Some moms can’t rest. They are always busy and feel uncomfortable, maybe even guilty, sitting still. If you are that kind of mom, you may see summer break as a chance to cram in the school work or extracurricular projects that you didn’t complete during the school year.
Reconsider your desire.
I want to make a case for “lazy summer days” with no academic tie ins. Take a lesson from the unschoolers or delight directed learners this summer and let your child choose his activities even if they appear “unprofitable.”
Hours of outdoor play, a week at camp, and time spent with grandparents or cousins go a long way to mature a child. Sometimes after a long break, a child is developmentally ready for something that was a struggle before.
Our brains are mysteries. Sometimes things just click, most often when we are not focused on the “thing.”
Think of your lost sunglasses. You rack your brain, trying to remember where you placed them. You ransack the house in search. Nothing. But when your mind moves to another task, you suddenly realize exactly where the sunglasses are sitting.
Photo by left hand
Academic concepts can be the same way. Your child is listening to the explanation but just not grasping it. But later, something clicks, and the concept is mastered. The brain often needs a time of academic inactivity in order for that click to occur.
I’m not espousing mind numbing play such as television, video games, and hours of YouTube videos. I’m talking about summer fun that is mind enriching– catching fireflies, stargazing, swimming, crafting, slumber parties, and making s’mores. With these activities, the mind is still very much engaged but with non-academic pursuits.
Educational researchers have discovered something called the spacing effect. Retention is actually increased when learning is interrupted with breaks. It might be counter-intuitive, but it is proven that students who continually studied a topic did not retain as much information as students who studied in shorter segments punctuated with regular breaks.
Surely your goal is for your child to retain what he learns. In that case, you need to take regular breaks from academics. Summer sounds like the perfect time to do that.
Why spend the summer agonizing over the multiplication facts that are still not mastered? Decide to take a four week break from multiplication and revisit it later. Just like those dirty dishes, the math facts will still be there. And very possibly, that mental click or maturation will occur to make learning all the easier.
Now enjoy your summer break, totally guilt free.
You are providing your child space to percolate on what you’ve taught all year. This break is also part of your homeschooling curriculum.
Do you wrestle with taking time “off” without feeling guilty?