Summer Holidays?

People ask me if we have a 'summer holiday' with the schools, or if we just carry on. Really, the nature of autonomous learning means that it is continual, so we do not really take a break. We continue to follow our interests as they arise. However, my husband is a teacher so he is around during the school holidays and the dynamics change within the house, I relax a bit as another adult is around, our routine changes. And, this is still the time we have to take a holiday. We look forward to the day when all our family are liberated from the school system, so we can benefit from family holidays at cheaper (& sunnier!) times of the year.

The weather this summer wasn't great in England. This is the third year running that July and August have been pretty wet and dull. I was glad the boys and I had been able to spend a lot of time outside enjoying the sunshine during May and June, but for children confined to their classrooms earlier in the year, this opportunity was missed. We were glad to be offered a 'house sit' in Devon in August which enabled us to spend a week exploring a new part of the country, whilst another family 'house sat' for us. Although the weather wasn't very good, we enjoyed time on the beach, exploring some National Trust properties including Francis Drake's house 'Buckland Abbey' and driving across Dartmoor in the mist.

Also, during the summer, there are many holiday clubs on offer to children, and the boys took part in a tennis camp, the eldest in a swimming course and our second son in a trampolining week. All of these they enjoyed. The holiday clubs are great for trying out new sports and the costs were reasonable. I have been taking the boys swimming every week to build up their confidence in the water. Living in Ankara, we only really got to swim on holiday as there are not the cheap public pools we are fortunate to have access to in this country. Therefore, the boys had not had as much opportunity to swim as they might have had here. Our eldest son has been reluctant to join a swimming class or club - and going swimming with the school (which he would have done this last school year) was something he was worried about. So it was great that he wanted to do a swimming course this summer, and he had reached a level where he was just ready to be given some strokes and teaching to help him to progress. To my surprise there were only one or two children in his group so he had almost 1:1 tuition, did really well, and proudly brought home his 10m badge at the end of the week.

All 3 boys completed the library summer reading challenge through the summer holidays - and I noticed how their reading has come on without any real pushing from me. The elder two both read 6 proper books independently and enjoyed collecting the stickers and rewards to complete their posters. Though they were motivated, I still wonder how we can achieve these objectives without the need for extrinsic rewards. I would love to see them reading more for sheer intrinsic pleasure. (See Alfie Kohn's 'Unconditional Parenting' for more on this noble objective).