Learn how to create a summer homeschool schedule that balances summer learning with fun and relaxation for you and your kids.
The sun reflects off the pool water, enticing you to jump in and cool off.
You and your kids look longingly outside, mesmerized by the sparkling light from the reflections.
Then you all collectively sigh because you still have math, science, and handwriting to finish.
You wonder how to enjoy the summer when you also have schoolwork that needs done.
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Homeschooling through the summer doesn’t have to be something you and your kids dread. You absolutely can enjoy the sunshine and find time to relax, even while learning. You just need to create a balance between learning and fun. A summer homeschool schedule for your kids makes it simple to find that balance.
How to Create a Simple Summer Schedule for Kids
Whether you’re homeschooling through the summer or just don’t want to be bombarded with “Mom, I’m bored!” all summer long, a summer schedule helps keep everyone focused. You and your kids are used to the structure of your homeschool year. While it’s nice to have summer days that are not scheduled or goal-oriented, too many of these days can lead to boredom, wild kids, and a messy house that no one wants to get off the couch to clean.
We usually finish our homeschool year in May. I like taking the rest of that month and usually all or most of June to just relax with no set schedule. However, I don’t want my kids glued to a screen all day either. I find, with my kids, that bad attitudes and being prone to fighting are much worse with large amounts of screen time. So I like to set up a basic schedule, or routine, for our summer.
Even better than a schedule with set times, a summer routine works well for giving you and your kids some direction to your days. No times, just a routine for chores, meals, learning activities and free time. So how can you set that up?
What should your summer homeschool schedule/routine look like?
First, let’s look to setting up some time for learning activities. Even if you don’t want to do formal schoolwork with your kids, it’s still good to have them exercise their minds over break. We don’t tend to do much summer homeschooling until July, but I still have expectations of daily reading the rest of summer.
No matter what your summer learning activities look like, remember to leave time for free play and relaxing. Your kids have worked hard through the school year, and so have you! So reward yourselves with shortened schedules for schoolwork. You can do this in a few different ways:
- Get the schoolwork done first thing in the morning.
- Work indoors during the hot summer afternoon.
- Give your kids the freedom to choose their own schedule.
- Only do learning activities on certain days of the week.
Get the schoolwork done first.
One way to set up a shortened schedule is to get the schoolwork done first. Spending just a couple of hours in the morning for schoolwork leaves the entire afternoon and evening free for activities of your child’s choosing. Plus, your kids will be motivated to get their work done if they know the rest of the day is theirs after they finish!
Work indoors during hot summer afternoons.
Depending on where you live, summer afternoons may be too hot to comfortably play outside. So doing lessons or learning activities during that time is a great way to fit them in, yet leave the cooler mornings for outdoor play. Indoor learning is also good when thunderstorms and other bad weather keep you inside.
Give your kids freedom to choose their schedule.
A final option for shortening your homeschool day is to let your children choose their summer schedule. Begin with a checklist of what needs completed in a day. But then allow your child to decide when the work gets done.
Perhaps your early riser prefers to get their schoolwork done right away. However, your night owl would rather do their work after dinner. As long as the work is completed, then they are allowed to do it when they desire. However, if their work is not getting done, then mom gets to decide when they work.
Only homeschool on certain days of the week.
In addition to shortening your homeschool days, you can also shorten your homeschool week. Perhaps you only work on Tuesdays through Thursdays, leaving Mondays and Fridays open for free time, field trips, or long weekends away.
Alternatively, you can shorten the weeks that you do summer homeschooling. Take several weeks off after your regular school year ends. This gives you and your kids some time to relax after working so hard during your homeschool year. This works especially well if you don’t need to catch up, but are starting your school year early.
Summer Learning Ideas
Are you looking for more ideas of fun summer learning? When you sign up to join my email community, you can download Summer Reading Bingo and Summer Fun at Home Bucket List sheets to hang on your fridge to help you out.
Download my FREE list of summer learning ideas as a bonus for joining my newsletter: Summer Fun at Home Bucket List and Summer Reading Bingo
What Our Summer Schedule Looks Like
Our summer homeschooling looks different each year, depending on what is going on in our lives. Some years it’s starting school in July to plan for a new baby, a move, or a fall vacation. Other years, our summer homeschooling looks more like unschooling and lots of hands-on fun. Much of the summer learning takes place outside as often as possible. We always incorporate quiet reading into our days. When we can, we’ll enjoy movies based on those books during stormy afternoons or family movie nights.
