We have officially started our homeschool summer. No more assignments. No more schedules. No more educational obligations. It’s wonderful and relaxing, and we are having so much fun!
When chores are finished the kids drag out my old violin lesson music and open the organ to pick out the little simple songs on the keyboard. Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, and Frere Jacques ring from the walls in various key mixtures as they practice reading a staff and figure out which notes match which keys. But it isn’t a school day.
Legos and paper cover the floors in several rooms as parades of weapons, fantastic creatures, and marvels of engineering pass my workspace. The geometry of biology and architecture shape paper and form moving lego joints through the process of experiment and failure. Scenes and characters from books and history come alive in inspired creations from the tools of childhood. But it isn’t a school day.
My six year old clamors, “Read this book to me,” and I propose she help me read it instead. She sounds out every word on the first page, four whole lines full of syllables and digraphs and challenges. We high five at each hard word conquered, then I read the rest of the story about a hard working garden spider. One page has a picture of a moth, and she wants to know how moths eat, so we look it up. Two YouTube videos and twenty minutes later, we know not only how but what they eat, and can identify a full dozen different species of moths. But it isn’t a school day.
We record a regular podcast reading famous stories aloud, stories that exist in the public domain but are no longer favorites for entertainment. Today we neared the climax in a gripping tale of aliens, suspense, and danger, a story written in a time and culture long forgotten. They laughed, exclaimed, squealed, and held their breath, completely absorbed in a world they have never experienced. But it isn’t a school day.
The tantalizing smell of sausage and eggs wafts from the kitchen, where my daughter works blissfully alone. Eggs, milk, and cinnamon have been whisked to perfection for soaking soft bread to be browned. Meat had to be thawed and shaped, and the the pan kept to the perfect temperature for even cooking. Ingredients had to be measured and counted to ensure enough food for seven hungry stomachs. A platter fills with golden-brown slices of French toast beside perfect gray circles of sausage. But it isn’t a school day.
My seven year old is exploring the yard. A storm is blowing in, so he watches the cloud movements and waits for the first drops to fall. He scours the treeline for mushrooms and edible wild greens, bringing me handfuls that Daddy will need to identify when he gets home just in case he got it wrong. He picks a handful of bright flowers to put in water, delighted when I tell him their name and musing about what they remind him of. But it isn’t a school day.
Tonight as they drift to sleep we will read a chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring. The poetry of joyful hearts will create music to soothe them to sleep. Pictures of courage, love, and goodness will form the framework of their dreams. The simplicity of the triumph of good over evil will shape their souls to seek good things. But it isn’t a school day.
Tomorrow we will still be on summer break. We will have no assignments, schedules, or obligations. I wonder what we will learn; it’s sure to be exciting.