Being a homeschool family, I often get asked what we do for summer months. When I reply that we homeschool year round, that tends to lead to a couple of responses. The most popular response is “How do you have time to homeschool during the summer?” Or I’ll hear “Don’t you think they deserve time off?”. From hearing these responses, my six-year old came to me the other day and said, “You know that kids in regular school get summer off, right?” I agreed with him that yes, I’m well aware that they get the summer months off, but I also quickly reminded him that because we do school during the insanely hot months of summer, he gets time off that kids in public school doesn’t. We are able to schedule our school year with what works for our family, even if it isn’t the “traditional” way.
And while some may ask if the kids are really enjoying summer learning, my response is yes. Our best months for outside play is early spring and fall. Once we hit July-September, we have extremely hot days which means that the only time they go out to play is in the early morning before the heat of the day hits, or during the evening hours.
What do our days look like:
During the summer we have a laid back approach to our schedule. Normally the kids go outside and play in the mornings and then we come in, have a snack and get ready to learn. So how is this more laid back than usual? For starters, our local library has all these fun activities going on through the summer months, and we make sure to hit every one of those.
We also carry a lighter load during the summer months. We add an elective along with two core subjects. I wish I could say that both the boys are doing the same subjects, but that’s not how it working out. They are both doing math and their reading, but that’s all they have in common this summer.
Are their benefits to homeschooling throughout summer?
By all means, I’m not an expert in this area. However, with us going into our fifth year of homeschooling, I have learned a few things over the years. One of those being that having a relaxed homeschool schedule during the summer months definitely has it’s benefits. Keep in mind that every family is different and what works brilliantly for one family, may end up being disastrous for another. While we can find a teachable moment in many day-to-day activities, we still prefer to have formal lessons throughout the summer months. Here’s why:
I have found that having some type of structure in our home helps our days run a little smoother, and keeps the boys asking for less screen time. As I mentioned, we do carry a lighter load during the summer months, but we still enjoy play dates, field trips and so many more activities. Chances are we can be spotted at the local library activities, farmer markets, craft shows and whatever else may be going on in a week. Even with all these activities, we still find time to fit in our classes with ease.
While homeschooling through the summer allows us to have structure to our day, it also allows us more freedom and flexibility during the other months of the year. We are able to do more activities, add additional hands-on experiments that can be very time-consuming, head out on vacation, etc. without having to worry about trying to get everything done. Also, because we do go to school through the summer months, we’re able to take more breaks throughout the school year which is pretty awesome.
No summer brain drain
Our girls both graduated from public school, so I remember all too well how hard it was for them to head back to school at the end of summer. Not only was it hard for them to back into the routine, but they also had forgotten things that were taught the previous year. Continuing with school through the summer months I have found that my boys seem to retain more information because not only are we learning new things, but we also go back and focus on things that they weren’t able to fully grasp during the school year. We do this with worksheets, flash cards, games, etc.
It’s seriously fun
We truly have fun with summer learning. I know this may sound odd to some people, but during the summer we’re able to take what we’re learning indoors to the outside and get more out of it. For example, I’m currently doing Botany with my rising fifth grader. While this is a subject that can obviously be studied anytime, we have thoroughly enjoyed it during the warmer months. It’s given us the opportunity to do more hands-on in not only science but other subjects as well. Also, our dedicated reading time becomes every more fun since they participate in the reading program that our library offers. Every week, the kids are encouraged to not only read a minimum of 20 minutes a day, but also to do fun activities that get them thinking. At the end of each week, they turn their papers in for a fun surprise.
Do you school throughout the summer?