This coming school year, we’re going to do more project-based learning. Since it’s something new, I’m trying it out over the summer so that I can get more familiar with it. Summer is a great time to try new teaching styles that you are interested in adding to your homeschool. We’re giving it a try with a summer long gardening unit of project-based learning.
Summer is also a great time to try something new or fit in learning you didn’t get to during the school year. For example, all last year I wanted to add in cooking skills lessons to our homeschool schedule, but it never seemed to work out. So I figure summer will be a perfect time to get it started.
Example of Our Summer Homeschool Schedule/Routine
The routine below is an example of our summer days when we are not doing any formal schoolwork, besides working in the garden for our project-based learning. This includes part of May when our school year ends and June. My kids are always welcome to do art projects, play games, read, or do any other kind of educational activities whenever they’d like.
Early Summer Routine: No Summer Homeschooling
- Morning: I allow my kids to wake up at their leisure. It’s always much earlier than I’d like, but they usually like to head outside first thing to play while it’s cooler. On days I allow screen time, they don’t usually get more than a couple of hours. Occasionally they’ll choose to use that time watching a movie in the morning. This is also the time they’ll do any necessary weeding or watering of their section of the garden for our summer project.
- Lunch Break: During the summer, we don’t have a set time for lunch. However, my kids do have to help make lunch, eat at the table, and help clean up. Usually this is a time they complete any chores for the day. I refuse to spend all day in the kitchen while my kids lounge on couches watching TV!
- Afternoon: We fit in quiet reading after lunch as a way to calm down and relax for a bit. Then around 90 minutes to 2 hours of the afternoon is spent in quiet time. My youngest is currently giving up naps, but he still needs time alone to rest or play quietly in his room. However, he also tends to get into trouble by messing up his brothers’ rooms when left alone upstairs. To solve that problem, I decided to have all of the boys do a quiet time in their rooms. Sometimes my older boys will use this time to read or play Legos, other times I’ll allow them to play educational games on their parent-controlled Chromebooks.
- Late Afternoon/Evening: This time is always a free time for the kids. They may choose to play outside or play games inside. Occasionally it’ll include a TV show.
Late Summer Routine: Light Summer Homeschooling
I like having flexibility to take time off during the regular school year, but we are required to fit in 180 days per state law. To do that, we’ll have some formal school days starting in July. Lesson-wise, I do plan for our work to include our morning basket plus math. I also want to do a unit study of some sort, perhaps something from our new history time period for the year. Summer learning usually includes a lot of input from my kids, another way I try to keep it fun for them.
- Morning: I will still allow my children to wake at their leisure when we start formal schoolwork. However, we’ll try to start our lessons by 10 a.m. This should give them plenty of time for outside play while it’s still cooler. And it gives me a chance to enjoy coffee in peace! I only plan to schedule our morning basket during this time, lasting around 90 minutes.
- Lunch Break: Again, my kids will help prepare and clean up lunch. Then they’ll get free time to play for awhile. We do this during the school year as well, which is a nice chance to move around after morning learning.
- Afternoon: I like to continue some form of quiet time, even if it’s shortened from the early summer length of time. However, this will also be time for my boys to work on math. They’ve really enjoyed using online math curriculum this past year, so we’ll continue with that over the summer. Quiet reading will also take place during the afternoon. It’s so hot here in July that they don’t like being outside at this time anyway.
- Late afternoon/Evening: This time will be free for them. It may occasionally include some TV time, but usually it’s a great time to spend outside. Soccer practices will also begin taking up some of this evening time at the end of summer.
This late summer routine will help us ease back into our regular homeschool schedule once we start back up full time.
Your summer homeschool schedule does not have to be complicated or overwhelming to create. It is simply a way to organize your day into a routine that keeps everyone relaxed and free from boredom, including mom. Summer learning that can be incorporated into this time is a great addition. But balance that learning with time to enjoy the sparkling water of the pool, lazy days reading on the porch, and just having fun with your kids.