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.