In Waldorf Education, we have vacation in the month of December, we have two whole weeks around Easter, and we take a true Summer Vacation.
Summer Vacation in the United States seems to almost be becoming a thing of the past. The shelves of Barnes and Noble are crammed with workbooks so your child will not be “ left behind”; every parenting magazine I pick up talks about reading and summer contests for reading so children don’t lose the ability to read; so many homeschoolers I know homeschool through the summer months….
Ah, but I think in so many ways it is productive to focus on things other than the eyes as connected to the brain during Summer! Summer is this time when we gloriously live in our senses and take in Nature and all of Creation in this beautiful running stream! Why would we not work with this time of year instead of trying to work against it? Growth occurs in the Summer in the body, in the way we process things through those twelve senses! There are so many things to be learned in the Summer that one cannot learn from any book and there are so many skills to develop!
Here are a few examples: picking fruit from thorny vines and having the sticky juice run down your arms, traveling to the lake, the mountains or the beach and walking barefoot over the sand or tree roots, weeding in the garden in the hot, canning, building, bonfires on St. John’s Tide, camping, fireworks, eating watermelon, swimming in a really cold lake.
If you must focus on something, my plea is to focus on the physical, the practical. If your child is over five, can they swim really well? Ride a bike? Roller skate? Climb a tree? Traverse the monkey bars by themselves? Do they help with canning? Can they clean? How can they help with camping?
Most of all, whilst the children play, this is your time to get your house in order for fall, your time to plan your fall homeschool year, and also your time to be outside making joyous memories with your family.
So, my plea is to make this a true vacation, but also to have a balance. Please speak with your spouse and have at least once a week (or more!) in which you can plan for fall. Sit down with a calendar and don’t plan to be out every single afternoon – also plan some time to get your house ready for fall. Slow and steady wins the race for we adults…
But please let the children be on break! They will come back tan and tall and ready to learn!