Homeschooling

Summer School!

As The Eldest wraps up her online courses from both Scholé and Queen of Heaven Academy and the other children finish their school books, my mind naturally turns to Summer School and Summer Schedules.

Not that we’ll be doing anything fun like Baseball or Chess Club…no.  Just more school and garden-weeding.  Well, it’s not as bad as that, we’ll do chores too.  (You know I’m being a little waggish, right?)

In any case, since I have a couple of friends who are passing ideas back and forth, I thought I’d share what our average summer day will look like.  You might find something helpful in it.  You might not.  We’re all different!

At the end of the schedule, I’ll type out specifically what the children will be doing for “school” this summer, if you’re curious.

Summer Schedule

6:00-6:25am:  Mom Computer Work

6:25-6:50am:  Lauds with Husband and 4 Older Children. (We use THIS.)

6:50-7:40am:  Shower, Laundry In, Dress Little Girls, Twins do Saxon Math with Husband, Eldest Piano

7:40-8:15am:  Eldest Makes Breakfast for Everyone, Mom Reads Bible Aloud.  (We currently use RSV Catholic Edition, but I want to switch to Douay-Rheims.)  Poetry Recitations

8:15-9:15am:  Piano for Other Children, Mom Cleans up Breakfast

9:15-9:30am:  Midmorning Prayer

9:30-10:00am:  Twins Grammar

10:00-11:00am:  Free Time, Lunch Prep, Laundry, Kids Set Table

11:00-11:30am:  Lunch with Audible

11:30-12:00pm:  Mom Reads Aloud, Kids Clean up Kitchen

12:30-1:30pm:  Quiet Time, Mom Naps & Requires a Cup of Tea or Coffee

1:30-2:00pm:  Twins Writing & Rhetoric

2:00-3:00pm:  Free Time, Kids Better Find Something to Do or They Get Chores, Mom Walks or Jogs

3:00-4:00pm:  “Art and Tea Time,” Children do Cursive or Calligraphy, Drawing, and Listen to Audible while Little Girls Run Chaotically Around

4:00-5:00pm:  Dinner Prep, Mom Contemplates if Happy Hour is Warranted

5:00pm:  Greet Husband with a Smile

5:15pm:  Dinner and Bulter’s Lives of the Saints

6:00pm:  Children Clean Up, Mom Laundry, Dad House or Outdoor Projects

7:10pm:  Rosary

8:00pm:  Little Girls to Bed, Big Kids Banished to the Basement, Mom & Dad pray Compline

8:30pm:  Mom & Dad Be Together

10:00pm:  Bedtime

So, What Exactly Are the Children Doing?

The Eldest will be taking two online summer classes from Scholé Academy, which she chose–a Brit Lit class and a Latin Novella Reading Club.  Truly, these will be fun for her.  It won’t be work, as she loves reading.

The 11-year-old twins will do more school than usual, however, because of all the school Paul missed due to his 11 surgeries this last year.  They will not like this, but that’s too bad.  They’ll be moving right into the next Saxon Math book in a week or so.  They will also be marching straight into the next Writing & Rhetoric and Well-Ordered Language books from Classical Academic Press.

All the other children will pretty much get off scot-free.  (Do you know that that phrase refers to a medieval tax that people tried to avoid paying?  Fascinating.)

If you have any questions about our schedule, be sure to ask.

Lastly…

Need a good homily to listen to?  This one knocks my socks right off.  We had the children listen to it too.  We’re praying for the protection of this priest.  He’s a warrior, the likes of whom we haven’t seen in awhile.  May the Holy Angels protect him!

Homeschooling

My Hydra-Yucca-Plant: A Tragedy

This summer we’ve been studying biology and botany.  Well, sort of.

You see, I have a yucca plant that won’t die.  In fact, it only multiplies.  So my husband and the children have been experimenting with different Killing Methods.

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Here it is.  Thriving.

Ever since we moved out here, in the country, we’ve had a yucca plant problem.  The previous owners of our place willingly (and stupidly) planted this horrible, indestructible thing.  So the first and second year we just hacked the thing off at the ground, naively hoping it would disappear in the spring.  And it did no such thing.

The third year, my husband got the spade out and violently slashed at the roots and wrenched out big hunks of that deplorable plant.  I was quite hopeful that it would be gone.

Alas.  My hopes were in vain.  The thing only multiplied; thus receiving it’s new name The Hydra.  (You are familiar with Hercules and the Hydra Dragon?  You cut off one head and several more appear.  Unbelievable.)  This Hydra-Yucca-Plant is threatening to take over my whole garden.

Last summer, I gave the 8-year-old twins a tank of extra-strong, undiluted Round-Up and a sprayer.  Their job was to kill it.  Hence, botany as summer school – good idea, right?

