There is an unofficial tradition in some homeschooling circles- at least the homeschoolers I know. The week or two (or three if you’re very liberal – which I am) after local school starts, we start celebrating ‘Not-Back-To-School’ days. How exactly do we celebrate this blessed time of year? I can only speak for myself, but feel free to share what you do with me. There are programs that mark this juncture officially like this and this.
The Beach – The best beach days of the year are in September. The water is warm, I mean positively balmy. The premium sand space is sparsley scattered with people and we have often had a beach practically to ourselves. The drives are easy with no traffic, so if the weather is right, that’s where we will be. If you want to plan more than a day trip, the prices for staying are fantastic – I know many people availing themselves of that now!
The Parks – The summer camps and recreation programs have all ceased and that leaves the parks barren and silent. Sure there are the occassional preschoolers, but we mostly have the places to ourselves. I have been to 3 ‘homeschool park days’ this NBTS season and I am sure there will be more unofficial ones to follow. We do get strange looks from the walkers and joggers who wonder what we are doing out of school – but I love it.
The Museums – Yup, empty. September is not a popular time for teachers to plan field trips, so we are free to browse as if we had reserved the space just for us. We hold several memberships this year and will be using them frequently, but now is the best time to launch our own personal field trips. If you have not had the good fortune of being in a near-empty museum, give it a try.
Zoos – The zoos are great in the next few weeks. I believe the less oppressive weather makes the animals happier and more active. We always see more antics from the animals in the cooler weather – we’ve been to zoos on rainy and snowy days too. They are certianly quiet during those times.
You get my point – most places frequented by children are fairly desolate once school starts. I keep a running list of places I want to take the kids – things we both want to see and do. As summer is creeping to an end, (remember, I maintain that the 22nd is the official ‘end’) I began moving a couple of my sticky notes into their own catagory. “Things-I-want-to-do-when-school-begins-but-the-weather-is-still-beautiful”. Currently topping that list are Bowman Tower and their Wild Flower Preserve, The Philadelphia Zoo, New Jersey Botanical Gardens, Children’s Museum of Manhattan and The Grounds for Sculpture.
We do have academics that we like to tackle and structured lessons to complete and we spend time doing that too. But I know after 7 years of homeschooling, we can focus on these things more intensely when the sunny 70 and 80-somethings aren’t beckoning us to soak up as much sun and fun as we can – before the dingy days of late fall and winter
If you’re kids go to school, pull them out and enjoy some of this too – you will have a great day and earn ‘Super-Awesome-Mom-Points’. God knows I am ALWAYS in need of those. Aren’t you?