Yes, we are on vacation–and yes, homeschooling continues. Partly this is philosophical–learning never stops–but partly practical. I’d much rather spread our learning out over the whole year than to alternate intensive periods of learning with total vacation. I especially notice that when Anna is understimulated, she gets particularly squirrelly. Which can quickly turn into annoying and then destructive. Which is not good. But when I make an extra effort to engage her, especially early in the day, it seems to settle her somewhat, and help her get started on the right foot.
Thus the advent of bedschooling.
Really, the picture above is not much of a representation, since I’m missing from it. Bedschooling is all about the three of us piled up in the bed together, with me in the middle.
Often we start the morning reading together, whatever chapter book we left off with the night before. Then we might pick up “Grammar Island,” which we’ve been reading together. It seems to hit at a good spot for the two girls–(mostly) interesting enough to hold Anna’s attention, and filling in some gaps and providing some review for Cate, who is really wanting these days to feel like she is accomplishing some academic work.
Anna sometimes decides she doesn’t want any part of it, and she is free to opt out if she wants. But when I tell her this, she often decides that she only wants to stop if we stop too, and may start singing loudly or jumping on us. So the deal is that she can stay on the bed with us, but she can’t interfere with the reading that Cate and I want to do together. She generally doesn’t like this response, but I find that after about 30 seconds, she’s right back in there with us. And while there is a certain amount of back-and-forth that happens, I think this level of engagement for her busy little brain early in the day, interestingly, helps her settle in to the rest of the day more calmly.
All of this happens before breakfast, so the call of the cabin and food eventually pulls us out of bed and on to other things. And often there isn’t much else in the way of explicitly academic work for the rest of the day–there are cherries to pit and hay to help with and barn cats to visit and hikes to go on and clothes to hang out on the line. But this little bit of time at the start of the day helps both the girls in different ways. For Cate, it helps fight that niggling concern that she isn’t doing “enough,” whatever enough is. And for Anna, that extra bit of engaging her mind first thing seems to help start the day from a more settled place.
I always leave New York thinking about what we can bring back with us when we come home. I’m looking forward to making bedschooling part of our mornings for a good long time now.