The trade-off for swapping in a school year of normalcy for one of unconventional field trips and journaling: school needs to extend a bit into the summer for us this year. As you might expect, establishing any semblance of routine into our education was a laughable defeat and so, early on, we shrugged our shoulders and enjoyed a year of learning on the road and under our feet.
It was every bit worth it, and I even came away a bit more at ease with the thought of laid-back learning. I’m all about real-life education, but as a self-proclaimed nerd, the rigor and structure of school has always appealed to me. It feeds my first-born tendencies to enjoy a checklist, to feel done when all the boxes are checked with red.
But I know now, from experience, that learning really does happen when we least expect it and in a million different ways. The kids hardly did formal grammar or phonics this year, yet my 7-year-old’s reading level shot up like a rocket and my oldest read more books this year than she ever has; her writing is out of this world. My almost 5-year-old is slowly and eagerly grasping the beauty of three-letter words.
This isn’t to say they’re academically remarkable children. No, in fact, that’s what makes my revelation all the more remarkable: they’re delightfully normal in all the best ways, and yet the learning never stopped. It’s true for all of us—when we let ourselves, our education continues indefinitely, 24/7/365.
And so, this summer looks like more learning for all of us. The two oldest get to continue with regular math lessons because, well, let’s be honest—those took a backseat this year (and yes, there will be much gnashing of teeth in this department). The reading never ends, of course, so I’m starting to work on their own summer reading lists (like last year’s). We’ll continue to listen to Story of the World together because they’re just plain good stories and we all get sucked in.
And writing? For my oldest, we’re gonna dive back in to A Summer of Stories, an e-book I wrote for her last summer and made it available for anyone else interested.
Step-by-step instructions and space to scratch out the four steps to good writing, along with an easy-to-read explanation on the five elements of a story and the five elements of a plot.
And then? Ten delightfully simple and silly story prompts to get them going. Ten possible stories for the ten (more or less) weeks of summer.
It’s the same book as last year’s, with one corrected typo (how did I not see that last time?!), all in a neat PDF package for five dollars. You can print it out and bind it at your local copy shop, adding or leaving out as many pages as you want. Or, just keep it as a digital resource for yourself and teach it directly to your kiddo without her seeing a thing. I won’t tell.
Perhaps this will add a little creativity to your upcoming long, leisurely summer days. And? Long live summer. I’m glad it’s here.
p.s. – Use the code LONGLIVESUMMER for a dollar off through May 31, 2015. Head here.
p.p.s. – Some of y’all are having trouble seeing the download link after you buy the ebook, and it’s understandable—it’s a bit hard to see (I’ll have our web guy get right on it). In the meantime, head here to see a screenshot where the download link is. It’s right on the Order Received page.