The days are getting shorter

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I've gone back and forth the past year about whether or not to create a "strictly-learning" space. When school started last year I transformed the third-floor playroom into a giant classroom, but it was too distracting for Liam to do his lessons there, I missed the French press in the kitchen on the first floor; plus I was too neurotic about paints and glue on the brand new Berber carpeting. A couple of months later and we somehow scooted all the way down the stairs to the first floor again, books, chalkboard and all, and took over the dining room. The playroom became a playroom once again. I was within steps of my French press. The boys could paint without me hovering over them. Liam was at the kitchen table instead of his small desk, where it was easier for Ewan to bother him and fiddle with his homework.

So every afternoon we hold court in the dining room and pretty much learn all over the house. We eat a simple breakfast and Liam practices his handwriting while I check email. We then power through phonics, spelling, history, math, and science. He does his reading and seatwork under how own will at points throughout the day. I don't nag him, except to remind him that his independent work is his responsibility and in order to get the mark it must be completed correctly by morning. I set his desk for him to work at in a far corner of our dining room where it's quiet and out of Ewan's sight.

All of his extra classes begin again in one week; Spanish, art, and gym. It's been a non-eventful summer for him - stressful and heinous for Chris and me - but the boys haven't noticed anything but summer afternoons full of games, tents outside, days in the sprinkler and nights catching fireflies. Summer is the only season that I can't stand to end. I always enter fall with what ifs and should haves. I don't linger on regrets though; I use them as motivation. Next summer maybe we'll get to take that ever elusive family vacation. We've never had one.

You know that summer you had as a kid, the summer where you took some big trip with your family or did something together that you will all talk and laugh about while sitting around the holiday table? Every kid has one. I feel as though I have to make every summer like that while I still have my chance. 

50 Comments

I'm the dork who can't wait to rent the RV...

My family never did vacations, sadly. Never enough money! One summer we fixed up an old RV and tried to take a trip down the east coast... but the RV broke down before we hit the middle of town.

*sigh*

We still say that we'll all make it to Disney World, though. And we will. It just might not be until we're 50!

Yeah. Well, you are right. The days pass at a snails pass while life passes like the bullet train. Go figure. My best and most precious memories with my kids are of the fall and winter seasons. Pumpkins and leaves. We like to snow ski and those trips come to mind.

Ya know, you steer life ... or it steers you. Choose well. :)

summers pass too quickly, don't they? i will never forget piling in the station wagon in the middle of the night will pillows and suitcases and a cooler full of water and fruit and starting on our annual journey. the road trip was as fun as the destination because of all the fascinating stops. truck stops for breakfast, parks for picnic lunches...

i hope you're able to make those memories too. they're priceless.

We did go to Disney World when my kids were little and Daytona Beach and another year we swam with the dolphins at Discovery Cove, but road trips have made many memories for us. I homeschooled my kids and just one morning (we were learning American history) I said pack your bags we are going on a road trip. We drove all the way to Virginia, which is so rich with history, and then we made our way to D.C. The memories we have of that trip are unforgetable. Now we really can't afford extended trips because the kids are in private school and it sucks the $$$$ right up, but we have done a lot of weekend trips this year which were so much fun. We floated the Meramac and camped out and we went to Grafton and took a ferry to an island and we swam all day. Even just day trips to the Farmer's Market followed by time at the riverfront and an evening at the loop after dinner at the Melting Pot has proven to make great family memories. I'm just saying we have a lot in our own backyard!!!

mmmm .... yeah. suddenly it's all homework and classes again. I don't like to see summer passing either.

Hey, that study area looks just like my space at work! Miniature desk and all...which is a little odd, now that I think about it. Maybe that explains the backache.

When I was a kid, my dad took his entire 2 week vacation in one block a couple of times.

Here are my memorable trips:

Washington D.C. area(I'd love to take my kids there)
Florida/Disney/New Orleans
Western Trip including Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone.

I've been stressed we haven't been able to do a big "our family only" trip, though we've been fortunate enough to make it on a few with a bunch of people - where someone else paid for everything except air-fare!

I'd like to do a driving trip to DC/Williamsburg/Mt. Vernon/Monticello the most.

Nice post! You should try for a beach for Christmas. After all, one of the best things about homeschooling & being largely self-employed is that you can take a vacation any time of the year.

You know, we never took big "family trips." My parents had 6 kids, my dad worked 3 jobs so my mom could stay home with us.

My childhood memories are of my mom filling up the old-school galvanized metal pool with the hose and adding dish soap so we could swim in bubbles, or building a campfire in the back yard (you could do that back then) then sleeping in my grandparents pop-up. My mom would be hanging laundry out to dry, and would always pull down a sheet and build us a tent off the end of the clothesline. (I hope I'm not showing my age there...) I guess trips to Disney or things of similar nature could have been fun - but I love my memories - and thank my mother for them now.

This is our family theory--it's not what we can give to our kids it's about giving them experiences. Now we've traveled lots of places with our kids, even had a few luxury vacations on our beer budget. But, the vacations that mean the most not only to us but to our three daughters are the ones we have spent in our pop-up camper, hiking the mountains, taking sponge baths b/c the National Parks don't offer hot showers, eating grilled hot dogs and Denty Moore stew from a can, laughing at nothing. Becasue nothing says my parents love me and want to spend time with me more than Jiffy Pop eaten under the moonlight.

love the desk.
cute area.
vacations are nice. I regret not taking more vacations before i had kids and having more couple time. we didn't have much money.
but Alaska and Hawaii are nice.
I think many people don't have money for vacations and they shouldn't feel bad.
roadtrips are great. esp. for kids. even if it's a weekend one. but once in a few years when kids are young (like 10 or so) definitely take them someplace memorable. it changes their outlook on life, i think they are happier people with a vision in life....that's my take on how my trips my parents took around turkey, middle east etc when we lived in that region, how it affected me in my life. i'm still grateful to them, not much money, one station wagon, five kids, to take on that adventure.
(oh and my alaska trip i took as couple, the hawaii trip was paid for through a journalism organization.)

My parents own their business in a tourist area so we never got that magical family vacation either. We recently took our kids on a road trip to Alabama. It wasn't one of those rambling road trips (which I dream of having one day) but it was pretty cool. There are so many great places in the US I've never seen and I really look forward to discovering them with my kids.

I also look forward to hearing more about your homeschooling as my daughter is almost 4 and we're getting more and more into it ourselves. I'm plotting to quit my job and teach my kids.

Oh good for you to home school. That isn't easy but it is the most enriching education to give your child. How can I say that?

I have been in education for over 16 years. I am a certified teacher in an elementary school and a college instructor. If I had a child at home today, I would home school and also hit the road while bringing the lessons to life. You are spared the politics of education.

When the first shuttle exploded, I took my daughter to see where the memorial service had been held at NASA. I also told her, one day she would read about it and this was history in the making. At that time, she was 10 years old and yes, she remembers it. Not because I showed her the chairs with the labels Senator Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, President Reagan,Etc.. No, she remembers it because she was so mad at me for her skipping some of her gymnastic lessons and that anger cemented every little detail of that day.

I believe you don't need to have your child angry to learn.The students who excel in my college classes and are better problem solvers are all home schooled.

Bravo to every mom and dad "TEACHER."

Kind of looks like our homeschooling area except yours is neater.
Our Summer vacations have turned to Fall vacations where our entire family gets together for a few weeks at the beach.

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