We have loved this school year. I've shared several times about our work and plans this year and now it comes to a temporary close! Lyddie and I enjoyed Ambleside Online Year 1 and I will get to do it all over again with Millie next year. We skipped a few books (i.e., the D'Aulaire's Buffalo Bill and Pocahontas, anyone else skip those?) because I wasn't satisfied with the portrayal of Native America and the history included in those specific books, but will substitute with anything I can find that I like better; I'm still trying to find time to pre-read Bulla's version of Pocahontas before deciding whether to give it to Lyddie to read herself. However, my kids will naturally have a lot of opportunity to learn Native American history and culture so I'm not terribly concerned at the moment.
We read a lot of beautiful picture books in our morning times (lots of AA Milne and Beatrix Potter and Robert McCloskey and Virginia Lee Burton!); we read Life of Fred: Apples, did lots of nature sketching, some classical music study and learned several folk songs. We completed Level A of RightStart math and whole year of Spell to Write and Read; Lyddie and Millie both learned cursive and got through SWR levels A through I. I was so proud of all their hard work and pleased to see such tremendous improvement in their spelling skills. We enjoyed several Chalk pastel tutorials which were always a highlight of the day each time we did them.
Lyddie and I read many fairy tales, several beautiful retellings of Shakespeare plays, learned the geography of the American Midwest using Holling's Paddle to the Sea, became acquainted with several birds through the Burgess Bird Book, learned about ancient British and Scandinavian and church history using the books Our Island Story and Viking Tales and Trial and Triumph. She learned to cross-stitch and continued with her knitting. It's been a lovely year even with all the bumps and chaos and changes. Millie and Rosie spent a lot of time running and playing outside in the ice, in the wind, in the sunshine, helping plant the garden, water the plants, caring for our animals, and coming up with creative things to do with paper and scissors and glue. Millie learned how to cross-stitch and loved learning to use a knitting doll and her nature sketchbook is beautiful; she has a natural talent for drawing.
Now we put aside the formal work of the school year to begin a different season. Our summers are not slow but they will be a different kind of work and that is it's own kind of a break as well. I have a few plans and hopes for the summer with the girls.
We will continue with our morning time routine reading Bible stories, memorizing Scripture, and learning a hymn. To go with that, I downloaded Pam Barnhill's summer adventure morning time plans at EdSnapshots (that go along with the summer reading program she puts together and that we are using) and I think they will just be fun things to do together. Check them out! Instead of doing them over three weeks, I plan to lazily stretch them over six weeks. I wanted to continue with some fun stuff first thing in the morning to keep the habit, but I did not relish the thought of doing any planning while I'm also working on planning for next school year in my free time. Pam's plans were the perfect idea and worth $5. Although I did have to request our library to buy or do interlibrary loan for a majority of the books since I need to save my school budget for next year's materials; the recommended books are not obscure but because our library system is small and apparently full of [dumb] book choices, I just can't find them easily. (I guess I'm helping them round out their collection with better books, right?). Besides the morning time plans, I really want our downtime hours to be very restful and playful. I loved seeing my girls pull out their china tea sets today for a "formal" picnic of crackers and cheese on the porch today and then sprawl out on blankets with books in the afternoon. On the hot days I plan to take them swimming; I thought it highly possible Rosie would take all summer to learn to swim, but in just 4-5 times at our friends' pool she's becoming a little fish and gaining confidence to swim across the the width of the pool even. Water safety is important to us, but since that's going so well, I am glad I didn't invest a lot more into swimming lessons this summer and decided to try to teach them myself as needed.
In reality I haven't done anything about this summer beyond print the morning time plans and try to order some of the books from the library and I think that's about the level of thought and energy I will have to put into any of that kind of structure at home this summer. Most of my energy this week (besides participating in Sacred Road's summer kids ministry each afternoon) has gone to putting the house back in order - finishing up the school year strong meant letting go of so much around here and I was getting tired of never being able to find anything and the laundry and the crumbs and the clutter and still a few boxes... soon I will start working on some prep for next school year, but that's for another post.
Happy summer, friends. I hope the weather where you are is glorious as it has been here.