One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that we get to choose our own schedule. When we decided to give this thing a try 8 years ago, we would be pulling both our young boys out of public school. I had teaching experience and had even taught both boys to read and write before they entered kindergarten, but I wasn’t sure I could do it.
My doubts included things like: Would they take it seriously? Would I know what to teach them? Was I going to turn them into uneducated weirdos? (Yes, on the weirdos part. I’m quite proud.)
I discussed it with their father, probably to the point of distraction, and we decided to have a summer test course. I chose science because we could do a lot of outdoor science projects that would ease them into learning from me.
And you know what? They learned. They took it seriously. It was the best six weeks of my life up to that point.
Summer Homeschooling Perks
We dove into homeschooling entirely the following year and have never regretted it.
The result of that first summer is that we decided to keep doing a six-week summer science course. And that left us with extra time to take off during the traditional school year. So we take two weeks off at Thanksgiving and Christmas and get an extra week off in February when I’m suffering from the winter blahs.
Can I just tell you how much that break helps me get through the winter months?
The boys have never complained about having school during the summer. They get five weeks off before summer school begins and five weeks off after it ends, and they really don’t mind having lessons in between.
How to Homeschool Through Summer
We kept the science portion of our program through their elementary school years, but once the boys hit middle and high school, we started adding history and other subjects.
And always, always we read.
I still read aloud to them, even though they are entering the 8th and 10th grades this summer. It gives us an opportunity to have deep discussions about our books and follow rabbit trails such as politics, sociology, history, and psychology. That’s the good stuff.
If you want to homeschool through summer here are some tips:
Have shorter days. The boys and I have lessons for about 2 hours during summer school, but they are concentrated and pack a punch.
Choose topics that truly interest your kids. You’re asking them to do school at a time when all the public school kids are having fun. Teaching about things they truly want to learn is going to ease their pain.
Have class outside as often as possible. When we studied dragonflies and butterflies one year, we threw a blanket down on the edge of our meadow and had class there. That way we could actually see the insects in their natural habitat while we studied.
We always read outside during the summer, too, preferably early in the morning under a shade tree. If you’ve chosen a science topic to study, find some projects you can do outdoors. It feels less like school and more like fun that way. And they’re still learning!
Don’t press your regular schedule. We still do school during the morning during the summer, but I’m not so strict about them being seated and ready to go at 8 am. It’s summertime, it’s a more relaxed atmosphere, so if they want to sleep in a bit, I let them.
Take field trips. Summer is the best time for outdoor field trips. Try the zoo, a living museum, a bird or animal sanctuary, or the local forestry’s nature center. We love that those fun trips totally count as school.
We’ve found that homeschooling in summer is more fun, and often more educational, than our traditional homeschool year. Because it’s more relaxed, we get to bond even more as a family by injecting so much liveliness into our learning.
Plus, we get that week off in February.
Do you school through the summer? What does it look like for your family?