You would think that suggesting we do school during the summer would make me an unpopular mommy, but truly, I did not have any problems introducing the idea to my children. We have been homeschooling through summer for a few years and it works well for our family. There are a few steps that I have taken to ensure that we have a successful summer of school during this season.
Summer school isn’t a dirty word (or two words)
It could just as well be called winter school or spring school, but summer school is really just school that happens during the summer months. Because we homeschool year-round, it is a little easier for me to pass the idea off to my children. I know that children (and teachers) deserve time off from school. We do manage to take time off throughout our school year. Instead of taking off for 60 plus consecutive days, we take off scheduled days or weeks within our year-round schedule.
By not taking long periods of time off, I find that my children better retain what they have learned and we do not have to spend a lot of time reviewing material previously taught once we resume our studies.
Keep it educational, but fun
We will be traveling this summer and one of the places we will visit is New York City. We are going to see the Broadway play Matilda in which my sister plays Mrs. Phelps the librarian. Of course there will be a lot of fun had, because that is just what happens when Karen is around. While in New York, we also have plans to visit the traditional tourist/educational spots like The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Central Park; Union Square; Empire State Building, how high can you go?; the Statue of Liberty will be closed; Harlem – homes of Paul Robeson, James Weldon Johnson and others. There will be no testing afterwards, but we will discuss what we have seen and I will encourage my children to write down any thoughts to remember the experience.
Don’t make it a big deal
School during the summer months may be more easily accepted if you do not put an emphasis on the fact that they are doing school. While many of their peers may be taking the summer months off from school, we are just following through with our routine. It is not special school. It is not even summer school for that matter. We are just doing what we regularly do – reading, writing and a little bit more.
School during the summer can be reading: let your children include more of their favorites; writing: have your children write letters to family and friends about what they did during the “regular” school year, what they are doing during the summer months or just write stories, but write; math: there are tons of free online math games or you may create your own. Solitaire and Go Fish are great games for early math learners.
Be flexibleDuring the summer months, our schedule is a little more flexible. Since it usually gets unbearably hot between the hours of 10 a.m. until around 4 p.m., the children may actually begin their day playing in the pool or heading to the tennis court to hit a few balls. All work before play does not always work well, because of the weather. By the time we return home from the tennis courts, the children are ready to settle down and relax indoors doing some inside activities – some school work.
If you dread school during the summer, then your children will too. Sometimes, school during the summer is just necessary. If you homeschool, then there may come a time when you will fall behind due to sickness, unexpected travel opportunities, a new baby or just life. If this happens to you, then just do it, get it done and smile (and pray) as much as possible. Every day of school does not leave me with a smile on my face, but whenever I think about why I am homeschooling and how thankful I am to do it, that just makes me smile.
Although Jennifer now lives in Small Town, USA on the southern part of the map, she will always remain a California girl. She is a Christian, wife and homeschool mother, who has been blessed with three beautiful children (a.k.a. the ‘Wild Bunch’). Her homeschool style is still being determined and Jennifer is just thankful that she and her children are able to stay-at-home and learn together. Jennifer is a writer, who enjoys reading (as do her children), running, too much time on the computer, sewing and taking lots and lots of pictures (just ask her children). She is also a lover of food and can be found in her kitchen whipping up something delicious and vegetarian. Oh, she never forgets dessert. Jennifer blogs at Milk & Honey Mommy.