Normal is Boring!

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In my family we think that normal is boring.

This morning my teenage daughter uttered those words every parent anticipates. “Why can’t we just be like normal people??”, she huffed as she looked at her list for the day.

Every morning I write a sticky note list of to-dos for my kids. It saves me telling them over and over what I expect, and it helps them plan for the day.

What was so “un-normal” about the list today?

We are doing what I call summer learning (as opposed to summer school, which would be completely intolerable to the teenagers), and some days it’s just more than she thinks normal people should be subjected to!

Summer Learning

I’ve had summer learning with my kids for over 15 years, with some summers being more successful than others.

I bought a homeschool curriculum all of those years ago, and take our favorites from the 9 months of course work and condense it into 9 weeks of summer.

This means we just do the highlights, but I look forward to the learning and together time, and obviously, they look forward to when it’s over!!

This summer we are studying ancient history as one of our topics, so every week we take a Historical Period and study it.  

I have the kids make timelines of events, we pick an art project that goes along with the period, and we watch movies and read books that are applicable. Talk about inexpensive entertainment! 

Last week was the Greek and Roman periods.

My son read the Percy Jackson books, and they watched the movies for free on Netflix.

My daughter checked out all of the Greek mythology teen romance books the library had, and we all watched the epic movie, Ben Hur, together- also free from the library…

Have you ever watched Ben Hur?

Made in 1957, it’s nearly 4 hours long, and slower moving than we are used to in movies these days. But we soon found out why it won Best Picture of the Year award and 11 other Academy Awards that year. We hid our eyes, screamed with terror, and cried at the end. All signs of a great movie!  

The Food!

To pull together the history and culture in these periods, we make foods from the area we are studying all week long.

Our dinner yesterday was a homemade Greek feast from the garden that my son crowned, “one of the 10 best meals in this house ever!”. 

That’s saying a lot – we make a lot of good food!

What did we make? 

Don’t worry, I’ll share the recipes below!  

Dolmathes (meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves) served with lemon sauce

Israeli Roasted Cauliflower (nearly the best thing I’ve eaten in years)

Roasted Beet Salad

Sourdough Focaccia Bread- Ligurian Style (pretty much to die for…)

Click the names to see the recipes!

Yes, Normal is Boring

So no, we are not normal!

We are trying to inject a little culture, a little learning, and a little delicious into our long weeks of summer. And I don’t think the kids are going to be any worse for it – whether they believe me or not!

In fact, COVID had us so off track I had forgotten about it until one of my older sons asked if we were doing that fun summer learning stuff this year. He remembers it fondly. There is hope for the younger two!

Do you feel like you’ve had two summers? We do!

One summer when they should have been in school, and the second real one that’s a lot hotter.

What are you doing to bring your family together this summer?

All of our typical activities are closed, canceled, or socially distanced.  Share some ideas with me, and I’ll share them with everyone else!

Here is what my brother and his family are up to!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kAHj0Pq1EM

He is the one playing the guitars, my 8-year-old nephew is on the drums, my sister in law is on back up vocals, and my 14-year-old nephew produced, mixed and arranged the entire video.  

What about the lead singer? He and my brother were in a band in high school, and he is now a psychologist and lives in another state, so he films the vocals, sends it to my nephew and he puts it all together. Pretty amazing what you can do with technology and a 14-year-old brain these days!

Please like and subscribe to the channel if you have a second – they would LOVE it!

I hope you are getting creative, staying out of the heat, doing some things together, and being anything but NORMAL!!!

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Love,

Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

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