School is out soon, and two long hot, fun months of summer begin. I am off this summer - or rather working from home, which is really not quite the same, but will give me the flexibility to take to the kids to parks, the beach, daytrips, the cottage and camping.
And one of the things we do each year is summer school.
I can hear the groans now.
It isn't to be mean, or because the kids need remedial help. Not at all. But two months of summer, while relaxing and rejuvenating and laid back, is also two months away from all the writing and math and french and science, and frankly, when the kids do return to school in September, it always feels like it takes a month for them to get back into the swing of things. A little bit of work through the summer seems to ease that transition.
There is another reason. So much of what they do in school is done, well, in school. But teachers as we all know are spread thin with so many students, and summer is a chance for me to focus in on what the kids do well and help them in areas where they may struggle. The one-on-one experience also allows them to try new things, and to expand on the learning they are already doing.
For us, summer school is largely self-guided. I want to have them read books that interest them, and be able to write about them. I want them to research a topic that fascinates them, partly because research ability is crucial, but also to show them that it can be fun. I want them to get comfortable with thinking and discussing the kind of topics that you may never get a chance to do in school. And most of all, I want to show them that learning is active and hands on and exciting when you are able to engage with your subject.
So summer school. But no desks. The world will be our desk.