SPED Homeschool Team
There is no one right way to keep your children learning during the summer. For this reason, we thought we would give you a glimpse into what the summer looks like in each of our homeschools and how we each uniquely continue homeschool learning in the summer. Hopefully our examples will help you embrace the specific needs of your family as you develop the best way to keep your children learning and growing.
Our Unique Homeschool Summer Learning Paths
For the summer, we continue on in our schooling. We take some days and weeks off as we have family events and need some time off. However, my son does better with some structure and routine, so keeping up our academics helps. This also keeps him from having any lost skills over long breaks. We tend to focus on the basics—math, reading, and such. We also enjoy time outdoors and going swimming!
This summer will be a little different as I will also be working. It will be interesting to see how everything lines up and if our plans change some. However, I love the idea of continuing year round so that I don’t have to worry about needing to take time off during the school year for any reason. If that happens, we won’t be behind because we have spent time together learning as a family throughout the year!
Summer learning for our family has always been more of an unschooling approach between lots of planned activities at camps, church, and classes offered locally in our community. I guess you could say we spent a lot of that time working on social skills as my children dove into delight-directed learning which made them push through the social barriers they often found inhibiting. Additionally, our family is also big into camping so sometimes over half of our summers were spent at one or more campgrounds living in our RV while exploring God’s great creation and the lessons that awaited us outside our door each morning.
For me I needed a large chunk of down-time from teaching just to make it through the rest of the year, so this yearly break was not only good for my children but also for my mental well-being after been closed up in a house in Minnesota most of the 9 months we were homeschooling. Yes, we did end up having to do some catch-up on forgotten skills over those summer months, but on the flip side my children expanded their learning in many areas that they would not have been expanded if we had not made time for them to participate in very different learning environments during the summer.
My children have so many fond memories of our homeschooling summers. As we finish up our homeschooling years with our youngest in high school, we have plans to keep this tradition going. Our youngest is already signed up for 2 teen art camps, a week long camp with our church, and a week at iGoven run by Generation Joshua this summer. It will be busy, but as always we are all looking forward to the change of scenery and pace in our homeschool learning.
“It seems that each year our summers have looked a lit bit different, depending on what we’ve needed at the end of that school year.“
We school year round but our activities change. For example during the typical school year we are involved in a homeschool co-op, a Speech and Debate club and homeschool handbell and vocal choir. We utilize our co-op for history, science and various electives. At home we add in math, Bible and lots of life learning. All in all 4-5 hours per day
We do school in the summer by continuing math, reading, art and a mini-course. Since our co-op ends at the end of April. I do a mini-course for the month of May and 2 weeks into June. This year we are knocking out Government and Personal Finances. This lightens up the pressure of finishing everything during the school year and gives us something to do on the scorching hot Texas summer days.
It seems that each year our summers have looked a lit bit different, depending on what we’ve needed at the end of that school year. For many years, we tackled hands-on science, art, music and some of the subjects that didn’t get as much attention during the school year. Other years, we’ve focused on motor skills with lots of physical activity.
One thing I do every time we have an extended break (Christmas or summer) is to have my kids fill out a “bucket list.” These lists include any projects they want to tackle, skills they want to learn (painting, computer coding, bike riding, scooter tricks, etc.), crafts they want to make, and places they want to visit. I limit how many of the activities they can write down that depend on me, and the rest of the ideas are things they can initiate on their own. Our “bucket lists” serve several purposes. First, it’s my reference point for the “I’m bored” complaint. Anytime my kids come to me looking for something to do, I send them back to their bucket list. Also, it gives my kids a chance to work on some executive function skills of self-managing their time and tasks. These bucket lists also give us an idea of our priorities for our break to be a satisfying one: if we can’t get to everything on the list, the kids decide which activities are most important.
The freedom that homeschooling offers, allows each of our families the ability to make accommodations which can also be extended into our summer months for what works best for each of our children as well as our families as a whole. Whatever that looks like, embrace that path and all that awaits you as you take on homeschool learning in the summer with your children.