Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homeschooling Thru The Summer

Unlike most public and homeschoolers, we have been attempting to continue school through the summer.  Having started his first grade curriculum in January, we just haven't gotten through it yet and I thought we should trudge right one through.

However, it is very slow going.  Finding time for school with the multitude of summer duties is not as simple as I thought it would be.

Of course, we still have our regular daily duties to attend to, dishes, laundry, diaper changes and meals.  Add to that, we're spending about 2-4 hours working outside everyday now.  With the watering, and tending of the garden, feeding and watering the goats, chickens, ducks and turkey (while keeping an eye on the littles) takes alot of time.

My children in 'farm clothes'

I understand that this is why the public school system chose to operate from autumn to spring.  When the communities discussed setting up public schooling for children, and had to 'entice' the adults to allow their children to attend, they had to accommodate the FARM WORK.  Planting, tending and harvest are labor intensive and the children really do HELP and make it joyful work!

While I don't want my homeschooling to mimic public schooling, I can see that 'every season has a purpose'.  In the spring we plant our seed, hatch our chicks, kid our goats, (or perhaps welcome little milk calves hehe) and continue the efforts to make our soil and garden beds fertile and rich.  In the summer we tend the growing plants and watch vigilantly for pests to plants and animals alike.  In the autumn we harvest the food, butcher meat animals and put up food to keep us and the wintering animals through the coming winter.  In the winter we must venture out to care for our animals.  But the majority of the time will be spent indoors.

So winter lends itself perfectly to the learning and reflection that is necessary for some school subjects.

Of course... life teaches lessons throughout ALL these seasons.

How better to display the wisdom of the Lord and His word.  As He directs us to be like the ant, to prepare for times when things are not so plentiful, I can point out the easily visible seasonal ebb and flow in my own garden.  As He directs us to follow His word for the promise of rain, and milk, and honey, I can easily show my children the integral importance of water to every living creature and plant, and the bountiful blessing of milk and honey to make life an abundant joy, not just mere survival.

Some fresh honeycomb in our hive, YAY!

My children learn the life cycle of a tree, a bean, a flower, a chicken, a goat, and human beings, simply by living it.  I love that my children save all their seeds instead of tossing them and beg to plant them anytime they find one.  Those tiny little seeds hold amazing potential in the eyes of my children.  I love that they eagerly collect eggs, and would rather incubate them then eat them because they KNOW that each egg COULD be a new baby chicken if cared for properly.  I love that my children ask me constantly to learn what each weed is in the yard, because they have learned that some of those 'weeds' are actually nutrient rich food, or have amazing medicinal properties that can help make us healthier or treat wounds or illnesses.

Giant Hogweed, Poisonous Noxious Weed, Do not touch!

So while I lament that we didn't read enough books this summer or get through enough math.... I can rejoice that the Lord provided ample learning opportunities to my children.  He certainly provides a rich tapestry of life to learn.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead... - Romans 1:20a

What have you and your children learned while not 'schooling'?

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