Because Sometimes Learning {Gasp} Stops

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Because Sometimes Learning Stops

Learning never stops. That’s what homeschooling mamas like to say – sometimes in kind of a snippy little way. Don’t get mad. You know it’s true. Sometimes.

If you’re one of those homeschooling mamas (or dads) under whose watch learning (at least the formal variety) really does never stop, move along. There’s nothing to see here.

However, if you’re one of those homeschooling mamas at a house where formal learning comes to a screeching halt on the last day of school before summer break and your kids have entirely too much screen time all summer long and you feel guilty because learning clearly has stopped, read on.

You are not alone, my friend.

Warning: This is one of those posts that is meant to be read with a sense of humor. If you are easily offended – well, if you’re easily offended, you’re probably already offended by the intro. If that didn’t do it, you might want to stop reading now.

And, if you’re one of those people who is going to insist that this is really, truly how homeschooling families “learn” all the time, you should probably stop reading.

Oh, and one other thing, this is intended to be a comical look at our summer break. When we were homeschooling (My kids have all graduated now.) and started school each year in August, never fear – we were back to real, honest-to-Pete learning.

Because Sometimes Learning Stops 

What did we do each summer? How did we keep learning? These are the activities we engaged in each summer during our homeschool years. Because it’s true. Sometimes learning stops.

1. Summer Reading

We did lots of summer reading.

The year my daughter got her first cell phone, its texting memory was at 80% within the first twelve hours. It wasn’t a smartphone, so she had to delete messages – 27 pages of messages – in the online log. She had the summer reading program award in the bag that year, and she’s never really slowed down.

My son wasn’t quite so avid a reader, but he held his own in the summer reading club.

2. Math

Of course, we kept up with math, too. We liked to do consumer math during the summer. Refills on slushies at the local convenience store were $0.29. Tax was included.

“To get my slushie refilled, I’ll need how much money?”

Plus, you know, there was the counting of change. No simple quarters this year. See? Math.

3. Writing

Never fear. Writing was not neglected during the summer either. I often woke up to find sticky notes stuck to my laptop. “Will you get more chips while you’re at the store?” or “Mom, we’re out of Pop-Tarts.”

Oh, and my younger daughter was constantly working on a couple of novels-in-progress, so she spent some time on those. (Yes, seriously. She is her mother’s child.)

4. History

History was always big at our house. Each summer, we included things like, “Why did he/she get to do {fill in the blank with the activity in question + choose from the following: last year, at X-age} and I don’t?”

5. Geography

We went on vacation most summers, so there was travel. We headed to the beach most years. There were a couple of beach programs we took part in, and we sometimes took some side trips on the way home.

Sometimes we included navigational skills in our beach trips. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones where you walk down the beach a loooong way, turn around to come back, and can’t for the life of you find your condo? Did we pass it already? Do we still need to keep walking? Should we call Dad and admit that we have no idea how far away we are so he can come look for us?

6. Science

The kids were on their own for lunch every day. For science, they sniffed containers in the fridge and made hypotheses regarding the contents.

Sometimes they forgot to bring their dirty dishes from their rooms to the kitchen, so there were various experiments involving mold growth. Does mold grow better in the cup of tea I didn’t finish or on the half-eaten sandwich? You know, stuff like that.

7. Digital Media

We observed the works of various producers as well as a variety of genres (TV, movies, and video game production) and mediums (3-D, film, digital animation, etc.). We really liked observing them at the theater with the recliners.

Plus, my kids continued to pursue film-making as they had their own YouTube channels for which they filmed, edited, and produced videos. (Yeah, seriously.)

8. Cultural Anthropology

We studied various subsets of society in their natural surroundings. Our main fields were the mall, the bowling alley, and the swimming pool.

9. Health and Fitness

We did not neglect health and fitness during the summer. We visited the indoor trampoline park, the bowling alley, and the swimming pool. Plus, I got a good workout each afternoon dragging teenagers out of bed.

See? Learning truly does never stop. {ahem}



In what type of learning will you and your family be engaging this summer? (Bonus points if you’re funny!) Is it true that sometimes learning stops during the summer? Or do you keep it going in other ways? Let’s hear it! 

