Tag Archives: summerschooling

Oversensitive Summer Schoolers

I’m in some sort of weird oversensitive phase about schooling.  The other day, the Husband is like, the kids are doing a bit of nothing all day.  And I think I may have literally jumped down his throat to be like, we only had a single week off from Shakespeare Camp!  And we’re going to do school all of July and August!  AND everyone else is giving me flack for that!  Gah!  I can’t take it from both sides!

Yeah.  A slight overreaction.

I like to see myself as walking this perfect line.  Okay, not perfect, I’m never perfect, but stay with me as I’m in fantasy land.  I like to see myself walking this line, getting the best of both worlds all the time.  We’re relaxed but rigorous.  We have strong routines but we’re flexible.  We eat our vegetables and our junk food.  We take time off when we need to because we’re so flexible.  I know, complete fantasy land, right?  Sigh.

A part of me knows we really should get back to school and even wants to do it.  We took off a lot of spring for travel and break, plus more than three weeks for our Shakespeare production, some of which was complete break time for the kids.  We haven’t finished my science or history goals for the year.  Mushroom hasn’t finished math.  BalletBoy needs to finished up Explode the Code once and for all.

But there’s something perfect about a free summer, right?  And it doesn’t help when other homeschoolers look a bit appalled at me that we’ll be in the middle of multiplication drills again in another week.  The whole point should be flexibility.  Yet for some reason I feel this pressure to “do summer.”  Summer travel, swimming at the pool, outdoor music, free outdoor movies, farmer’s market mornings, splash parks, amusement parks, bike rides, lazy afternoons reading, making ice cream…

I know, I’m being absurd.  And oversensitive.  And the kids don’t mind.  AND we’ll make ice cream.  AND besides, the pool doesn’t open until noon anyway.  So I should get over myself and get ourselves back to work.

Besides, what could be more summer than running through the fountain every time we pass?  It’s just up the street, after all.

Summerschooling the Movies

We’re going to continue with several “school” things over the summer.  In particular, there’s summer reading through the DC library.  Last year, when BalletBoy was just beginning to sound out words, he scored a large number of special trinkets through the DC Library’s program.  However, with trips and summer camps interspersing our days, we’re taking a break from most of our normal routine beginning right about now.  I’m pretty happy to have that break and I’m sure the kids are too.  Not to mention all the extra awesome writing time I’ll get during summer camp time!

But I thought we needed a summerschooling topic, so I suggested a few to the kids and they picked film as something they’d like to learn more about.  So whenever we have a little time, here’s what I’ve designed for us.

We’re starting off by going to the Helios exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery.  This exhibit explores the work of Eadweard Muybridge, who was a very early pioneer photographer in moving images.  He’s most famous for the series of photos below of how a horse moves.

Drawing from that, I’m hoping we’ll make flipbooks and maybe take photos to make a photo-based flipbook.  Speaking of which, I just ordered the book Movie Science: 40 Mind-Expanding, Reality-Bending, Star-Struck Activities for Kids by Jim Wiese, so I’m hoping that will have even more fun activities for us to do when thinking about movies over the next couple months.  And speaking of books, there’s also the book Lights, Camera, Action by Gail Gibbons.  I’m hoping to find a few more fun titles to read about movies for summerschooling.

I hope that this will be a little bit of the science of movies, a little bit of art and a little bit of culture.  Classic films are cultural reference points the same way that plays, music, and other works of art are.  However, I’m also hoping this unit will add a little more media literacy to my kids’ lives.  We already talk about commercials and the way that things are sold.  However, I think there’s more to media literacy than that.  I’m hoping to work on Mushroom and BalletBoy’s ability to talk about how moving images, music and story can make us feel certain ways and how that works.

Last, but not least, the movies themselves!  I think watching movies will be perfect for lazy, hot summer afternoons.  Here’s what I’ve got in mind so far:

  • Some of the first films, such as Georges Melies’s A Trip to the Moon
  • Safety Last with Harold Lloyd
  • Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights
  • The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Fantasia
  • Singing in the Rain

I’d also like to add a western.  You always have to have a western!  Plus, we may jump ahead and do some more recent classics, like E.T. and The Princess Bride.  I’d love to do this again in a few years, when they’d be old enough to appreciate a whole different level of storytelling and dramatic tension.  Right now, I think movies like To Kill a Mockingbird will be a little too complex and Raiders of the Lost Ark a little too scary.  But in a couple of years…