Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Who Needs Manners

Who needs manners? Evidently, my children do!

A good friend showed me a book on manners she had recently purchased and I was very impressed. It is called Manners Made Easy by June Hines Moore. Why was I so excited about it? Hines has combined learning etiquette with fun object lessons, hands-on activities, and Bible study. Doesn't that sound awesome?

My kids didn't think so.


C'mon, kids! Who needs manners? "No one!" they chorused. Heavier sigh on my part. OK, time to pull out the big guns. "Kids, if you don't pay attention and at least TRY to learn from this manners study, you'll be taking the SAME study at co-op this fall." There! I told them!

OK, now that they're sitting up in their seats politely, we can try to learn some MANNERS. On to the cute object lesson about porcupines, which had them listening intently. I think they even got the point!

Later this week, we'll take the quiz (orally, not written) and do the Bible study. There are 6 lessons in this book, and I figure we can complete one each week for the next few weeks. By Labor Day, I should have four sweet well-mannered children. Right?


Oh well, at least I can try!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Are You Schooling Through the Summer?

Are you schooling through the summer?

That's a question that my friends are asking each other right about now. Some of them look horrified and vehemently state that they ended school back in May! Others are trying to play catchup for things that didn't get done through the school year. But some, like me, just keep doing the learning thing all year 'round.

This is the first year we've made a concerted effort to "do school" through the summer. We are quite relaxed homeschoolers anyway. When we need to take off a day (or a week), we just go right ahead. I don't feel pressure (at least not very often) to keep up with any one else's ideas of where my kids should be in their schoolwork.

But last summer I felt like we were not making the most of our days. Summer in Michigan is a hit-or-miss proposition, and last summer, we missed it. It was just plain COLD. We never made it to the beach at all. So we sat around a lot, pretending summer was just fine. This year I determined that, on days when we had nothing better to do, we'd just go right ahead and "do some school".

For us, this means mostly a math lesson and some time spent reading something that I choose. We are also working towards completion of the Great Science Adventures Space unit we worked on this year. I found a great book at the library called Child Survival Skills that consists of lessons on how to avoid unsafe situations and people. So part of our "summer school" is working through this great resource together. Other "school-ish" things will undoubtedly make their way into our days as we progress through the summer.

We will begin our NEW school year in September, after Labor Day. Unlike some of my friends in southern states, public schools in Michigan begin relatively late, so I am very comfortable keeping to our relaxed "summer school" schedule through the end of August. After Labor Day, my kids will progress to their new "grades", we'll unwrap our new school supplies (can't wait for those SALES!), and we'll get back to schooling in earnest.