This week I pondered the question, “What did you do this summer?” Oh, the perennial topic of so many back to school essays.
We read lots of books. One of my boys read non-fiction all summer with the exception of one historical fiction.
We spent a week at Vacation Bible School learning about water borne illnesses, the importance of proper handwashing, and the need for clean water around the world. The church sponsors the Living Water initiative to bring clean water to people around the globe. I was so completely humbled as I researched the need for access to clean water.
We rode our bikes. We worked on soccer skills. The boys even tried out baseball.
July was spent learning outdoor skills with the Cub Scouts, going on a family vacation, attending a NXT Programming Camp, and taking a couple of classes through the National Park Service.
We hiked amazing places and saw some incredible wildlife. One morning we had an amazing salamander hike. We spotted a heron catching a fish. Another evening we spotted a beaver. They caught frogs and tadpoles. We even found a snake skin in a tree. After many afternoons watching dragonflies we learned the difference between dragon and damsel flies.
We watched the hummingbirds in our backyard and learned their calls. The boys spent a fair amount of time reading about hummingbirds and watching documentaries and TV shows.
We learned more about White Nose Syndrome in bats and Colony Collapse Disorder in bees.
We watched TV shows like Mythbusters and StormChasers and Nature (PBS).
We did science experiments and practiced our metric skills.
It was a great summer of learning!
On this eve of back to school I ponder, “Would the school system agree?” I have this suspicion the system may or may not think we had a great summer of learning. Observing nature, programming, being physically fit, learning about grave scientific issues facing our nation and planet, doing science experiments, pursuing interests and accomplishing goals you set for yourself – Those aren’t measured on a standardized test. No, the important things would be: How fast can you do your math facts?, How many minutes did you read?, and How does your reading level test on Aug. 23rd compare to May 23rd?
So tonight I say, “It’s great to be a homeschooler!”