Maybe just the thought of instituting a “summer homeschool” makes you cringe, but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play!
Although it may sound counterintuitive, homeschooling year-round can actually help your kids stay focused and energized on learning. Some families choose to homeschool in the summer so their children don’t fall behind or step backward in the fall to restart.
So how do you implement a summer homeschool schedule that your kids won’t fight? Here’s how homeschool veterans in the Kansas City area make it work:
Lighten the subject load and times.
Many families will choose two or three subjects (math, spelling, grammar, etc.), once or twice a week. Rainy or super hot days are generally the best times for doing schoolwork!
Class subjects don’t have to be all heavy. One homeschool mom chose to teach her kids cursive over last summer, and she’s planning to work on Spanish this year.
Consider changing up the schedule.
While some homeschoolers keep the same schedule and routine even during the summer, others make adjustments based on the weather.
One family has outside play in the morning when it’s cooler, saving school for the hottest part of the day.
Introduce incentive programs.
Does your child prefer going to the pool instead of doing algebra? Ice cream floats over sentence diagrams? Seriously, who wouldn’t prefer those?
Instead of making it an either-or, some clever homeschool families do both. Special field trips, day visits and food treats are earned summer privileges, based on how well the children complete their summer work. As one mom writes, “No work, no privileges.”
One mom’s incentive program involves letting the kids choose one weekday where they’re free of all chores and school … except for reading!
Think outside the classroom.
Looking for extra PE classes? Summer swim lessons at the pool!
Field trips are also a great excuse to get out of the house and have fun … while learning at the same time. Arts and crafts can also serve as educational tools (just don’t tell your kids it’s school credit).
Sometimes even something like a short, engaging math and science lab for homeschool teens can help keep your children busy while preparing for future subjects in the fall. And don’t forget VBS for younger kids!
Know when to take a rest.
Of course, it is summer, so if your kids are begging for a break, you might consider just giving it to them.
One homeschool mom lets her kids take the first three weeks of July off, but they still study during June and August to help prevent “summer brain drain.”
Keep these summer tips in mind!
- Stay hydrated: Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when playing outside or engaging in physical activities.
- Stay cool: Help your child beat the heat by staying in shaded areas during peak sun hours (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Plan indoor activities or visit air-conditioned places during the hottest part of the day.
- Dress appropriately: Give your child loose, lightweight, breathable clothing to keep them cool and comfortable. Choose light-colored clothing that reflects the sun’s rays.
- Be cautious around water: If your child is near water, ensure their safety by always supervising them. Teach them about water safety rules and encourage the use of life jackets or appropriate flotation devices.
- Stay active: Summer is a great time for kids to be active and engage in physical activities. Encourage them to participate in outdoor games, sports, or even family hikes. Limit screen time and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Explore nature: Go on nature walks, visit parks, or plan outdoor picnics. Teach them about plants, animals, and the environment.
- Encourage reading: Summer is a fantastic opportunity for your child to develop their reading skills. Set aside time for daily reading, either alone or as a family. Visit the local library and let them choose books that interest them.
- Try new hobbies: Encourage your child to explore new hobbies or interests during the summer break. It could be anything from painting, cooking, gardening, or learning to play a musical instrument.
- Family time: Summer is a great time to strengthen family bonds. Plan regular family activities or outings that everyone can enjoy together. It could be a movie night, a family bike ride, or a weekend camping trip.
Remember, every child is different, so adapt these tips to suit your child’s interests, age, and abilities. Enjoy the summer and create lasting memories with your family!
We have updated this blog post, originally published in June 2015, for timeliness and detail.
What strategies and tips have you found helpful for summer homeschool? Let us know in the comments!