Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Learning

There is so much going on in our daily lives that I haven't found much time to write it all down.  No, we haven't been doing that much, but we're definitely giving our time to things that have required a good amount of it.

Last month we enjoyed another family camping trip in NC.  We camped during a festival and so were able to meet new friends as well as spend time in nature together.

We've been involved locally--in our community and neighborhood--in joining the community garden (just down our street) and helping to grow and support our neighborhood farmers' market (just opening this season!!).  Fresh, local food right in walking distance of our home! YAY!

Of course we've spent many hours in the library reading and sharing books.  Although we aren't leading/participating in the 100 Books a Month Challenge*, that I started a few years ago now, we're still reading lots of books.  We now have an additional two readers in the family so Mommy & Daddy don't have to do all the reading anymore!  The books we're unable to get to, we're listening to on tape/CD, as we regularly do.

I've been doing a lot of planning for this coming school year.  Although we never stop learning, I've found it easier (for planning and for me, specifically) to 'start' with the traditional school year.  There are definitely pros and cons to this, but I guess habit wins in this area, and, I'm ok with that! (smile)  I'll share more about this in another post.

The girls and I have been doing some basic reading and math lessons, just to stay up on what we've been doing.  Pretty girl is learning some new things in math.  She also came to me earlier this summer and requested to be moved into another level in reading come Fall.  I have to admit that I'm one for finishing things but upon her question of 'why' I began to rethink my position on this.  So, we made a plan, back in May, on what she'd do during the summer in that area and upon completion of our plan, she will start on another level in reading. (Win-win)  Sweetie-pie has been very eager to read and is coming along nicely.  She definitely learns differently than Pretty girl.  I'm happy to say that a lot of the resources I've kept over the year since teaching are now coming in handy!!

The boy child is growing and continues to amaze me with just what he's able to do--all on his own!!  He's taken to making paper airplanes.  I found a great book at the thrift store last month--a huge book of tons of different ways to fold/make paper airplanes.  In looking through it myself, I realized that it was a bit challenging, even for me, to figure out and follow the directions (pictures are even included).  When we were unsuccessful in making a couple, I suggested that we wait until Daddy came home and ask him to help.  Daddy did help and later shared with me that this book might be a bit too much for the boy at this level, him being only 5 years old.  I agreed and put the book up on the shelf.  We then showed him a couple ways to make some easier plans and left it at that.  Well, the other day I saw him pondering over that book again.  Then he started folding and turning the paper.  I went back to what I was doing.  All of a sudden there was a plane that whipped past me.  I picked it up and in handing it back realized that this wasn't one of the patterns I'd showed him.  After asking him several times if in fact he had made it--him saying, "Yes, Mommy, I made it!"--I had him make another one just to prove it.  And. he. did.  Yes. I think he's amazing!! (big smile)

We are in the process of growing through our clothes and making plans for bigger/larger sized for fall.  Each of the children has gotten taller, but especially the boy.  I've decided that between the thrift stores and sewing, we'll update everyone's wardrobe.  I've watched the sales on patterns and was able to scoop up several good ones through a recent sale at Joann's.  I'm heading up to my mother's house to spend a week sewing with her (many hands make light work!) and will get the pieces that we don't make from her local thrift stores (she has a lot of nice ones in her area).

Then there's meal planning.  Yes, I've wanted to do it on a greater scale for a while.  I've been reading a couple blogs and finding recipes on Pinterest (such an addictive site) to add to my repertoire.  I have a few friends who are also interested in doing such.  We've tossed around the idea of cooking together in mass (There used to be local shops that did this. Many of them are now closed.) but no one seems serious.  No matter, I definitely want to put things place to make meals easier and less time consuming.  I also want to engage the children regularly.

This summer we have spent a lot of time learning how to clean and do jobs around the house.  Granted, this is nothing new to us/the children, but as they continue to grow, their list of responsibilities around the house does too.  I wanted them to know how to thoroughly do each of the jobs and thus we've spent a good amount of time learning and practicing!!  It has definitely been worth the effort and given me some time to think, read and relax!  We have decided to begin an allowance system in September and although these chores will not be paid for, directly, they will be part of the responsibilities required to get an allowance.  There will be extra jobs that will come with direct pay, and we've spent time learning a few of those as well.

And of course, we've been engaged in regular good ole outdoor play!  It's the time of year when it's hot and sunny then rains every afternoon for about an hour.  The kids have enjoyed being in both types of weather.  When there isn't thunder & lightening, we've enjoyed the refreshing rain. We've spent a good amount of time on our porch.

So, I think I've recapped what's been happening for us.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something interesting for everyday comes with it's own adventure.

How have you been?  What things are you getting into this summer with your family?  What plans are you making for the Fall?

*If you're interested in joining in on the reading fun, here's a link to Our Pace where you'll find others still keeping track of all their books. :)  Enjoy!

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