I blinked, it seems, and here we are winding down August. This summer has been an unusual one for our family in many ways. Some unexpected circumstances this Spring meant drastic changes to our budget, and kept us close to home and looking for free/cheap activities to enjoy during the Summer. But it was good. Better than good, really. No matter how much you spend and what far away and exotic destinations you travel to (not that we were planning anything too fancy before), there is just no beating a lazy summer evening at home with the ones you love; puttering around the garden, kids running through the sprinklers, catching fireflies, gathering around the firepit as the sun fades to roast marshmallows and hot dogs…
I finally got around to editing and uploading a summer’s worth of photos, and since I’m usually much better with pictures than words, I give you:
“Our Summer in Snapshots”
As if Summer were attempting some sort of last hurrah, the temperatures have soared into the upper nineties this past week. Until then, we had actually been experiencing one of the coolest, most pleasant summers I can recall since moving to Arkansas. Downright Springish, complete with a few light sweater mornings in July and early August. (Unheard of and quite welcome since the AC in my 13 year old, 170k mile Subaru has been out all summer, and a new compressor was not in the pared-down budget!)
Despite the smothering heat, I can feel that we are on the cusp of fall. Apples are beginning to ripen and pop up at roadside stands and farmer’s markets. A few of the early trees are beginning to turn, and those long, light-filled summer evenings are gradually becoming shorter even as I cling to every last ray of golden sunlight. But the most exciting sign of the season by far? We are in the midst of all things “back-to-school” with a brand new homeschool kindergartener! (And “playschooler,” as I have dubbed Zeke so as not to leave him out! We’re intentionally delaying a formal preschool program, focusing instead on, well, allowing him to be a kid. But obviously he will be exposed to many more school-like activities than Miles was at his age, simply due to the fact that he’s the younger brother, and that’s okay:)
We’re a couple weeks in now, and all I can say is this: homeschooling is exciting, rewarding, occaisionally overwhelming, downright hard at times, completely natural and easy at others, gratifying, fun, rigorous yet flexible and laid back, personalized, spontaneous, surprising, and more… and it’s only been a few weeks! We’ve spent time learning at home, at the library, at extracurricular classes, the park, the store, the zoo, the woods, the lake, with friends, and individually…We’ve dropped everything we thought we were doing in a day to follow a spark of interest in, say volcanos or luna moths, or to go on a spontaneous butterfly hunting expedition… You get the idea!
There are a myraid of reasons we ultimately decided to homeschool, many of them deeply personal, and I’m not here to extoll the virtues of any one type of education system over another, or even go into details about the specifics of why we chose this path. This is what works for our kids, our family, at this point in our lives. It’s not for everyone. But it is exactly what we need right now, and after the many hours and sleepless nights I have poured into researching, planning, praying and preparing, I am confident that it will be academically, socially, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually beneficial for my children and our entire family. (In other words, I have thought this through thoroughly, and I am not interested in unsolicited, nonconstructive criticism or advice. Thanks!:) We are all excited to be on this journey and to see what the future holds.
Wishing you all a wonderful last few weeks of summer—get out there and soak it up! And whatever your back-to-school season looks like, whether it’s public or private or home school, college or vocational, any combination or none of the above… happy learning to you!