"Do you take a summer vacation?"
I get asked that question all the time during April and May. Homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike are endlessly fascinated, it seems, by summertime plans.
I find that non-homeschooling people are surprised to find out that there is no real consensus on this subject. Each family does their own sort of thing, and they may not even do the same thing from year-to-year. It evolves with your children, their ages, and the situation we're in.
Our family has tried it all. We've had normal breaks, and partial breaks. We've schooled at the way through the summer, and taken off just the month of July. We've tried half school days and schooling only three days a week. In the end, here's what works for us:
We follow a regular school schedule until the kids are at the end of their school books. One was done a week ago and the rest will finish by the end of June. When they're done with their books, they're done for the year.
Because math and foreign languages are so easy to forget, and we don't want to have to review material in the fall, my children keep on with these two lessons throughout the summer. Also, my kindergartener will keep doing his reading lessons every day. We do these in a much more informal manner. Math and Spanish for the big kids are on the computer. They can do them at any time of the day that they choose, but aren't free to play until they are done. This means that most of the kids will sit down at the computer for an hour as soon they get up or right after breakfast. It's extremely rare for math and Spanish to not be done by 9am. As for reading with my little one - I move his primer in by my bed. When he's done with breakfast, we snuggle under the covers and he reads.
So, that's what's happening this summer at our house. What's going on at yours? Inquiring minds want to know.