Homeschooling through the summer has many benefits for your family. Learn how to make summer homeschooling fun and something your kids will look forward to doing!
When you get to the month of May in your homeschool, do you want to yell out, “I am done!”?
“I am done planning, grading, and teaching day after day! I’m exhausted!”
But then you’re a week and a half into summer break, and you notice that your kids seem to be in a contest for who can spend the most time on electronic devices. And it appears they may take home top prize!
So you wonder if maybe you should do the year round schooling that you hear other homeschoolers do. You worry about them forgetting what you taught them this year, the so-called, summer slide.
How can you keep your kids’ minds fresh and unglue their eyes from screens, yet still get a break yourself so you can finally read the book on your nightstand that a spider has created an intricate web around?
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Believe it or not, it is possible to keep your kids occupied on learning activities that don’t require a screen during the summer months. Activities that don’t demand your constant supervision so that you can brush the cobwebs off that book on your nightstand and actually have time to read it.
How to Homeschool through the Summer without Feeling Like You’re Homeschooling
Kids are natural learners. They may not realize it, and may fight the idea as much as a toddler fights a much needed nap, but they actually crave knowledge. Of course, when children hear that they are going to learn about something, they immediately think of schoolwork, worksheets, boring. So they fight it.
However, kids learn through life experiences everyday. Lesson plans aren’t always needed for learning. We don’t need to schedule it on a to do list. Though we certainly can, especially if our state requires documentation to prove learning is taking place. Sometimes it is nice to have planned activities written down. But that doesn’t mean those activities need to come in the form of a worksheet.
Why do homeschool families want to homeschool through the summer? Why not just take a break?
Certainly, there is no rule that says a homeschool family needs to do any schoolwork over the summer. As much as we love spending time with our kids, and love that we have the opportunity to homeschool them, homeschool families also desperately need a break.
We moms need time for ourselves, to flop on the couch with a book just for us. Our kids need time that isn’t planned for them as well. And we absolutely should take at least some time off over the summer to do that. It’s a great way to keep from getting burned out with homeschooling.
However, summertime is also a great time to get some learning done as well. In this post, I’ll share with you reasons why you may want to consider homeschooling over the summer. I’ll also give you ideas of what that can look like so that you can still have fun.
5 reasons families may choose to summer homeschooling
- Catch up from the previous school year.
- Get a head start on next school year.
- Keep consistency in your schedule and structure to your day.
- To prevent the summer slide.
- Have a chance to try something new.
1. Catch up from the previous school year.
Summer gives you a chance to catch up on work that you didn’t get to during the school year. If you added to your family, or had something come up that took time away from your homeschool, then the summer break is a good chance to catch up. Summer learning is also good for children who need more time mastering concepts.
If you are playing catch up over the summer, you may need to continue with the schoolwork that you were using through the year. So your summer homeschooling may look like textbooks and math lessons. And that’s ok. However, do remember that it is summer and that even if you are behind, your kids will be more energized with even a bit of a break. So maybe throw in a few art projects or field trips to spice up the schoolwork.
2. Get a head start on next school year.
Additionally, summertime is the perfect opportunity to begin your homeschool year early. You may want to do this for many reasons. First, starting your homeschool year in the summer allows for more breaks throughout the school year while still getting in the required number of days. We will be starting in July for this reason. I realized throughout last school year that there were times when our days just dragged on. We all wanted a break, but we didn’t want our school year to end any later, so we just trudged on. By starting in July this year, we’ll have room for those breaks.
Another reason to begin early is if you know that your school year will get interrupted. Perhaps this could be because of a new baby or a move. We’ve had both of those reasons cause us to begin our school year in the summer. Knowing how many homeschool days you’ve banked for the current year during the summer months helps put your mind at ease when you have to take time off for things that come up.
3. Keep consistency in your schedule and structure in your day.
Some families don’t take much of a break at all, but just continue with schoolwork everyday. This works well especially for those kids who thrive with structure. Having a homeschool schedule that continues throughout the year helps your children know what to expect each day.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t lighten the work or choose to present it in a different way. Your children can still maintain the school day routine even if your summer homeschool schedule includes shortened days or more hands-on projects. Continue reading below for ideas on changing up your teaching style and fun activities to promote learning during summer months.
4. Help prevent the dreaded summer slide.
When I was a classroom teacher, I would spend the first couple months of school reviewing with my students. It is unreal how much learning is lost over a two to three month summer break. Homeschooling over the summer is a good way to prevent that so-called summer slide.
But the work doesn’t have to be boring or even from a textbook. Get ideas on different activities that prevent the summer slide over at The Unexpected Homeschooler. When you make learning fun for your kids, it doesn’t seem like school. Like I mentioned above, kids thrive on knowledge and have a natural desire to learn. We can encourage that by offering learning opportunities all through the year for them.
