Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer's legacy

No, I have not adopted any more children.  My son's summer school is still at the University studying Calculus 3... I had problems teaching math once we hit multiplying fractions.  However, the gorgeous weather we are (finally) enjoying is reminding me of past summers of "doing school" all year long.

We had to do a little work each day on math during the summer or the student in the house would forget an entire previous year.  I know, I have said this a thousand times but... how did the boy who took two years to get through Saxon 1/2 end up taking the most complicated math courses at the University?  For my fellow parents of children who are not math prodigies... there is hope.

One nice thing about summer in the Northern Hemisphere... all children are homeschooled.  Even kids who attend public and private classrooms often have the freedom to explore, to find delight in all that is available to touch and observe and smell and sometimes even taste (especially toddlers... ugh).

Anyhoo, summers were mostly all about science and nature studies.  How could a mom and a boy stay out of their favorite trails when the weather was beautiful, the humidity low, and there were rocks and bugs waiting to be discovered. I still feel a tinge of sadness when I pass the wooded park where we spent many an afternoon exploring.  There are also fond memories of Lake Michigan, zoos of various sizes, creeks, gardens, and back yards, and walks along the water in our favorite artsy town with a little girl.

I have always been a big believer of hands on nature studies.  Some of my earliest memories of Stephanie as a little child included picking up pretty rocks on the road and chatting about God's remarkable creativity.  How He could have made everything in black and white but instead God created... sparkle (have you picked up quartz lately?).  Not to mention the duck billed platypus.

 Of course, life is not perfect and there were summers of too much TV during seasons of illness and adolescent girls who preferred reading to nature hikes (although years later, Stephanie told me about the summer she read tucked on the branches of a tree).  These included a few summers when Mom had to work and Saturdays became all important.   We had our share of reruns on TV and Mario Brothers when we lived in a city but over all the years of childhood... summer memories were made.

That is why we take the opportunities in summer when they happen... and why this Mom kept a vintage picnic basket packed with everything needed except the food for last minute dashes to a favorite place of exploration (a picnic just makes it more festive even if only peanut butter sandwiches or cheese and bread).

Summer is the time to grow veggies (or at least herbs in a container) and drawing a child into the wonder of seeds planted and the miracle of growth.  Summer brought about the joy of just picked corn dripping with butter or messy watermelon for dessert both eaten outside on a hot day.

Summer can be about catching a fish and cooking it... which did not happen in this home but I have memories from my own childhood.  No, for this family summers were Dad teaching tennis techniques, the proper way to toss the basketball into a hoop, or  how to drive when one turned a certain age.

As I look back on many summers as a Mom, I sense what was really taking place during those summers was developing a love for learning and exploring, flowers, duck ponds, picnics next to the small zoo or near the trail or on the sand by the lake, rocks and arrowheads, getting one's hands dirty in the soil, and taking into their adult years a sense of wonder.  Truly a legacy which makes summer special.

Picture: Building Memories; allposters.com


Anonymous said...

This was sweet. Thank you for sharing! I've been in a season of illness but soon I shall be well and my son and I will spend more time with nature. It's so hot here in Georgia so it must be near water :)!

Becky K. said...

This is so true. I encourage new Homeschool Mom's to engage in more of this type of learning early on rather than overwhelm their children with stacks of books and paper. We are so intent on processing work and think our children should learn that way as well. Some do, but more learn best by exploring and studying in a hands on manner.


Becky K.

Acacia said...

It's funny that you mention that! -I'm a homeschooler, my mom has been teaching me Algebra 1/2 the past year, and mom strugles a bit when it comes to math! (You sound similar!)But,I have to admit, since she herself is learing the lesson while I am too, we go at a slow-ish pace and I understand it MUCH better! Plus, everything is explained in a way I can't explain. (She's soo good, according to me;)
I have gotten the best place in math when did the state tests. ~Praise God!
Thanks for sharing that!
In Christ,

Christy@WickedHappy said...

What a sweet post. Sometimes I let the humidity get between me and the outdoors. My Little Guy sure does love exploring nature though, and he certainly doesn't care if we get sweaty. Thanks for the reminder. Summer is such a lovely blessing - especially when shared with those we love!

Sandi said...

Glad to hear that struggles with math now don't really predict the future.

I love the idea of having the pinic basket packed and ready minus the food. I am going to set that up this week. We used to be so much more spontaneous but since the baby was born I tend to stay home more but he is almost two now and roaring to go find a bug :o)

Enjoyed my visit

Martina said...

I love the picture! It reminds me of my beloved grandpa. The best about him was: he always had lots of time for us, and we spent most of this time outside with him exploring nature. I understand only now what a gift he continually gave us.
Thank you for this lovely post!