When I tell people that we homeschool through the summer, most of them give a look that could burn a hole in through your head. While this is a strange concept to many people, it is one we gave much thought to before committing to it.
First, let’s talk about the why. We gave this a lot of thought and we have several reasons we homeschool during the summer. It took a while for me to get past the 9-month school cycle philosophy, but once I did – I fell in love with summer homeschooling!! Here are the main reasons we changed:
- We live in a colder climate, so we take quite a few snow days off.
- Before we moved north, our climate was warmer and many summer days were in the high 90s-100s, which did allow my kids to play outside anyway.
- Schooling during the summer, allows us more flexibility in our schedule
- With my husband’s schedule as a minister, he has Friday’s off. Homeschooling through the summer allows us to school 4-days a week
- Allows us to take off most of December since we are so busy with family and church activities, the last two weeks of June following Father’s Day when our church has VBS and Mister Bull’s birthday as well as the first part of July due to the holiday and Mister Bull’s week of church camp. We start back up with review after he returns.
- The flexibility allows us to take unseasonal vacations to visit family now that we’ve moved 600+ miles away
- We need a schedule. While it’s nice to take days off every so often, our family all does better with a daily schedule.
What if you’ve never schooled during the summer – other than the occasional field trip or holiday unit study? How can you start a summer homeschooling schedule? Let me warn you, you may hear some resistance at first, especially if you have older children. But, once they understand your reasons behind the change it usually settles down. Here are some practical tips to get you started.
- Think outside the box – it’s not just about the papers. Learning doesn’t just take place in handwriting and tests.
- Make a schedule that works for you. It doesn’t have to be a strict or rigid schedule, it just has to work for you.
- It doesn’t have to be everyday. Maybe you just “formally” homeschool 2 or 3 days a week – enough to keep the learning going.
Need some fun ideas on how to accomplish such learning during the summer? Try changing it up and take the learning outside on those nice, warm summer days. Most of the time the kids will think they’re just getting to play outside and have fun. But really they’re learning!! Here are some ideas we love to do:
- Buy some cheap disposable cameras at the beginning of the summer and let your kids take them on your adventures.
- Nature walks for exercise, but let the kids take the cameras along to get their perspective
- Field Trips are on our agenda almost weekly during the summer with my husband off on Fridays.
- Unit Studies are a great way to tie in learning with field trips and nature walks as well as holidays and some fun learning.
- Camping and trips to the Lake, if you live near one, are a great way to combine family time fun and learning!
- Scavenger Hunts are my kids’ favorite way to learn about nature. This year we are going to try taking disposable cameras on our scavenger hunts to give a different aspect to their learning.
- I love the Farmer’s Market. It is an almost weekly trip on my schedule when it opens in May until October. There’s lots of learning to be had at the Farmer’s Market. Math, economics, the little ones can count booths and items. My kids love to go with me!
Do you homeschool during the summer? What tips and tricks do you have to make it work?