5. Have a chance to try something new.
Do you sometimes feel that you have to finish the homeschool curriculum you chose at the beginning of the year? Or that if you don’t have worksheets or tests to show that it somehow doesn’t count? You may feel that you don’t have time for fun hands-on projects or games during the regular school year. Or a chance to try out a new teaching style, like project-based learning or unit studies.
Summertime is the perfect answer for thinking outside the curriculum box! It’s a chance to try out a certain program or life skill without the stress of feeling like you have to count it toward the school year. It can be a time for you, as homeschool teacher, to learn new things as well.
Have you wanted to try your hand at project-based learning, but you haven’t had time to learn about it yourself? Use your summer break to be the student! In this masterclass, you’ll spend just over an hour discovering how project-based learning can be a wonderful addition to your homeschool!
How can you make summer homeschooling fun and enjoyable for you and your kids?
A great way to get your kids interested in summer learning is to make it fun. Doing something different from the norm makes the learning seem more exciting. So what are some ways you can change things up?
Change your teaching method.
Child-led learning is a perfect teaching method for summer homeschooling. It allows children to take control of their learning. They get a chance to study their interests, whether or not it’s on some state checklist for their grade level.
I love using child-led learning in the summer. My kids are quite active, and I don’t always have the energy come summertime to continue to plan daily activities. Letting them choose their own gives me a break and allows them to develop their imaginations.
However, many times they need a little nudging from me on ideas for activities so that they don’t do the same thing day after day. That’s when they tend to get bored and want to glue themselves to a screen all day. So how do I nudge them? I entice them to learn through strewing.
Strewing is a term used when you lay, or strew, books, games or other activities around with the hope that your child will discover it and use the materials. Strewing should be child-led and there should be no expectations on how the child uses the materials. That’s where the real learning takes place! Many times I’ll lay out a game or puzzle on a table, or maybe get out our watercolors, paint brushes and paper. If you’d like more ideas, this post on summer strewing gives shares fun activities your child will enjoy too.
Add in more hands-on projects.
Summer is also a great time to add in more hands-on projects, whether they are child-led or planned by you. Many times throughout the school year, I’ll find fun projects on Pinterest that we don’t have time to add into our days. But we have time in the summer for them!
An awesome summer project that is hands-on and also gets kids outside is a garden. This summer, we are doing a big garden project as part of project-based learning. All my kids, even the preschooler, chose a vegetable and planted it in the garden. They are also helping weed their area. The bigger kids will be researching how long it takes their vegetable to grow and how to harvest it. Then they will plan and prepare a meal (obviously some will need Mom’s help) using their harvest. They are all very excited about it!
Other hands-on ideas, especially with younger children, are sensory bins and playdough trays. We love making homemade playdough. For kids of all ages, educational games are a very fun, hands-on way of learning throughout the summer that doesn’t feel like school at all.
Additionally, my kids love all kinds of art, so we like to spend hot summer afternoons creating art indoors. You can find some ideas of art we enjoy in my post on adding art to your homeschool day. These ideas are still fun to do in the summer, whether you are schooling or not.
You can find eight ideas for hands-on learning activities for kids of all ages to enjoy this summer in this post I shared at iHomeschool Network.
Enjoy online homeschool classes.
Many online homeschool programs offer fun summer learning classes. They are a great way to add in enrichment learning, or try out a program that you’ve been considering for the school year. The best part is that you don’t have to do any planning. You can simply find a class your kids would enjoy, gather the materials for it, and get it set up. Your kids enjoy a fun class while you enjoy a chapter or two in your summer reading.
If you enjoy chalk pastels, You Are an Artist offers amazing video lessons that my kids have loved doing. They even offer a sampler to try out, with a video lesson from each of their courses. Online nature study classes are great when summer heat or thunderstorms keep your kids stuck indoors. You can try a sample class for free. If you have a preschooler or kindergartener, they’ll love to get moving to the online music courses offered by Clap for Classics!
What should your summer homeschool schedule look like?
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 summer homeschooling. You can do this in a few different ways:
- Get the schoolwork done first, then play.
- Work indoors during hot summer afternoons.
- Give your kids freedom to choose their schedule.
- Only homeschool on certain days of the week.
No matter how to choose to setup your summer homeschool schedule, or if you use the summer for homeschooling at all, be sure to allow your kids plenty of time for rest. Make sure they use their imaginations and create wonderful memories of their summer play. Remember that learning doesn’t always have to come from a textbook. Fun, hands-on learning activities will keep your children’s minds fresh yet rested for your school year come fall.
Summer Learning Ideas
Your kids won’t be able to complain that they’re bored when you have the Summer Reading Bingo and Summer Fun at Home Bucket List sheets hanging on your fridge! Download them for free when you sign up as an email subscriber.
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Do you homeschool over the summer? What does it look like? Share in a comment below!