instead of having formal school, we'll be doing a bit of relaxed learning.
First, they must all do one math lesson or math game each week. The whole point of this, since they are all ahead in math, is to keep their brains working in the math sense. At least one of them has major problems with losing math if he doesn't continuously use it, and it is very frustrating for him when he comes back after a break, even one so short as two weeks. Since they all understand this and hate the frustration, they have no problem with this rule.
Next, we will be doing a little geography work. We're going to follow the route of Marco Polo and do some art projects. We'll be using Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China, 21 Activities (For Kids series) as our base text. I love this book because it tells a wonderful story, and includes many projects to do. This, too, will be a laid back expedition, with the emphasis being on learning about things they want to learn about, and having fun.
Finally, we will do a unit study based on the The 39 Clues Series. I like that each book focuses on a different historical figure, and want to take advantage of my children's obvious love of mysteries and all thinks Rick Riordan.
We plan to have fun. After all, taking a break should be fun. We will visit the museum, go camping, go to park days, care for the chickens and garden, ride bikes, play in the water, go to the pool, watch lots of movies, and just enjoy being together. While I will keep the mental stimulation going for their sake (and mine- who likes to live with grouchy bears?), it will not be a stressful-have-to-get-it-done kind of stimulation. And that, after all, is what we need a break from.