View From The Glen

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer School

I went easy on the kids this year and our annual Summer School was decidedly more slack than usual despite my best intentions. Still it gave me some insights into their respective strengths and weaknesses, as well as their approach to work (see pictures).

Anna is a very studious worker. Diligent and careful and really enjoys research, writing and collaboration

I also organized it differently. In addition to our usual "unschooling" (ie: letting them focus on whatever interested them as long as they incorporated reading and writing about it), I sent the kids emails and expected them to work on assignments together using Google Docs, thus encouraging them (ideally) to have input into each others' work and give them a chance to do some editing before submitting final essays to me.

Once Erik is in a routine, he just gets it done as efficiently (not always as professionally) as possible. But he also tends to procrastinate. If he leaves it long enough, maybe I will forget....

In some ways it worked really well - I am a firm believer that technology is the future of education - and I was happy that they seemed to have no difficulty accessing and creating files and working with a variety of on-line media. They also liked having the flexibility of working with their laptops or on the bigger computer.

Grace is half Anna (studious and keen) and half Erik (procrastinator). Oh, and she takes her cue for how to work from me. Except she doesn't have a daiquiri in her hand. LOL

In some ways it needed work. For example, I thought that by providing a weekly email with a list of assignments, links, and suggested extras, it would give them a chance to be independent. What I found was that this was a bit overwhelming for them and that it might have been better to send simpler daily emails. I also completely overestimated how much work we would get through in a week...that's my problem because I always think I can accomplish more than reality supports. I also envisioned getting my own editing done while they were doing their work, but they often needed more input from me than that, so it wasn't as easy as I hoped.

Okay, I don't have a daiquiri in hand either. It's an unjust universe.
Overall though, it went well. I aimed for 2 hours a day in the mornings (plus reading, which we do anyway-though I chose one of the books for each of them this year), but really, it was more like 1 hour a day. Other things (scout camp, visits to Grandad, weeks at the cottage, sailing) also interrupted the summer, and we certainly didn't push it, with some weeks decidedly more productive than others.

I do wonder if it's a good idea. They don't seem to mind - or at least have accepted the inevitability of it over the years - and I think they get something out of it. But sometimes I feel guilty of pushing them too much.

What do you think? Do you "home school" your kids in the summer? How far do you take it? And is it worth it? 


Bibliomama said...

We don't, but I think it's a great idea in theory. The fact that you got ANYTHING done per day is highly impressive to me. Eve was in intensive drama/music camp for three weeks and helped write the play for one camp, and she tends to read a lot anyway. Angus plays competitive baseball. And video games. He would very probably benefit from some of this summer-schooling. But oh, it would be painful. I don't know if I'm woman enough.

Denise Nielsen said...

Same here really - Erik is decidedly less enthusiastic than his sisters...not sure if it's because he's older or because he's a boy...sigh.

I'd love to get my girls into drama camp (they to are always writing plays) but where we live, we have to drive 20+ km to get anywhere and I seriously lack motivation to do that every day. Grace's 1 week sailing camp almost killed me:)

Leanne Haines said...

I always start out with great intentions, but once "summer life" takes over (ie. camps and summer vacation) we lose momentum and it's all over. Connor professes to hate every single moment of it, and do I really want him to hate summer? I do insist on reading time every day, but even that is a battle with him. Janelle isn't so bad, but she's a serious procrastinator, and has spent three weeks on vacation and three weeks in summer camps, so she really hasn't had a lot of time to spare. In theory, I love it, but I think, to make it work, I would have to have different kids!