Over the years I've observed that our natural learning year follows the seasons, not the "school year." Spring gets us outdoors and stimulates new growth in the children, not just the garden. They get interested in new things and in old things afresh, and the momentum builds through the sunny days of May and June. By early July we're all in high gear preparing for intense summer music experiences. August is full to the brim with music. September is often holiday time, and that's prime time for learning through travel, museum trips, family readalouds, field trips and time together. In October the regular music lessons kick back in and there's a bit of a novelty effect from that, but as we head into November and December our focus shifts to holiday preparations ... and then on the far side of the New Year, it's mostly about coping with cabin fever. I now recognize that January through March are the nadir of our cycle of inspiration and initiative and I don't sweat it much. And then towards the end of March, things begin to wake up again.
Last year the spring rebirth in learning energy wasn't nearly as obvious and I wondered if our annual waxing and waning was settling into a more even pattern. But no. This year the Spring Thing is back with a vengeance. Or so it seems this week.
Children want rabbits and plan to build a hutch. They want to garden. They want the snow on the driveway circle to melt so that they can ride their bikes. They are devising outdoor fitness routines that will involve daily mountain-biking along the creekside trail. They are spending two or three hours at the gym every second night, huffing and puffing and getting strong and fit. They want to start canoeing at least once a week.
Noah is working busily away on his blog, his message board and his website. Stop-motion animation is being produced; audio soundtracks are being edited. Music practicing has entered a new realm of efficiency for at least one child. Rosetta Stone language learning software is being used every day. So is the typing tutor. One child has done 15 math lessons in the past two days. Another has been heard to say "I like doing math every day. It's more fun this way." Another, most shockingly of all, has decided to return to formal math work after yet another ten-month break.
Ahh, yes. This is spring!