For us, homeschool is a way of life not just an academic avenue. When we finished off our scholastic year 2012-2013 in May we did so on a high. The kids did very well on their standardized tests and reflected the glory of God in their excellent piano recital performances. By the end of May, we really needed a break from the routine and we gave that to our selves. So, is that how we spend our whole summer…in recovery…trying to simply mentally & emotionally prepare for the next long haul?
No, not at all. We not only have a homeschool, we have a mini farm and we have a home, and each of those endeavors deserve quality time. The official “homeschooling” is done but learning experiences abound in the natural world and discipline (the foundation stone for all true learning) is part of a well ordered life. Right now, we are focusing in on the farm aspects of our lives. We all (except the two little ones who sleep in until breakfast time) get up early and get out in the cool of the morning, when the birds are singing their gladdest songs, and work for an hour or so in the garden. We weed and redesign flower beds, we pick fruit and berries, zucchini, zucchini and more zucchini…and what ever else has been growing in its season. The spring started us off with an abundance of asparagus and then we transitioned into snow peas (delicious when fried up with olive oil, nuts and a few other vegetables). Now we have lettuce, snow peas and ZUCCHINI and lots of berries (raspberries & some blackberries) for dessert. We were also able to enjoy a healthy crop of strawberries and made some strawberry jam and a neighbor asked us to pick her cherry tree, as she couldn’t do that any more, so we came home with buckets full of cherries for pies and cherry jam.
The girls are learning a whole lot about their “ancestral arts” meaning they can now can and freeze up enough fruits and vegetables to keep us in healthy side dishes, jams, cookies and specialty breads for the whole year. The boys have been managing the chickens and the bees. We will be doing the processing tomorrow, (that is why I am blogging today) and we will have enough naturally home-grown chickens (despite the dogs momentary insanity – see akfrailey face-book for details) frozen and packed nicely away for the rest of the year. My second son has also been learning how to raise and manage the bee hives for my husband who can no longer take care of them. They have been taking off the supers and getting out the honey which I will soon be putting in nice hot clean jars. Another source of bounty to last us through the year. The girls use the honey in cooking…especially for homemade granola (best breakfast cereal ever created) and for home made bread (best bread ever invented - much better than the white fluffy stuff).
So, you see, we are still learning, though not from books so much, as learning from life, from the earth, from family and friends who remember the old ways. We are learning our culture and our history, we are learning about things that matter to us. We are learning to take care and to give care. We are learning to work together and keep our tempers when things snap and dogs lose their sense and chickens lose their heads…we are learning…and becoming better people for it.