Most people who know us know that we homeschool, and within the first few minutes of encountering us, most people we meet know we homeschool. In the decade that we've been "officially" homeschooling, I've fielded all sorts of questions. People are curious, and because I love what we do, I don't care to answer those questions.
One of the most common this time of year is "So, have you finished school, yet?" The easy answer is a simple no, but there is a reason. The reason is that the dance year ends with the recital, which is, traditionally, on Father's Day. Since our outside class schedules define our "school year", we don't end school until those classes end. So, for us, "school" doesn't end until the end of June.
Of course, we don't really begin or end school, not really. The summer is different from the fall, but the fall is different from the winter, and nothing is ever quite like the spring.
Our life is very seasonal, and we're always doing things that I feel like should be part of our portfolio. The question became, for us, to which "year" do we add the summer? And then, a few years ago, we settled on the answer - the next one.
So, when I'm asked, "Have you finished school, yet?" The answer in June is, "Not until after recital ... and then, we'll start next year."
The other question I hear a lot, especially this time of year, is "Do you take summer's off?" The simple answer to that question is no, but as with most things in my life, it's not quite as simple as yes or no.
I was having a chat about portfoliios one day. For new homeschoolers, especially, there's always a question of what the portfolio should include. The portfolio I prepare for my homeschool each year is, basically, a scrapbook. It has a lot of pictures, some lists of books the girls have read, ticket stubs to movies or plays, brochures from museums or field trips, and a summary of the year's experiences. It serves, not only, as an indicator that we've met the States' requirements, but also as a memento to my children. It's modeled after a school yearbook, and my girls enjoy looking back over the years to see how much they've changed, to see photos of old friends, and to remember some of the really cool things we've done and places we've gone.
As unschoolers, our philosophy is living is learning, which means everything is "school." Because we do so many very cool activities over the summer, I wanted to be able to also add those activities to our portfolio. I guess I felt like, since we homeschool, and since life is learning, that it didn't make sense to have a three-month "summer vacation gap" in our portfolio.
In answer to the question, "Are you finished with school?" I answer no. We're always unschooling ... and it never gets boring or tired, because each season there's something new to see and do.