Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our school year is coming to an end...

“Do you take breaks? Do you have summer vacation?” someone asked me, related to our homeschooling, the other day.

Well yes, we most certainly do. We take lots of breaks; when we need them, AND during holidays and the summer and whatever. We don’t take AS long breaks as the schools here, since I find that the boys lose quite a bit of momentum and knowledge if our breaks are too long, but I think our breaks are more frequent, and natural – less tied to some external event (like Ramadan) and more dependent upon effort and rhythm. I tried half-heartedly to explain our idea that education does not start and/or stop, but is a continuous process that doesn’t end just because it’s June. We have official “contact days” because we have to, but our school year is in no way limited to these. We do have periods of less intense instruction (between grades, naturally), but when your entire every-day set-up is so very different, the overall structure will be as well. A history lesson in our house doesn’t end when we close the book, but whatever the current topic is, it pops up in connections and comments everywhere. Not only do we relate anything and everything that surrounds us to our learning, but we correlate our family life– as much as we can, of course – with our children’s education. Our family vacation this summer is a great example of this: “incidentally” after having studied ancient times intensely this semester, we are going to Rome. “Coincidentally,” right after finishing up our studies of Pompeii, Ancient Rome, the Coliseum, etc. we are going out of our way, spending our entire summer budget, to visit these sites in Italy.

I’d like to just point out here – for the record - that we are far from infinitely wealthy. In fact, we don’t have money to travel the way we would like to. How are we able to visit Italy? What we do, is make a lot of sacrifices; mainly material. We don’t own anything; no car, no house, not even furniture, really. All our money these past years have gone towards, first, an education of ourselves , and then towards visiting family and/or seeing the world with our kids, along with a focus on their education. This year we sacrifice seeing our family – or at least sort of, since the money we’ve saved up wouldn’t be enough to go to the US anyways, or visit Sweden properly.

I guess what I’m saying is; yes, we take breaks, but not to be all officially school-like, but because it’s normal to have highs and lows. Also, our breaks are… different.

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