Whether you work your homeschool on a traditional school schedule or you are a year-round homeschooler, schooling through the summer months typically takes on a different schedule. But schooling through the summer months can be a good choice for most families as there are advantages to continuing lessons throughout the summer. And you can have summer schooling without losing your whole summer (and your mind while you’re at it)!
ADVANTAGES OF SCHOOLING THROUGH THE SUMMER MONTHS
Some advantages of schooling through the summer months include:
Keeps a Schedule Going During the Summer Months
If you have your summer totally free of school, lessons, or projects, you will quickly find that the days get out of hand and any semblance of a schedule is out of the window. Keeping some schedule to your summer can make the return to the school schedule easier. Besides, having some projects, unit studies or workbooks for the summer months can help make use of those rainy days and car rides.
Prevents Summer Brain Drain
Whether you are a homeschooler or not, summer “brain drain” is pretty typical for most kids. In May they could recite their multiplication facts backwards and forwards but by August they hesitate at 4×1 so keeping flashcards, math drill games, workbooks, or other lessons going, even just on the review level, can help eliminate summer brain drain and have them moving forward when your school year resumes instead of having to review for the first part of the year.
Allows you to take your time throughout the year on some subjects
Continuing with studies in the summer means that you don’t have to worry about taking some time off here and there during the school year to enjoy family vacation, long weekends at grandmas, or just because you need the day off. You have more time to complete that math book or finish that literature study when you aren’t working toward a particular date on the calendar.
DISADVANTAGES OF SCHOOLING THROUGH THE SUMMER MONTHS
There are some disadvantages to year-round schooling or schooling through the summer months however. They include:
Kids don’t get a clear division in the school year
The first year we did year-round schooling, we found that there was a blend between the grades. There was no clear end of the year and no excitement of the first day of school. So, we have found that a clear end of the year and beginning of the year are key to our success. Even if we end late and have a short break, having these distinct ends and beginnings are important. (But didn’t you just say school through the summer months? Why yes I did…so see below to see how we do it and keep it separate.)
The first day of school isn’t such a big deal
As I mentioned above, without the division in the school year, there is no first day of school excitement. Wasn’t that exciting when you were a kid – it’s the first day of school, hooray. So, if you school year-round, this can be tricky.
You don’t have a good break from school to feel refreshed and rejuvenated
With year-round schooling you may have not have the needed break from school that kids need to rejuvenate and get refreshed to be excited about the next year.
No time to plan for the next year
We parents need some time to regroup and plan and without a break, you may find that you do not have the time to do this either.
SUMMER SCHOOLING HINTS
Some helpful hints to continue schooling through the summer months without losing your summer or your mind:
Keep it Light
A light schedule over the summer allows you to keep a schedule of learning but keeps you from having the entire day spent schooling and not playing. Everyone needs a day at the pool, in the sprinkler or riding bikes without feeling like school is looming over them. Even we mama’s need a little of that!
Try Something New
Have you always wanted to try notebooking or a unit study? Summer is a great time to try something new without throwing off your whole year and its plans. Even if you do not plan to school each day during the summer, a unit study that you do on rainy days, or a few subjects to read about and notebook can be a great way to spend those hot afternoons or rainy days.
Do you need to catch up on math? Have you wanted to add some subjects that you don’t have time to do during the year? Summer can be a great time to focus on one area to get ahead or catch up. Maybe you have wanted to add a foreign language, the summer might be a good time. Or just a read aloud and discussion as a family can be a great way to add something to your summer.
Make it Fun
You can also do a summer of all learning games and reading challenges. This is a great way to keep learning but seem like you are off school. Play math and geography games during the week and read rich literature as read alouds as well as books for the kids. Library reading programs are great to get in a variety of books. If you have several readers, have a family challenge who can read the most books in a week (or chapters in a week). Have a read aloud going over a fun topic. Choose some literature to finish your studies from last year or get a jump on your next year topics like history or science.
Summer learning is a great way to keep the brain working, the learning going, and not have to spend the first few weeks of school reviewing and getting back up to speed before starting your year.
Tawnee and her husband Chris live in Indiana with their four children (15, 9, 4, and 9 mo.). She blogs at Adventures in Homeschooling where she shares their family adventures in homeschooling, parenting, and life in general. She is a baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, military, work-at-home mom who loves spending time learning with her kids and feels blessed to have been called to homeschool. Also visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.