Well, the twins failed and through no fault of their own.  It just kept popping up all over the place.

This summer the twins have been giving me reports on It.  “Hey Mom, do you want us to pull Those Plants out?  Or should we get the Round-Up?”  And, “Mom, there’s more of ’em!”    And finally, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe it, but now they’re popping up on the other side of those railroad ties!”

And so, I give up.  This year, the Hydra-Yucca-Plant gets to live.  It’s a tragedy.

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Here it is in another spot.

The picture below is a full-grown yucca plant in the wild, where it belongs.

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This picture was not taken by me.  It was taken by Forest and Kim Starr.

P.S.  This is such an ugly plant.  It belongs only in deserts.  It’s pretty much like a worthless cactus anyway, with it sharp spears.  And ugliness.  No offense to anyone out there who actually likes these indestructible things.  For I suppose they do offer a little green to an otherwise brown landscape.

Homeschooling

Summer School

We never actually quit doing school; we go all year round.  Why?

  1. The children get a little bored in the “off” months, and it gives them something to do.
  2. I get a little bored in the “off” months, and it gives me something to do.
  3. It’s fun to learn new things with zero pressure.
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These two love Summer School.  They just show up and look cute.

What do we do for Summer School?

There are a few things that never go away, no matter what the season, which I call Early Morning School, Morning Time, Piano, and Mid-Morning Prayer Time.  These things work well for our family and provide a nice structure to the day.  That’s not to say that we can’t break from them if something comes up, but rather, they are there to guide us.

Early Morning School is that time before breakfast wherein the children will just pick on each other if there’s nothing to do.  So the night before, I lay out a math facts sheet and a handwriting sheet for my 2nd and 4th graders.  My 6th grader gets a math facts sheet and then works on her typing skills.  None of these things require my assistance, which is good, because I’m usually nursing a baby and drinking my coffee.

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Here’s the cursive handwriting book my 4th graders are using.  It’s got lovely photos.  It’s Seton.

Morning Time is that time during breakfast when I read the Mass readings aloud and then we recite our poetry.  I’ve said it before, but I like doing these two things at the breakfast table because the children are more likely to listen as food is in their mouths.  Right now we’re working on Paul Revere’s Ride.  We do it every summer, leading up to the 4th of July, when we’re feeling very patriotic.

Piano also never ends in the summer.  We keep right on with lessons.  The four older children must play through each of their songs at least 3 times after breakfast.  I tried once making them play for a certain amount of time, say twenty minutes a day, but found we were terrible at keeping track of time.  But for whatever reason, playing a song three times was easier to do.  (And I find that the ones who like playing piano will continue to play on.)

Mid-Morning Prayer Time happens sometime in the morning when I call everyone together, and we sing a hymn and offer a prayer for our intentions.

All of these things are further detailed in my Day in the Life Series, which you can find on my sidebar under “tags,” if you’re curious.

The only other thing that I’m consciously doing for school in the summer is grammar with my three boys.  We are using Classical Academic Press’s Well-Ordered Language series.  This takes about twenty minutes, then we’re done for the day.  I don’t have anything “scheduled” for the afternoons.  After all, one must have time to splash around in a kiddie pool and climb trees.

Any questions?  Just ask.

Homeschooling

Poetry with Hopkins & the Declaration of Independence

We’re done with “school.”  We’ve been done for awhile because we started the year extra early, like in July, because I wanted to be coasting when the baby came, which was in February.  (Click HERE for the post on her birth.  Whoa, what a story.)

But even though we’re finished with the big stuff – Math, Latin, Grammar, Writing – we’re not really done.  We never are.  I always liked to have something for the children to do otherwise they get bored.  And start fighting.

Poetry

Poetry is the one thing that never goes away.  We’re always memorizing something because it’s fun.  And it’s not hard, as we always do it at breakfast, and we all do the same piece.

Every spring we do Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He was an Anglican, but was received into the Catholic Church by none other than John Henry Newman in 1866.  Hopkins then became a Jesuit priest and spent the rest of his life teaching and writing poetry.  (He was a terrible teacher, by the way, but excellent at writing the most beautiful poetry.)

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Hopkins.  The Father of Sprung Rhythm.

We just finished up with Hopkins’ God’s Grandeur, Pied Beauty, and Spring.  If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor and read them.  In fact, print them off, go stand outside in the warm sunshine and recite Pied Beauty aloud to any birds who might be listening.

Declaration of Independence

Now, however, we’re gearing up for summer and the 4th of July, when we revisit our patriotic poetry.  We’ll do Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride and the Declaration of Independence.  (Not the whole Declaration of Independence, just the first paragraph and a half of the second.)

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This short compilation has all the U.S. founding documents and a few important speeches that I hope to get to someday, like the Gettysburg Address.

If anyone is interested, I’ll write more about the rest of our Summer School later.