With three little boys to manage, one who was having difficulties learning to read, I felt a lot of pressure to get everything done. I was looking forward to a well-earned summer vacation. However, I discovered that without school to keep us focused and on task, the household seemed to fall apart a little bit and my little boys seemed to hate the lack of structure. That was the year I realized tht I could homeschool in the summer. Three more children joined the family, and I determined that I was less and less stressed about getting everything done, because I knew that we could catch up in June, July and August. While my friends seemed to be frantic that they weren't done with their curriculum in April and May, I wasn't panicking at all - because my school was in session all year round!
This year I'm only homeschooling my high school student during the summer and my 6th grader is only reading books with us. Other years we have done all of the subjects to catch up, or to move ahead. Each year has been a little different.
But here is a list of things that I observed on my homeschool adventure during the summer months.
1. Good habits built up in the school year can easily go kaput during the lazy hazy days of summer! Why should we lose all that hard-earned ground!? Year round homeschooling helped to turn those good habits into a way of life.
2. Use it or lose it... and some kids do lose a lot over the summertime! I remember that in particular I felt that I had to regain some of my hard won math skills after letting then languish over the summer. Summertime homeschooling keeps those math, reading, writing and spelling skills sharp.
3. Reading new and different books might be a good thing to try over the summertime. Try some new titles or authors. This year the girls and I are going to delve into some Zane Gray and Willa Cather books.
4. Two words - field trips. Summertime is a great time to work some social studies, geography, history and science into the curriculum in real life!
5. Summertime homeschooling need not be all drudgery! Learn how to make a pie or sew, paint a room, basic car repairs... all of that is educational and counts as homeschooling. This year Izzy is going to take typing, help rehab a house, and learn how to sell on Etsy and E-bay.
6. Summertime homeschooling is a great way to pull ahead academically.
7. It's a great time to play catch up too.
My family has done both!!
8. Summertime homeschooling keeps the family from getting too scattered from each other. And now that I have a son 8 hours away, I truly cherish the hours he got to spend with his siblings in the summer.
9. No law says you can't include the neighbor kids! In fact sometimes the neighbor kids enjoy the read alouds or other homeschooling activities and my kids enjoy having their friends see what their school day is like.
10. Having something to do keeps mom from hearing "I'm bored!" too many times in a day!
10. Dig deeper. So you studied the French Revolution and one of your kids is now fascinated with Marie Antoinette! Now is the time to really dig into her biography and follow all of those rabbit holes that you had to skip over due to time constraints during the school year.
11. Mess. As in, take the messy art project outside. Water colors, chalk, to clay - all if it seems a lot less intimidating outside where everything can get hosed done when we're done.
12. Science is more fun in the summertime! From planting and growing, to astronomy or simple tools. All of it just seems to lend itself to the long warm days (and nights) of summer.
13. Homeschooling in the summer gives mom some structure too!
14. We do movie day all during the school year, but we can REALLY ramp it up during the summer and have movie night to include dad and even the neighbor kids. It's a great time to introduce them to films and stories they might not have chosen for themselves and to get some discussions going.
I'm including Netflix in this.
15. For older kids, summertime might be a great time to introduce them to test preparation, how to take tests and test strategies. This is especially important for high schoolers who may not be use to taking a lot of standardized tests.
16. In the laid back summertime it's a little easier to practice those foreign languages the kids have studied all year. Take one day aside and have Spanish day or Latin day, or just use your American Sign language!
17. Summertime is a great time to try out new Curricula. If Saxon math doesn't work for one student, maybe trying Seton or Modern Curriculum Press would work better. Try it and see! This year we're going to give Switched on Schoolhouse a try.
18. Summer camps and lessons definitely count as homeschooling. Take pictures and make sure to document!
19. Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July... all great times to set a day aside and talk about our country's history and heritage.
20. Time to look at the family's spiritual life and make adjustments. Older kids might be ready to add more bible study time. Maybe the youngest has never heard of Noah and the Arc and doesn't know how to say the rosary by herself yet. Summertime is a great time to evaluate everyone's spiritual needs.
First posted May 2012