The countdown is on! My "baby," Miss E, heads to kindergarten in just two short months. Just today she told me she wants to be a teacher like me, and I told her she'd have to be in school a very long time to be a teacher. She asked how long I went to school, and I quickly counted a whopping 17 years! 17 years straight. Whoa.
Because of the upcoming transition for Miss E and Baby E (who starts two mornings of preschool a week this fall), I intentionally planned for what we are calling our Slow Summer.
I was introduced to the idea by a girlfriend of mine who has two boys. My friend and her husband are both in education and enjoy having the summers off, but they found that their summers were anything but relaxing. They were rushing from ball field to ball field, lesson to lesson, practice to practice. Their summers flew by, and they started the new school year feeling stressed and exhausted, not rejuvenated and thankful.
To us, our Slow Summer means only one formal activity (my oldest chose tumbling/trampoline class---which is only one hour a week), slow mornings (no rushing about!), and lots of playdates (but never scheduled weeks in advance).
I'm also doing some homeschooling with the girls while the baby naps. We're focusing on math and reading/writing. We usually work about 45 minutes a day. Some of my favorite resources (many suggested by homeschooling moms) include:
Handwriting Without Tears workbooks
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Eeboo story cards
Alphabet and number puzzles
Math and letter cards
Transportation counters (good for patterns, color sorting, and just playing!)
Shape/color blocks similar to these
I also laminated numbers 1-20 and purchased wooden clothespins from the dollar store. I give the girls a number and they clip on the coordinating number of clothespins. I was also able to stock up on a few workbooks (for, yes, just $1) at the store.
One friend also said she focuses on reading gobs of books in the summer as well. We have our library reading logs (for prizes---yes, please!) that we're filling up with all the titles we've been reading. This month, we're learning about Juneteenth with the help of this new book by Angela Davis.
We're also reviewing some odd-and-end things like stranger danger/awareness and how to respond in various situations. And I'm trying to choose a few Bible verses for us to focus on and memorize together.
The idea of homeschooling my children was very initially quite overwhelming. After all, I am a college teacher and was educated and trained to educate kids over the age of eighteen. However, I was able to reflect on my nanny, babysitting, Sunday School teaching experiences, as well as being a writing camp teacher for 3rd-6th graders. I also am friends with several homeschooling moms and moms who teach public school. I made a list of what I wanted to teach and review with the girls, and I'm happy to report that we're a few weeks into the summer and all is going really well! They love spending time with me (and receiving one-on-one attention), and they are making great strides.
By choosing a slower pace, we are able to focus on what really matters, appreciate the beauty around us, and enjoy our home. We aren't rushing, and we aren't putting demands on ourselves that create stress and unhappiness.
I'm looking forward to splashing in the pool with the kids, eating homemade popsicles, listening to my daughter sound out new words, making music, dancing, baking, dawdling, entertaining friends and family in our home and simply giving my kids the opportunities to imagine, dream, play, and be themselves.
And meanwhile, I'll keep writing, reading, and planning. My first children's book is due out this summer!
Happy summer, readers!