When I was a kid, I loved summer vacation! The days were longer; I could play outside, sleep in, and watch cartoons whenever I wanted too. I have very fond memories of my summer vacations.
Then, I began homeschooling. At first, we had summer vacation like everyone else, but once I began reading up on blogs, I saw that so many others continued with the “book” learning during the summer. I felt like we were the odd ones out. So, I tried setting aside one or two days a week for the kids to do “book” work. Half the time they did it, half the time they didn’t
Then, last year we started school a full 2 weeks before our typical time. This was for a variety of reasons, one of which being that I didn’t want a LONG summer break to cause them to forget all they were learning. That school year seemed long. Too long. Yes, we took breaks when we wanted to, but knowing we started in July and didn’t finish until May sounded like we were in school for way too long!
So, I have made the decision that we are NOT year round schoolers. We are NOT a family that will have the books open during summer. We are traditional schoolers in the sense that we will follow the typical school schedule of August to May. And, guess what? I am okay with that. Homeschooling allows me to have that flexibility and to pick our own schedule. The schedule that works for us just happens to be similar to one that the brick and mortar schools use too.
Does that mean that Summer Learning doesn’t happen? No! I believe that learning happens every day, and we tend to be more “unschoolers” during the summer. Here is what Summer Learning looks like at our home.
Cooking: My oldest loves helping me in the kitchen and we have more time to do this when our noses are not in the books!
4-H: My oldest is also completing her first year of 4-H. Our lessons have consisted of health, family and sewing. We have actually learned quite a bit! My middle is enjoying another year of cloverbuds, and will do projects with her group throughout the summer.
Summer Camps: Music camp, Bible School, Church Camp, Cloverbud Camp, all of these consist of fun, fellowship and learning!
Summer Reading: We participate in the libraries summer reading program each year. Plus, not being “in the books” means more time to read for pleasure!
Homeschool Gardening: Our homeschool group started a community garden with another local organization and will be working on it throughout the summer. The kids got to plant their own sunflower, herbs, radishes, and peas. They haven’t killed them yet-which is a huge plus!
Playing: Free time to swing, ride bikes, swim, play in the creek, fish, visit family, all of these are great learning experiences!
Short Trips: We visit the lake, go to amusement parks, hike, see local attractions (Serpent Mound is on our list to visit this summer, as is Amish country). Trips locally with our family give our kids a taste of our states History and geography while spending quality time together as a family.
If you homeschool I encourage you to find a summer routine that works for you! If it means hitting the books during the summer, go for it! If it means you want to take a summer off and be more traditional-that is okay too! Find what works for you-and go for it! Either way your children will still be learning.
What does Summer Learning look like in your home?