Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
I‘ve started to notice a pattern here. I’m always the one telling you to slow down and reminding you that it’s okay not to do all. the. things.
See? It seems to be a recurring theme – one that either makes me the voice of reason in a go-go-go society or just a slacker.
Let’s go with voice of reason. I like that better.
I’m getting ready to do it again. Because especially in summer, we need to give ourselves permission to just be.
We need to take a lesson from farmers, who know that to restore fertility to soil, sometimes you need to let the ground lie fallow.
Photo by Pixabay
What does letting the ground lie fallow look like for a homeschooling family this summer?
Instead of working to shore up your child’s weak area, let it go.
Don’t drill the math facts. Don’t hire a reading tutor. Don’t go over the spelling concepts.
Chances are, your child is just as aware as you are of what his weak area is. Maybe it’s stressing him, too. Maybe he needs some time for all you covered this year to percolate in his mind.
Perhaps he needs to become developmentally ready to tackle that difficult concept. Perhaps he needs a little bit of time away from the subject to avoid developing negative feelings that will be hard to overcome.
I’m not saying to ignore the problem area indefinitely, and some kids certainly do benefit from focusing on a problem area over the summer.
However, if you’re sensing that you and your child would benefit from taking a break from it this summer, listen to your instinct.
Let them indulge in too much media.
I know, I know. Some families don’t do much screen time at all. If that’s your family, just ignore me.
For my teenage son, staying up late with his friends playing X-box Live is one of the best parts of summer. (And his friends agree.) I don’t mind because I know they’ll be back to their normal schedules before too long.
I also know that he is getting close to adulthood when the responsibilities of work and family will make that sort of indulgence a fond memory. I’m okay with letting him enjoy it for another summer or two.
My girl and her BFF like watching TV or Netflix together via Skype. I can only imagine how much fun my best friend and I would have had doing that. So during the summer months, I let it slide.
Let learning happen naturally and spontaneously.
Put the fun summer unit studies aside. Take a trip to the children’s museum or the science museum with no particular agenda in mind other than enjoying the day with your kids.
Visit that nifty nature preserve or historical site while you’re on vacation, but go as their mom, not their teacher.
Go outside and look at the stars. If they’re interested in identifying the constellations, go for it. If not, that’s okay.
Let them send Grandma or their pen-pal a letter without correcting their spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Just be glad they picked up a pencil voluntarily.
There is nothing wrong with having a plan for summer learning. There is nothing wrong with doing a fun summer unit study, keeping the math skills fresh, or having a summer reading plan.
Photo by Pixabay
But don’t do those things because you’re negatively comparing yourself to someone else. If you know in your heart and mind that you and yours could all use a break this summer, take one and don’t feel guilty about it.
Sometimes the ground needs to lie fallow for a season. And when the soil is replenished, it goes on to produce a bountiful harvest.
Do you have summer learning planned or is this a year for letting the ground lie fallow?