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by debbie harbeson

When I was a kid, I looked forward to summer. Summer meant colorful flowers, warm weather and swimming. But most of all, summer meant no school. I was more relaxed. I felt less pressure. I felt free.

When I first began homeschooling, I looked forward to summer. Summer meant colorful flowers, warm weather and swimming. But most of all, summer meant no school. I was more relaxed. I felt less pressure. I felt free.

Then gradually, I realized I didn't feel the same way about summer. I wasn't more relaxed. I didn't feel less pressure. I didn't feel a change in my sense of freedom. Our homeschool had become relaxed the entire year.

As I watched my kids and read books about education and learning, my sense of what a homeschool should be changed. I saw that during the summer months, my kids did not stop learning and exploring. As a matter of fact, they seemed to learn better when I relaxed and got out of the way. I didn't think about whether it was "school" time or summertime. I held on to the attitude of summer the whole year. I let my kids have more freedom to explore their interests like they did during the summer. We just lived the pattern of our life, learning naturally.

Some schools are making the change to school year round. Our family decided to make the change to no-school year round. You can too. Relax and watch your kids this summer. Jot down what they do. Read some books on education and learning. Then let that attitude of summer relaxation penetrate your mind throughout the entire year.

Sure, our summers are still different because the world around us is different. Not just the weather, but also other kids are around, and activities are planned in order to accommodate the kids in institutional schools. So we will never get away from that, but your attitude can remain the same.

Keep the summer 'tude all year long. You don't have to get uptight. Follow your own schedule and your own child's pace. That's your advantage as a homeschooler.

I hope you end up with the problem I did: finding it harder and harder to answer the question of when school is out for the summer.



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is the Vice-President of IHEN and the Co-moderator of the IndianaHomeschoolers Networking and Discussion List.

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