By Todd Wilson
We did it! We made it through another school year . . . or almost through the school year. That means I need to switch my normal homeschool advice to summer advice. You’d think that normal people wouldn’t need advice on enjoying the summer, but we all know that homeschoolers are not normal.
My observation has been that a homeschooling mom left to her own has the tendency to ruin summer break for her kids as well as herself. I guess she feels the pressure to make every experience a learning experience, help her children retain all that they’ve learned over the long year, finish up something they didn’t quite get through, or keep the edge on her students’ brains sharp. To do all of this . . . she could inadvertently ruin summer vacation.
I know that some of you have adopted the year-round school model and have spread out the school breaks (that you ruin), so don’t think you’re off the hook. My advice applies to you as well.
You might think I’m a little harsh, but you know you do it! You do things like make the kids keep nature journals, report on the bugs they find, give them reading lists, or have them do . . . just a few things to keep the info from falling out of their brains.
Man, I remember the good old days when the “teachers let the monkeys out” and for three glorious months we played, explored, and enjoyed every day. Never did we have to write a poem about an acorn, diagram a crawdad, or review Latin derivatives. And I turned out okay. So will your kids, if and only if, you give them a summer break. Besides you all need a break.
You need to do all those odd jobs you’ve wanted to get done, sit out in the sun and work on your skin-leathering tan, and forget all about lesson plans and homeschool schedules and just enjoy being a mom.
So here’s a to-do-list to help you focus on summer break:
1. Have a picnic on the next pretty day.
2. When your kids say they’re bored . . . let them be bored and figure out their own solution.
3. Let them make messes.
4. Refuse to open a school book or lesson plan . . . not even under the guise of planning.
5. Involve your kids in spring cleaning, painting a room, or some other work project (summer doesn’t mean they don’t work . . . just no school).
6. Go to the lake, beach, mountains, swamp . . . or whatever else is near you.
7. Stop the ice cream truck at least once during the summer.
8. Get a Slip ‘N Slide and watch them show off.
9. Invite a neighbor over and grill out.
10. Play kickball, softball, basketball, or volleyball as a family.
11. Spend the evening at a Putt-Putt golf course.
Hey Dad, can I talk to you alone? I don’t mean to be negative, but I think your wife will buckle under the homeschool pressure and will try to fit in learning. She can’t seem to help herself. It’s up to you to help her enjoy the summer and to keep her from ruining your children’s summer. If you have to put your foot down . . . then put your foot down. They’re counting on you.
Go have some fun!
Todd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom, and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at home- school conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mis- sion are to remind dads and moms of what’s most important through a weekly e-mail for dads, seminars, and books that encourage parents. Todd, and his wife Debbie, homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Family-man Mobile. You can visit Familyman Ministries at www.familymanweb.com
Copyright, 2014. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, July/August 2014. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.