Summer vacation has not been as much of a break as one would think.
Oh, we’ve set the actual schoolbooks aside and are taking a break from mathematical concepts and sentence diagramming, but the learning continues.
We’ve had more physical education in the last month than we’ve had in a year! The kids have taken an interest in tennis, so we’ve spent a bit of time at our tennis courts, trying to get a volley or two together hitting the balls over the net. That’s actually been pretty fun.
We’ve also tackled swimming lessons. We’re so excited to have a nice pool here that we can do that at. The lessons are broken up into two week sessions, and we did the very first one of the year- lessons are every day during the week. After the first session, Abigail was promoted to level 2, while Zander was kept in his level to hone his skills further. So we signed up for another session. Abigail has improved amazingly- she went from sorta knowing how to swim, to yesterday, she jumped off the diving board into the deep end of the pool. I’m so excited, because both kids are really grasping swimming well. We’re going to sign up for one more session when this one is over. I suspect Abigail may move up to level 3 yet this summer, but Zander may well be in level 1 again. That’s okay- but then again, he may surprise me by really digging in and perfecting that front crawl.
In addition to tennis and swimming, dance has been back in full force. Zander has decided to try dance and is having a blast so far. Abigail is up to four classes now, with the addition of tumbling to her regular dance like-up. Her goal is to reach the splits and her back walk-over this summer. We’ll see…
We’ve also been learning a lot of earth science this summer. The kids each planted their own gardens and have been watching firsthand as the seeds sprout and grow into mature vegetables. We’ve also been watching the animals in our yard very closely- we love seeing the birds with their mates- both the cardinals and the mourning doves come and go as a couple. We have three kinds of squirrels and of course rabbits that come and go. We all love just sitting outside listening to the cacophony of sounds they make from day to day- it’s just like camping, without having to go camping.
Reading has also exploded. Both kids signed up for the summer reading program at the library, and are having a great time meeting their goals. Abigail’s selections to read have been getting harder and harder as time goes on, and they both really enjoy those times where they are both curled up on furniture- absorbed in a great book. They’ve been getting some really cool prizes for their efforts, and while I normally don’t encourage rewarding their reading- for the summer it adds a little something and helps them broaden their reading selections as well. In addition to measuring the time read, they also have extra challenges to meet- like reading a book about the sea, reading a non-fiction book, reading a graphic novel, listening to an audio book and reading a magazine.
We’ve also been reading aloud every day as well. What a difference a year makes! It was last year at this time that we pulled out a chapter book to read aloud together, and they both were disappointed with it. This year- well, I can’t read fast enough. We started with Little House In The Big Woods, and I had intended to read that one in the series, and maybe the second one- and then they could read further if they wanted. Well we read the Big Woods in just two weeks, and then picked up Little House On The Prairie and read that one in just over two weeks- sometimes reading four chapters a day! Well, we got to the end of that one the other day, and Abigail was just beside herself that the Ingalls family was moving yet again and leaving all their hard work behind. So both kids begged me to move on in the series. We skipped Farmer Boy, since that’s about Almanzo (and may come back to that), and have moved right into On The Banks Of Plum Creek. Both kids are just LOVING the series, and for me it’s a trip down memory lane- I read these books so often growing up, it’s been really fun reading them with my kids- who are hearing them for the first time. Although I really had hoped to make a dent in the Narnia series this summer… We’ll see how far we take the Little House books. As long as they are literally begging me to keep going- how could I not?
Anyway, just wanted to share a bit of our summer. I hope everyone is enjoying summer as much as we are!