I’ve talked plenty over the years about how we don’t have a typical day for our homeschool. The only thing predictable about our schedule is its unpredictability. 🙂 That said, I’ve also talked about how we homeschool through the seasons, making the most of what type of learning each part of the year is suited for.
There are so many reasons to homeschool by the season. It keeps things fresh and new for everybody (parents included). It allows you to seize opportunities. It encourages diversity in your homeschooling. And it incorporates rhythms into your homeschool, which are really comforting and satisfying for kids and adults alike.
Fall for us involves lots of work in the gardens and foraging, putting things up and processing. It teaches life skills with a heavy focus on nature study and economics. We’re outside as much as we’re inside, and we relish the beauty of the season.
Winter is a time for holidays and putting aside traditional schoolwork, then for diving into lots of books and projects once the holidays are over. It’s a time for snuggling up in blankets and watching fun educational shows, gathering for great read-alouds, doing lots of art and science, practicing handwriting and playing games as a family. It’s also a time for lots of baking and making use of all the goodies we put up in the fall, and getting snowed in and catching up on all the things we kept meaning to get to the rest of the year.
And then it goes with spring and summer, and so on, and every month is a little bit different. June will see the frenzy of pageant rehearsals for Daryl and the three younger kids, as they practice for the play every week night. July will see the magic of performances every weekend, with thousands of people coming to take part in that magic after dusk by the banks of Plum Creek. And on and on.
Yesterday was a typical Thursday in May for us, then. We spent a lot of the day puttering in the garden. Fiona helped me plant more potatoes and water the gardens. The boys did math on the homeschool computer and had Nerf battles outside. Alex read a Garfield book. Fiona drew lots of pictures. Daryl took some of the kids out to forage wild asparagus, and brought back over a pound (it’ll start popping like crazy in the next few days). He also went to Worthington to shop and run errands with Toria and Fiona. The younger kids watched some TV and the older kids spent some time on their computers.
It was warm enough that there was no excuse to say no when the kids asked if we could go to the lake in the late afternoon. All 7 of us climbed into the van and drove to Lake Talcot, about 15 minutes away.
The younger kids waded and splashed. Rhia took pictures and read a book. Toria chased a tadpole with the little ones, read, hiked and looked for fossils, arrowheads and shark teeth. She found a gorgeous piece of petrified wood that made her father jealous. Jack waded in the lake, careful not to get his cast wet on his broken arm, and then went on a hike with me. We talked about stinging nettles and adrenaline and lightning. I read a catalog of unusual bushes, trees and vines that produce edible fruits and nuts and watched the kids play. Alex ran, splashed, climbed and explored. Fiona collected rocks and caught a toad.
On the way home, we checked on lots of flowering trees and shrubs that we’ll be watching for their fruits to come. There are wild plums, gooseberries and more. We’ve learned how to find them and when to start checking them for fruits to beat the birds and other foragers (don’t worry, we leave plenty) while still allowing them enough time to ripen. At home, Daryl started a pot of rice and went to check on a few other asparagus patches to bring me home enough for dinner. I made a simple rice casserole for the kids who don’t like asparagus and mushrooms, and cooked up the wild asparagus with mushrooms, butter and garlic for the rest of us.
Friends stopped by later in the evening and we were all out in the dark street, laughing and greeting them. I fed them leftovers and we chatted while the kids played for an hour. Then some of the kids and I watched a couple of shows on Hulu (The Goldbergs with just about everybody, and then Blacklist for me and Toria).
Today, Rhia is off at garage sales with her boyfriend and Toria is at an art conference with Daryl. We’ve been gardening again and playing outside. We cut bouquets of lilacs that we brought into the house. I had Alex do a couple of worksheets of spelling/handwriting. The boys did math on the computer and Fiona drew me a darling picture.
The day is young and I don’t know what else we’ll do. I have to work in some math with Alex and go over the driver’s ed book with Toria. I’m hoping to have the kids watch an episode of Maths Mansion and maybe start on one of the Crash Courses for history or science. We’ll read lots of books. We’ll probably go walking. We’ll talk a lot. Daryl bought a spelling card game he wants to play with us when he gets back.
This is typical for us in May. Or this May, anyway. Sometimes we’re in Florida or Nebraska too. It’s always different, yet there is a familiarity in this. It’s the perfect “schedule” for us. 🙂