So, do you stop for the summer?

This has been the question du jour recently.  I know everyone means do we stop doing "school", but each time I am sorely tempted to ask, "Stop doing what?  Living?'  At the root of these two questions lies the fundamental difference between those of us who teach our children at home and traditional schooling.  At this point in our homeschooling journey, I find it nearly impossible to separate what is just "life" and what is "school"; there is very little difference between the two. 

We may take a break from doing intense grammar lessons in the summer (sentence diagramming and stuff), but we certainly do not take a break from reading, or discussing what we've read, or talking about how words work, or writing stories, or... It's just a part of how we live.  We do not take a break from working on math books, because to do so causes such distress (on the part of both parent and child) when it comes time to resume that it isn't worth it.  Plus, waking up and doing math is such an ingrained part of everyone's day, that really, no one thinks twice about it.  It's just what we do.  We don't take math books on vacation, but we don't ignore math either.  Using numbers and math occurs somewhat naturally throughout the day.  For instance, when we were driving around Iowa a couple of weeks ago, B. and A. got it in their heads that they really needed to know how many feet were in an acre.  J. knew the conversion for feet to miles and my father knew the conversions between miles and sections and between sections and acres.  With that information, B. and A. spent the car ride hovering over a piece of scratch paper figuring out the answer. Math happens.

My children are constantly learning new things; often things they discover for themselves.  Since the traditional purpose of school is to learn things, then perhaps we are in school all of our waking hours.  How do you stop that?  And would you want to?


sandwichinwi said…
We are having math and journals and science and each individual has some misc. extras.

We've been getting science out of the way this summer--the human body. Last night Pepper was getting ready for bed and grouched, "AARG! A Tick! The hairs on my arm alerted me that it was crawling on me!"

I love when they put the day's lesson into practice! LOL

sandwichinwi said…
Oh, yeah. This is your blog.

I love the acre story! That's something my kids would do too.

This was a great post.
Joanne said…
Hi E,
Could you send me some math suggestions for kids 2 to 4? Simple stuff I can do at home. I have math phobia and it was torture for me as a kid. I don't want to pass that on to my daughter J.
Joanne in Ontario, Canada
sandwichinwi said…
I can throw a few your way.

The best math for this age is talking about real life.

Count all the time. Point to objects as you count them, building the concept of one-to-one correspondence (you don't have to tell them that's what they're learning!) Don't drill. Just say it casually as you do things. "let's put 5 buns on the plate. 1-2-3-4-5"

Matching things to family members is an awesome way to work on math. "Get out 4 plates. 1 for Mommy, 1 for Daddy, 1 for sister and 1 for you."

Match socks. This is a perfect chore for these little people!

Wheels. Notice how many wheels the bike has. The tricycle. The wagon. The car.

Once they know colors, play patterns. You can use anything from blocks to forks and knives. I introduced it as making a train and taking turns. Start with blue. Then it's yellow's turn. Now blue's turn. Now yellow's turn. Then "read" the pattern when you've finished. "Blue block, yellow block, blue block, yellow block." Or line up all the silverware around the table fork, knife, fork, knife, before you set them out.

Talk about sizes. Daddy is the tallest. THen Mommy, then sister, then you. Whose pencil is longer, mine or yours? Yours is shorter and mine is longer.

Recognizing the actual numbers is one of the later skills, so don't worry about that until they show interest.


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