Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Vacation

We generally school for most of the summer. This year, however, we decided to try a Summer Vacation. Really, it was out of necessity since we closed on our new house three days after the public schools were out. In our state, I am required to teach them a minimum of 180 days a year. If you take out the weekends (which are three days in our house) you are STILL left with 208 days in the year. That leaves 28 days for vacation, which (in our four day weeks) is 7 weeks. We normally take that as a week in the fall, two at Christmas, a week in the Spring and two weeks in the Summer. Sometimes, if I know I want more time at a certain vacation, we will teach 5 day weeks for however long to give us the extra days. This year, knowing we were closing on the house, I taught the second half of the year in 5 day weeks. As we are gearing up for our 'end of summer' vacations, which would normally be all of summer break, I realize I have learned a few things.

1) I don't like taking so much time for the summer. I don't know who thought that three months off with no schedule was a good idea but I think it stinks. They need that structure. I still quiz them orally at dinner, we go to museums and reading is a non issue but they thrive on a slightly more structured daytime routine.

2) Some amount of summer vacation is awesome. I do like being a bit more relaxed and taking that time to plan and organize for next year!

3) I don't like kids getting burned out in the school year. Random days off to relax and re coup are a good thing. That's why we teach 4 day weeks, but having 5 days to finish a unit is nice sometimes too.

4) There aren't enough days in the year to teach 180, have random days off AND a three month summer. Not happening.

Next year, we will be doing things differently. I will teach 4 day weeks when I can and 5 day weeks when we have a longer unit. I don't know where I will use the added days yet, maybe they'll just have a longer school year. I doubt it though. I might use those days for the times in May when it's suddenly GORGEOUS outside and we want to be outside, planting. THAT'S when we need an extra day. Not in the summer.

How do you handle vacations?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Back to School Frenzy

All of the stores are gearing up for Back to School. The local school district begins school in the middle of August around here. This led to a conversation about what that term means to us. We don't really take the time off. We are getting ready for our summer break now, but even over the next month of vacations and camp we will still have some review work going on.

Pom went to public school in Kindergarten and half of first grade, so she compared the two. She says she loved back to school time back then but that she loves it now too, just not as much.

Diva has never been to public school and the private Kindergarten she went to actually provided all the materials. She doesn't really care about back to school so much. She only really cares about the fall clothes shopping trip. THAT makes her happy.

How about you? What does YOUR child think about back to school? Does it mean much for them?

Personally, I actually still love back to school but it's because I can get 20 spiral bound notebooks for just a couple dollars. They totally don't care about that.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Welcome to the place for reviews, homeschool ideas, thoughts, recipes, lessons and fun. But first, an introduction to the blog's name. For an introduction on the reasons I teach see the intros to Pom and Diva

Everyone I meet for the first time says "What do you do for a living?". I respond with "Everything."

No one gets that at first until I explain that I run three businesses, volunteer as the service unit manager for Girl Scouts, lead two troops and transport four kids to 11 dance classes, Awanas and 4H. OH YEAH! And I homeschool.

I am usually met with a dumbfounded look and some form of question on how I can homeschool, like that's the least important of what I do.

I get that I live in a world of chaos. I left out that we have 2 cats and a dog, I cook most of our meals and then post the recipes and we are expecting a baby in December. Honestly though, the homeschooling is the MOST important, the most fun and the most interesting thing that I do. I love doing child care, I love writing and I love Stampin' Up but the education of my children is imperative.

Unless they homeschool, however, everyone assumes that as long as I am not actively doing something for 'work', I must be free. "Let's go to the park", "You don't have daycare kids tomorrow, come hang out with me", "Come get coffee with me" or my personal favorite "What are you doing today? Oh just school? COOL you should come over since you don't have anything planned". Really?

In any given day, school takes up more of time than anything else. I put the daycare kids to work even, with preschool lessons and crafts to keep them learning and occupied. They love it, my kids aren't distracted and I am still teaching. I PLAN a lot for the week. Just because I am teaching at home doesn't mean I am not TEACHING. If I were in a classroom you wouldn't say "since you don't have anything planned". We have a schedule. We have 'classes' and we have a plan.

But that's okay, because I am homeschooling on the side.