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Loved this. Thanks for your honesty…with a touch of hyperbole! We take a long break in the summer too….can’t make it through the year without time off!! You have a “real” approach to homeschooling that is very refreshing. Thank you for posting, for researching, for writing, and for offering so much practical help.

  2. I enjoy everything you write, but this was one of the best! Spot on! I am glad to know I am not alone!

  3. We’ll be working on music appreciation. Especially when we’re driving around with the windows down and the country music cranked up. πŸ˜‰

  4. Your summer learning program sounds a lot like ours.We are really going to explore how feelings generate responses in the new summer movie–Inside Out. We’re all looking forward to that psychology class! Oh and my children are doing something new this summer, exploring the art of film-making while learning how video games work on You Tube. Art will be a huge thing for my daughter as she watches the art of making doll-size things on “My Froggy Stuff” You Tube channel. Have a great summer of learning.

  5. This post is soooo hilarious!!! We actually school year around. BUT!!! We also spend sometimes an entire month….or two doing nothing. Fortunately, she attends Veritas Academy. They keep us on a decent schedule. For summer though, we brush up on math by letting our daughter ( who is 9) help our staff at our IT store. She maintains her computers skills by bugging the technicians in the workshop, her Minecraft group ar the library, and finding hacks and cheat codes for minecrafting (this leads in to sort of writing). We don’t do fomal science until 6th grade in classical education so she get two weeks of science at kid college during summer. Last year she learned how to make diarrhea out of chocolate, fake bugers (that included a massive buger fight in class), fake vomit, and many more disgusting bodily funtions in just her grossology class alone. She does 5 classes per summer session. We make sure she does plenty of FUN and I suppose GROSS science stuff, physical education stuff-this is karate and basketball. This year she will also make human size bubbles to climb in, in one of her classes. She will even get home ec this summer in her fair grounds sweet class (um, I may sneaak in the back for that-the kids will wonder where all the funnel cakes ran off too ).
    I have 2 adt daughters who also created many science experiments in their rooms . Ha! My oldest had an entrepreneurial spirit so she built my space pages and burned CDs for her friends for small fees. Now she manages a store of mine!!! Thank goodness for learning to stop!!! It frees up plenty of time for the kiddos to get down to their real education.

  6. LOVE IT!
    Learning ends here. I need it to end, because i need a mental break where I am not purposely teaching. Pools, sunshine, family, sigh.
    It’s all learning but do we have to call it that?!

    One of my new favorite posts.

  7. My son is going to keep up on his reading and math skills on his Xbox…Minecraft and Terraria. I guess that also serves as survival skills, lol!!!

    I love the science section that you wrote! I have a teenage son, so yeah, I can relate!!

    Honestly, tho, this blog was a breath of fresh air for me, as so many homeschooling blogs are more eductational-based. Thanks for being real and bringing humor to my day!!

  8. Hey, in our home this type of history and science learning happen year-round, not just over the summer! That must make me a better homeschool mom than you. *snippily*

    Seriously, though, thank you for making me laugh today! If we can’t approach life with a sense of humor, we are to be pitied… πŸ™‚

  9. My kids are 4, 2, and 4 months. They’ll be studying physics (What happens if I push this off the table? How about this?), interpersonal communications (including negotiation techniques such as “But Mama, I want to turn on the hose and make a mud pit NOW”), and human anatomy (Now what happens if I pull on baby’s arm HARD?).

    Good times πŸ™‚

  10. This is great! Chores count as school, too, right? One of the reasons we homeschool year around, but I distinguish between sit down work and everything else. May the learning never stop! πŸ˜‰

  11. I’m with you! I don’t particularly like the “learning never stops” mentality πŸ™ˆ

    School totally stops for the summer here. I used to think I would summer on because my kids don’t like breaks, but now they are at an age where they can go play with their friends ALL DAY since they aren’t in school. And the best part is, I don’t have to go with them 😱 It makes for a pretty sweet summer so far!

  12. Ah, I just love visiting this blog! πŸ™‚ The idea that others really do some of the crazy things we do is comforting! Thanks for this one.

  13. We study botany and sociology in the summer. My 9 year old gets to choose the topic. We do 15-30 minutes a day ALL summer long…. but if you asked him he’d tell you he either weeds the garden or watches his brothers so I can weed the garden. Guess I should add in some higher vocabulary studies for him this summer 😜

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