I track our school year in days. We need 180 days in a year. Most years we finish our curricula early. Some subjects – math and reading – we just move on to the next level and work until everything else is done. But most years we are left with a handful of school days to log. We finish off the year with some summer fun!
Two years ago we did two road trips. On our way to Cleveland we stopped in St Louis to visit my sister. We spent a day at the city museum. Then, while in Cleveland we visited a Great Lakes nature center and swam in Lake Erie. Science and geography!
We were in Cleveland to attend my friend’s wedding. My kids were exposed to more new foods than they had ever seen and they witnessed a beautiful Sikh wedding ceremony. While we did not count the wedding festivities in our official school days, how better to learn about another religion and culture than to be in the middle of such an important event!
On the way home we stopped to see the Native American Burial Mounds, the Creation Museum, and Merrimack Caverns. In that trip we logged five days of school. It was the most fun week of school we have experienced, but my kids learned more than they do in a week sitting at the kitchen table.
Our second trip was to Colorado. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park for three days. We studied the flowers, geography, and wildlife. My kids can now recognize a pika, marmot, and elk. On our way home we spent another day at the Garden of the Gods hiking and looking at the amazing rock formations!
This year we are taking another road trip. We will visit a science museum in Ft Walton Beach while at my family reunion, then we will spend four days at Disney World! My kids have never been so excited for a “field trip.”
Will I count the whole trip? No. But if schools can take field trips to the park, Six Flags, or other theme parks in our area – I see no problem counting a couple of days at Disney toward our school days. Epcot and Animal Kingdom both have excellent educational value.
We finish each school year with a theater camp. It is an intense two weeks of rehearsal. In camp they audition, cast, rehearse, and perform the show within that two week period. The skills gained in the camp are invaluable.
At home we also go to the zoo, the local science museum, the library, the pool, and continue with reading and math. We may even finish off any science experiments we ran out of time for during the school year.
When we hit 180 days, I stop counting but we never stop learning. Summer is our time to unschool. We follow a Charlotte Mason/Classical model for nine months and then play for three. It gives our school some balance and makes us excited to dig into our books in August!
Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.