Monday, May 20, 2013

Homeschool Monday - Summer School

"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.

Kind of.

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.


Jon Benjamin said...

We unschoolers, so official "lessons" are very light anyway during the year. So we keep it up all year. If anything, I almost "pick up the pace" over the summer.

I'm giving the kids a 2 week vacation starting today. (We passed our portfolio review today, so that is their reward). During this break, I'm making plans for next academic year.

Then we'll start with 20 minutes of reading per kid, plus a light load of Writing Projects. I'm signing them up for the Public Library "Summer Reading Program." I'm hoping competition between the siblings will encourage even more reading beyond "school work."

Summer is also when I feel like doing cool Science and History Projects. The 150 anniversary of Gettysburg happens this summer- so that will be a unit project. My husband wants to do Astronomy. So that will probably be some serious star gazing.

Summer means fun and fun in our house is usually that Mom and Dad want to learn new stuff too.

Jon Benjamin said...

That was Abigail Benjamin, not Jon.

Amelia said...

We school all year, but take time off as needed. We're moving next week, so this week we're going super light (plus, we're pretty much at the end of our books). We're also going to be moving again, later this summer, so we'll take time off for that. And, we'll have relatives visiting for about 2 weeks, so we'll take time off for that.

Basically we just school all year, taking time off when needed, without regard to the calendar or season or whateve.r

cathmom5 said...

My goal is to try to finish out the lessons/books by the time Boy Scout camp rolls around the first week of June. That doesn't always happen. So, like you said, I decide as it comes up. A lot of times, I just drop the rest of the work and start again in August. We have a lot of camps, science museum trips, early movies, the zoo, swimming, and fun things to do. My daughter's week in the hospital and subsequent central line treatment for several weeks last summer curtailed too much of that, so this year we're having a fun summer.

Sew said...

Oh my gosh. Scaring me!!!!! :)

Allison said...

They read and do "science" all the time anyway; we do math when the weather's bad, and soften the blow with a rented movie in the late afternoon!

Anonymous said...

We're finished when they finish they're books too and we've done it all different ways but my favorite is to ask each kid to pick something they want to learn over the summer and focus on that plus keeping up with math. I usually make a plan of fun stuff I want to work on too. Plus books I want to read and read aloud.

This year, the oldest choose Sign Language; 12yo exercise/running; 7yo Spanish, and the babies will just be along for the ride. I'm going to have the kids work on Scratch ( with me also.

Angie Petrolia said...

We finish when the books are finished. This year is the first year we're schooling after Easter (my oldest are 2nd grade, so I know it'll change as they get older). They still have quiet reading time every day during the summer. Other than that we do "sewing school" and all the art projects they want.

elizabeth said...

we keep on keeping on with math.
i doubt they'll stop reading because it's summer. and i plan on having a "one letter to an older relative/week" from the older kids.

Barbara C. said...

This Friday is our last day of the semester. Then they get two weeks off. We do math practice over the summer, and sometimes a little something extra.

My soon-to-be 5th grader has to learn cursive this summer. When we put her in regular school they let her slide on cursive this year, but I promised she would have it for next year.

My soon-to-be 2nd grader needs to freshen up on her lower case letters manuscript. And I think I might try to work more with my soon-to-be kindergartener on phonics.

But I try to keep the work under 30 minutes each day, and we skip if we have something fun planned.