Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Summer

It's June, which means we are officially on summer break (although that doesn't mean that we stop learning!).  The weather has been nice so far but is heating up rapidly.  Unlike some families who can spend all day out-of-doors in the summer, we find ourselves limited by the extreme heat, so I like to plan things for us to do indoors during the hot afternoons.  I also like to keep a rhythm to our days; they're more relaxed and somewhat fluid, but having place markers helps keep the days from stretching into an endless bore.

We generally try to get outside on all but the hottest mornings.  We walk the dogs, eat breakfast outside, and tend the garden.  The boys will play basketball or paint.

One thing I like to do each summer is read a novel to the boys.  This year we've chosen The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a 2010 Newberry Honor Winner that looks to be smashing.  I like to bring T-Guy away from his rather narrow interest in fantasy novels and I think that a novel that has a science focus will be right up J-Baby's alley.

Each summer we bring a stronger focus on arts and crafts; I'll admit that I find it far easier to have the boys paint outside and deal with the mess out there.  We already have the easel set up under the porte-cochere and jars of diluted (1:1) Liquid Watercolors stand at the ready for painting inspiration, along with our makeshift drying line and a wash station.  This summer we're going to focus on hand-sewing skills as our craft, perhaps branching out to the machines by summer's end.  I now have a Singer Featherweight 221 for each boy, although they both needs some maintenance/repair (I have a Featherweight 222 for myself ~ how lucky am I?).

The boys are old enough now to really learn about maintaining a clean home so we'll be teaching them the basics of dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, etc.  It sounds boring but I think it is important to teach life skills to children and help them see the value of keeping a clean and tidy home.  We've decided as a family that we will no longer hire housecleaners for a job that we are capable of doing ourselves (and I am so grateful that my health has improved to a place where we can do this).

Both boys have a real interest in cooking, so once a week I'll be bringing one of them into the kitchen to learn the basics of cooking a healthy, delicious dinner.  They are definitely behind where I was at their age, as at age 10 I could put the entire meal on the table, but the way I cook now is far different than how I was taught (opening cans, boxes, and freezer containers).  Still I think they are ready for learning to cook simple meals such as baked chicken, brown rice, and sauteed zucchini.  They can also pitch in on my weekly big kitchen day.

The pool becomes a big focus for us in the summer, as we go for a couple of hours most afternoons, either before it is time to prepare dinner or after an early dinner so that Papa can come with us.

We have many activities to mark our week; farmers markets on Thursdays and Saturdays, the summer music series on Tuesdays and Fridays, weekly gathering with our homeschooled friends, play dates, a weekly kids' movie series, and our weekly library trips (including twice monthly board game days).  It sounds busy but none of these activities take long, they are spread out, and all of them are optional.

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