Summer school{ish} and our end of the school year camping trip

We did it.  He did it.  Makgill has completed the first grade, homeschool style.  I am so unbelievably proud of my little man.  He has worked so hard and I am shocked at the amount of work he has done this year.  He has hated some of it, and honestly so have I.  But most of it has been really positive and without a doubt the overall experience has been a great one.  Great enough that I’m going to do it again next year and I’m even adding Baby Sister into the mix.  It’s okay, I’ve met people this year who homeschool seven kids and they’re really great at it.  With a lot of prayer, it’ll work. 😉  When we started at the beginning of the year I couldn’t see myself homeschooling for more than a couple of years.  Now?  I can see myself doing it forever.  Not saying I will, but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. God and the boy get all of the credit for that little change of heart.  Actually, God gets all of the credit for every part of our homeschool experience.  There have been good days and bad.  We have dealt with 3785 bad attitudes, equal parts teacher and pupil.  There have been days that I wanted to hang him from the nearest tree by his earlobes and I’m quite sure there have been mornings that he would have gladly poisoned my coffee if given half a chance.  BUT…I LOVE this kid.  I love the way his mind works and I love his heart even more. He’s my little Superhero and I hope for many more years as his Momma-teacher.

This summer…what are we going to do?  How does a person go from being a kid’s teacher to not teaching him in a day,  just because you met your 180 day requirement?  I don’t think you do.  Have you heard of un-schooling?  Don’t worry, I DO NOT promote this school of thought and I have been using a very intensive curriculum with Mak, and will pick it right back up in August.  Basically, the definition of un-schooling goes something like the kid will learn what he needs to when he needs it.  No formal instruction.  I think.  Honestly, I haven’t done a ton of research on it because the entire idea sounds like junk to me.  We homeschool so our kids will get more out of their education, not for an excuse to do less.  Just my opinion.  Anyway, yesterday, while reading a book, Mak came across the word “harbor” and asked what it was.  He knew it had something to do with water, but that was about it.  That’s when it hit me.  I knew exactly how I was going to handle the transition to no lessons this summer.  There are probably 30 times a week when Mak asks me what something is and because we have so much other stuff to get to, I give him the bare minimum for an answer.  For instance, when he asked me what a harbor was I told him that it was a place to anchor boats.  I annoy myself when I do this, but I do it all the time.  This summer, when he asks me a question about something, I am going to try to go above and beyond with my answer.  You better believe that today we are going to be researching the hang out of harbors.  So, that’s my idea for summer: not a formal curriculum but not doing nothing, either.  I predict that Mak stops asking me what something is by next week. 😉  No matter what, I’m ready to enjoy this summer.  Camping, pool play dates, popsicles, bike rides, beach trips…CANNOT WAIT.

They are so cool.  People tell you how great it is to be a parent, but really…it’s the best thing ever.  They are such a gift and they amaze me everyday. I’m sad to be leaving the baby and toddler years behind, but really…they are FUN kids.  Collin and I are having fun growing up with them.

We celebrated the end of our school year with a camping trip to the beach over Memorial Day weekend.  I can’t even believe how much we are all loving camping.  The kids asked if we could not renew our Disney annual passes next year so that we would have more time for camping.  Seriously, people.  My kids LOVE them some Disney and they are asking to NOT go back so that we can camp more.  I love them. =)

Really, though, why would you not want more of this?  I remember our first camping trip a month ago.  It was my birthday weekend and we were heading to Myrtle Beach State Park for a couple of nights.  We drove in and checked in with the security officer at the gate.  Just after we passed through, Collin leans over, squeezes my knee and says “See?  I got you a vacation home in a gated community at the beach for your birthday, Baby.”  He makes me smile.

We are maybe, kind of starting to get the hang of camping food.  Breakfast we have mastered.  For some reason, though, we always seem to attempt our most difficult meal on the night that we set up camp.  We must stop doing this because it never turns out well.  But breakfast…YUM.

Dirty feet are still my nemesis.  We are discovering ways to keep the camper clean, but the feet remain dirty.  It makes my skin crawl.

We stayed at Lakewood Campground this time.  Overall, I think we are State Park kind of people (because of the wooded sites) but we really enjoyed Lakewood.  Tons of activities and a great beach.  Oh, and Reeves and Rebecca (my brother and sis-in-law) came down on Sunday after church and spent the night.  With THREE kids.  In a TENT.  One of them was in a pack-n-play.  I am in awe.  They are for real campers.  It was SO much fun!

We had several beach sessions in the evenings, but the days were spent riding bikes, doing paddle boats and just hanging out.  All four of us kinda want to sell the house and move into the camper. 😉

Miss Em is most definitely a camping dog.

I love these next two photos.  They are HORRIBLE quality.  My lens was fogged up from coming into the heat from the air conditioned air in the camper and they are so not in focus.  The kids were mad at me because they didn’t want a picture together.  Collin did the only thing that works when it comes to getting smiles from our kids…poot noises.

This was my favorite trip so far for camping nights.  Collin and I finally set up the outside lights and we stayed up late after the kids went to bed, just talking.  Best date nights in a long time.

They are just plain goofballs.  These are from when we were packing up and they were sad to be leaving.

And, lastly, I’ll leave you with another dirty foot.  Grrrrr….

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  • gillianJune 2, 2011 - 6:22 am

    i am so glad y’all are enjoying camping so much!!! when did CB’s hair get so long?? my goodness it’s gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • aronJune 2, 2011 - 7:26 am

    Gillian, it was you and Dana talking about camping on facebook that got me interested in the whole idea! We love it so much! So, thank you for planting the idea in my head. 😉 We should do a weekend trip sometime! And, I know! Her hair is crazy. To think she spent the first two and a half years of her life as a baldy!ReplyCancel

  • TaMaraJune 2, 2011 - 8:00 am

    Here’s what we do to combat the dirty feet while camping – baby wipes. I can not stand dirty feet in a bed so before bed every night, we wipe feet off with a baby wipe. We love camping, but have sadly outgrown our pop-up.ReplyCancel

  • ChrissyJune 2, 2011 - 8:41 am

    Her curls! Oh man, not good for that, “I give up on the thought of a curly haired little girl and will just stop at three straight haired little boys…” resolve.

    Have you guys seen this campground?? We never even knew it existed til our last time home. It seems like the perfect campground for kiddos: http://www.pirateland.com/ReplyCancel

  • aronJune 2, 2011 - 8:54 am

    Tamara, i didn’t know that y’all camp! We should plan a trip sometime! I’m all about camping with friends. =) And we are doing the baby wipe thing, but it still doesn’t seem to be working. Especially on Mak. That boy’s feet are STANK.

    Chrissy, we did a session at Pirateland this weekend! It looked like a really fun place and we definitely want to check it out. Actually, Hope S has a place there and they go all the time. Where is y’alls RV now? Do you ever use it anymore?ReplyCancel

  • aronJune 2, 2011 - 8:56 am

    Oh, and I definitely think you should go for the curly-headed girl. Because what’s the worst that could happen? Another straight-haired boy? You know that wouldn’t be so bad!ReplyCancel

  • TaMaraJune 2, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    We used to camp. Starting last summer, we’ve had to rent places at the campgrounds (we go to Ocean Lakes and Pirateland). Somehow, trying to fit all 7 of us into the little pop-up was just too much. We’ll be going to Ocean Lakes the week of July 4th this year. I can’t wait! Don’t have any other advice besides the baby wipes – Bobby’s feet get really bad, esp if he’s been wearing his rainbows; they stain his feet.ReplyCancel

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