It’s summer and we are still doing school: school “summer style”! “Brain Drain” happens with a traditional school calendar which requires traditional schools to spend time reviewing forgotten material after a long summer break. One benefit of homeschooling is that the learning never has to stop, and at our house it rarely does. But it does change when warmer weather arrives. For my out-of-the-box kids, the biggest reason we do school in the summer, in addition to avoiding the brain drain, is for the routine. My kids work best with the routine that school brings. The predictability of a schedule is subconsciously calming both for them and for me. It’s just me and my kids everyday no matter if its July, October or March. School is a part of our routine so stopping that routine based on the calendar doesn’t work for us: everyone starts getting bored, causing problems and developing bad attitudes.
WHAT we do for summer schooling
During the summer months we don’t do the same full schedule we do during the traditional school year. This year I have a different summer focus for each kid. Overall we stick to the basics: reading, writing and math, along with plenty of discovery. They earn the prizes for summer reading programs at the library. I’m most focused on my incoming kindergartner’s reading as he is making great progress and I don’t want to lose the momentum. We are continuing to work through All About Reading Level 1 for him. I don’t choose books for my fluent readers like I do during the school year. It’s all their choice.
We also do journal writing. Having a son with weak hands and fine motor delays means that it’s important to keep practicing, so everyone hand writes in their journal. Sometimes I ask them to write about an adventure we had recently, but most of the time it’s their choice. My incoming kindergartner is working through Kick Start Kindergarten from Handwriting Without Tears. For math, I’m focused on my oldest as the times tables haven’t been sticking like they need to. So we are taking the summer to do extra practice. My boys are doing logic puzzles and lots of counting.
Doing all these things on a given morning for all 3 kids might take 45 minutes, maybe an hour if I feel ambitious and we add a read-aloud book to the mix. We do these things and then we get on with our day however we choose, but it gives us something to feel accomplished about during the lazy days of summer.
What we DON’T do in Summer schooling
We don’t let school rule our summer. We let life and summer fun take priority over schoolwork. The kids go to day camps and VBS a few of the weeks and we meet up with friends at the pool. But the weeks we don’t have any plans we do some schooling to keep us busy. We don’t use the time to catch up or get ahead in our curriculum. We take extra time to be outside and explore our own backyard. Learning happens when we plant new flowers and watch them grow, and get books to help us learn more about the severe summer storms that make us change our plans. Thunder and Tornadoes are new to my Florida born kids.
Summer is a great time for trying new things and shaking the routine. Everyone including mom can take some time to relax. A loose routine can create a comfortable structure for everyone to relax without totally abandoning everything good from the school routine.