When June hits and I mention that we homeschool year-round, some people look at me as if I’m the Soup Nazi.
I can just imagine the thoughts turning in their heads. While other kids are hunting for shells at the beach and licking watermelon juice from their fingers, mine, they assume, slave over times tables while I patrol the room with a ruler. “You want to run in the sprinkler?” I say with an evil sneer. *SLAP!* goes the ruler. “No fun for you!”
I have to chuckle.
Yes, we homeschool year-round. But learning for us looks so dramatically different than the routines of a brick-and-mortar school, that it doesn’t feel like school. Our days are chock full of reading books together, playing games, conducting experiments, and exploring outside. Who wouldn’t want to continue that?
I will say, however, that we do lighten up on the heavy-duty bookwork during the summer, to allow flexibility for mid-day activities, trips to the beach, and plenty of play dates with friends.
For anyone else hoping to continue learning but still allow room for extra activities during summer, I thought I’d offer a glimpse of how “summer school” looks for us:
Breakfast and Books still happens everyday. The kids are by now so accustomed to me reading to them while they eat breakfast, that they would feel odd if we didn’t talk about the Bible and cover history while they munched their Cheerios. This means that every weekday over the summer, the kids are still learning the following:
- Devotions (right now we’re studying Job, after Pip mentioned some doubts he had about God’s goodness during COVID)
- History (Ah, Story of the World, you always deliver)
- One or two biographies (they picked Paul Revere, and we’re working through Empowered by Catherine Parks, a collection of Christian women’s biographies that I’d highly recommend!)
- Fun science (Sassafras Science Adventures)
- Fun trivia, usually geography (Professor Noggin)
After Breakfast and Books, our activities depend on the day of the week:
Mondays and Wednesdays:
- Morning: Swimming lessons, followed by play at a splash park
- On rainy days, we have project time, with an experiment from Groovy Lab in a Box , or this kids STEM book.
- On sunny days, we head out for field art. They each have their own set of charcoals and travel watercolors, and we go outdoors for them to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, and capture what they see.
- Morning: Full school day. After Breakfast and Books, we have 1:1 time (individual tutoring in the 3R’s). . . although this is usually done outside now, with the kids riding their bikes in between subjects.
- Afternoon: Basketball skills class (their request)
- Rainy weather: Full school day
- Nice weather: Get-together with friends at the beach, local parks, etc.
- Afternoon: Help out a disabled friend
- Morning: We play board games, and have lots of read-aloud time
- Afternoon: Grocery shopping and help out a disabled friend
On the weekends, we prioritize church, board games together, and time outside as a family. This year, that outdoor time has looked like a lot of kayaking, camping, and fishing. We’ve come to cherish such adventures together, as a family — they’ve provided us with opportunities to learn together, to rely upon one another, and to experience, in real-time, how the Lord provides.
So there you have it. School continues for us through the summer, because learning is lifelong, and a fount of joy. And through every adventure, we rejoice in God’s kindness toward us, His majesty in creation, and His love for us in Christ.
8 Comments Add yours
Sounds idyllic to me! I have two mottoes as a retired homeschool mom: Real life is educational. and There is no such thing as too many books.
Those are fantastic mottoes, Jeanne! Wise words. 🙂 Love to you
We’ve chosen to homeschool into the summer, at least for this year, and though my kids aren’t complaining, I still feel like a bad mom for doing it sometimes, so this was an encouragement!
My husband and I owned and operated a miniature golf course and birthday party rooms from the time our boys were 2 and 4 until they were about 10 and 12. We always homeschooled year ’round. When my youngest was in about 3rd or 4th grade, he came into the clubhouse from the mini-golf course with a look of disbelief as he announced, “Mom, there are some kids out there [with that summer day camp group] saying they don’t even go to school AT ALL all summer long!” I was like, “Whaaaat?!” Took that many years for them to figure out that public school kids don’t go in the summers while we do. But you know what? They never asked for anything to change. We loved doing homeschool year round, and we did it K-12. What a blessing!
That’s hilarious! Thanks for sharing, Terry!
My kids are 3 and 5 and we are wrapping up preschool for the year. I’ve been talking with my husband about the values of education and entertainment as it pertains to summer. How are we going to spend our time and resources? I desire for them both to have the ability to be creative and enjoy summer without the constant need for the next activity geared towards entertaining. Anyway, love these ideas- especially field art. 🙂
Thanks Melissa! That’s a great way to think about it. Summer’s a great time to give them space to just be kids and explore, but we’ve found having a rhythm and a routine helps too. 🙂