All kids look forward to summer. It’s a time when they can throw their workbooks to the wind and get down to just being a kid. Playing all day or swimming or staying up late (or sleeping in late). And don’t forget the epic sugar buzz of ice cream overload. It’s a special time when kids can unplug themselves from “learning” and just focus on living. Unfortunately, unplugging also means that kids may forget some things they learned- hence the drills and review the following school year.
For homeschooling families, our children may not be scrambling to get out of a desk, but they still may be craving some down time. However, since we set our own schedule, should we homeschool during the summer? It’s a question every homeschooling parent faces.
In fact, I know plenty of homeschooling families that don’t stop, simply because they don’t want to spend valuable time reviewing and playing catch up. Some moms practice light homeschooling during the summer, to keep their children on track (this also hinders resistance to start back). Others do full school days during the summer, taking vacation time sporadically throughout the year. Both ways seem to work; I think it just depends on preference.
The bonus to this is that your kids will stay sharp- as a teacher this is wonderful because you prevent head injuries from beating your face against the wall when they ask what a plus sign is.
The downside? School mode is in the “ON” position most of the year. You don’t get a solid two months to just NOT THINK about schedules and grading worksheets.
I’ve come to terms with reteaching a long time ago. I realized by grade three that there will always be lessons to reteach- even to yourself. I mean, think about it, no one can remember EVERYTHING all the time (well, maybe Einstein could, that intelligent bastard). Even as adults we need refreshers or we struggle trying to remember a math process. So personally, over the summer, I heave the workbooks in the trash (I mean, set them gently in the recycle bin) and we go wild. This isn’t to say that I don’t “teach”: there are always ways to teach children in fun spontaneous ways (click here for more on that), but I don’t dare pick up a curriculum or a planner until I have to!
The summer is sacred, not only for my children, but for me too. It’s my time to tackle bigger projects that I couldn’t quite get to during the school year, like the dark corners of the basement or the back of the coat closet. It’s also when I like to spend more time writing. For us, we happily choose the long stretch of freedom and then we hit it hard during the year. Luckily, I find that the older my kids get, the more info their brains carry over to the next grade.
During the summer, anyone can see their community trying to engage children in educational activities. There are many reading programs and events available for parents to use as fun teaching tools, even if you want to be a slacker like me. And trust me, kids are going to learn, whether they have a workbook or not. By loosening the grip on schedules and planning, we allow natural teaching to come forth and our kids can explore the world around them. Real life experience is golden.
Every homeschooling family is different, you just have to choose which route fits your needs.
How do you spend your summers as a homeschooling family? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!