We have two weeks left of (home) school and then our summer begins. It's not as much of a clear-cut break as one might imagine. Over the past few weeks, we've been dropping subjects. Not as in, "We don't want to do science anymore, so we quit," but as in, we've finished the book or run out of lessons. So our school days have gotten shorter, allowing for more time outside and free play all around.
Despite the tapering, we won't stop completely. Oh, I might allow for a week of no school as a celebration of a year completed, but we'll solider on with summer school. Our summer school is super light (maybe an hour a day) and doesn't get done every day. It's flexible, laid back and enjoyable but keeps the kids from losing everything they've learned from one year to the next.
Summer school also adds just a touch of structure which can go a long way for kids who are used to being at home and having a plan for the day.
Sam, who will be in 5th grade next year, will work through an Evan-Moor workbook (Daily Summer Activities, Moving from Fourth to Fifth Grade), keeping his math and language skills fresh. Sadie, who will be in 1st grade next year has a similar workbook that she'll begin once her math lessons are complete (we won't make it entirely through during our school year) and she'll continue with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (I LOVE this book- it's taught both Sam and Sadie to read).
Together, we'll read Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorers), the only Apologia elementary science topic that won't fit into Sam's science schedule. We're also going to read through Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) -- Biblical Worldview of God and Truth (What We Believe, Volume 1),
Apologia's first year in a series on worldview. I opted not to order the workbook for Sam, but did order the coloring book for Sadie (and will copy a few pages from it for Miriam).
I have my list of books to order for next fall and am making myself wait to order them until our school year is done. In case you're curious, I'll tell you...we will continue to use Sonlight as we can't imagine using anything else at this point. Sam will be studying the Eastern Hemisphere (Core F) and Sadie will be doing Introduction to World History Part I (Core B). We'll continue using Saxon Home School Math, First Language Lessons, Exploring Creation Series' year of Botany (Soon, they'll release their junior notebook, so Sadie will get her own notebook, too),
Sequential Spelling 2
(Sam) and Spelling Workout: Level A, Student Edition(Sadie), and A Reason For Handwriting: Cursive E (Based on Scripture Verse) (for Sam, "A" for Sadie)...and whatever else I'm forgetting.
We'll also do some read alouds with Heidi at the top of our list. I know how popular fantasy books are right now and many of the books below will seem heavy, but the real world is heavy. I want my kids equipped with stories of real life people who showed bravery and cleverness and were willing to stand up for what's right to be their source of inspiration when they head out on their own. Some of the books we've really enjoyed reading this spring are below. Maybe you'll want to add them to your summer reading.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, is a book I read aloud to Sam. Sadie listened in off and on, but this is a book for kids 3rd to 4th grade and up, in my opinion. It deals with racism in the south and doesn't hold back. There is some violence as well as disrespectful language. It's a book I would normally shy away from, but it did paint an excellent picture of sharecropper life and the fine line that blacks had (have) to walk in the south. Sam was mortified at the treatment of human beings portrayed in this book. And rightly so.
"History informs us of past mistakes from which we can learn without
repeating them. It also inspires us and gives confidence and hope bred
of victories already won." William H. Hastie, Speech given in Atlanta, GA (1971)
Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop was exceptional. "During the German occupation of France, twenty children were brought to a refuge in the mountains. One day a young man came to their school with a request: Could they take in, and hide, ten Jewish refugee children? Sister Gabriel spoke up. "The Nazis are looking for those children. If we take them we must never let on that they are here. Do you understand?" Of course the children understood- but how would they hide them if the Nazis came?" (taken from the back cover). While this sounds incredibly heavy, the book was actually delightful and almost whimsical, often making us chuckle. Toward the close, excitement ensues but all ends well. Another wonderful book giving us a glimpse into the past in a way we won't forget.
A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman is brief and a breeze to read. It's an enjoyable tale of a common peasant who uses his cleverness to outsmart the Emperor and win his heart's desire.
Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson is an excellent, simple story of the life of Helen Keller. It was amongst Sam's books, but Sadie (age 6) held on at every word. What a wonderful story of courage and determination by both Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan.
Hero Over Here: A Story of World War I by Kathleen V. Kudlinski, was another book that transported us back in time to a place fraught with tragedy mixed with hope and perseverance. "Theodore's father and brother are off fighting in the First World War. Theo is proud to be the man of the house- it's his chance to be a hero. But when his mother and sister become victims of the deadly flu epidemic of 1918, and he has to take care of them alone, he learns what being a hero is all about,"(from back cover). Sam and Sadie both enjoyed this book as well.
So, what are your reading and summer school plans (if any)?