Are you ready for a fun-filled summer of learning? Hang on, WHAT? You’re probably thinking summer is for relaxing and recharging. And you’re right, but adding a few minutes of learning each morning to your summer relaxing routine is enough to keep your student’s brains whirring till fall! Perhaps, you’re on the fence about full-on homeschooling and just want to give it a try this summer. Whatever your situation, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to make summer homeschooling successful.
Tips for Successfully Homeschooling During the Summer
If you’re going to homeschool through the summer months, you’ll want to tweak a few things first. While it’s somewhat similar to homeschooling during the school year, there are a couple of adjustments you can make to ensure this time goes smoothly.
- Toss the word “school.” Summer learning is just that: learning. Learning doesn’t have to involve school at all because true learning takes place all the time. That said, your kids may balk at the mere mention of the word “school.” We all know kids look forward to a “summer break,” especially as they hear their friends talking about being finished with school for the year.
- Don’t forget to take a break. Even if it’s just for one week, it’s a good idea to give yourself and the kids a few days to do nothing. Before you dive into structured summer learning, take a little time to relax and destress. If you don’t, you may end up feeling burnout before you’re even halfway through the summer.
- Incorporate FUN into your days. It is the summer, after all! Summer is a new season offering things some other seasons don’t – such as opportunities to be outside. Because of this, summer homeschooling can look different from homeschooling the rest of the year. Kids can complete workbooks during the summer or you can make things easier on yourself by having them do some online summer courses. You can do summer homeschooling indoors or take the learning outside and into the backyard. For that matter, you can bring it to the park or even the beach. Over the summer, try shifting your focus to a more relaxed approach and the fun ideas will start flooding your mind!
- Let your kids help plan your activities. When it comes to summer learning, you’re in competition with this idea that summer is a time to do very little academically. To ensure cooperation, take a minute to ask for your kids’ input. What would they like to do this summer? What would they like to learn? Do they have any specific learning goals for the summer? If so, have them write down those goals and use them to make your summer learning plan. Following your child’s direction may not be an option during the regular school year, but perhaps this summer you’ll have more freedom to do so.
- Participate in a challenge – or create one! Rewards and incentives often help motivate kids. Public libraries usually have summer reading challenges as do bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million. You can also find some fun teen summer reading challenges online. In addition to signing your kids up for these, you can create your own summer learning challenges. Take the goals your kids write down and talk about what it will take to reach those goals. You can then use a printable incentive chart to add the milestones your kids must hit along the way. As kids reach those milestones, take time to celebrate each one. Then, celebrate completing the chart and reaching the goals.
- Adjust your schedule. One of the best parts about summer homeschooling is that it has so much more room for flexibility than the regular school year. Take advantage of this! You probably don’t have near as much to squeeze into the day as you do during the regular school year, so enjoy the perks! Let the kids sleep a little later, eat a leisurely breakfast, and enjoy the mornings as you sip on coffee and slowly wake up. Should you start your day with a library trip or workbooks? That’s totally up to you! Some days, you’ll want to start with some backyard fun while it’s still cool, and homeschool after lunch. There’s nothing wrong with that; that’s the beauty of summertime homeschooling.
- Leave room for spontaneity. Because it’s the summer, you’ll probably receive invitations to hang out with friends and family members. When you adjust your schedule, don’t forget to save room for these fun events. You don’t want your schedule to be so packed that you’re not able to take advantage of such opportunities. It might help to block off a portion of the day – say, 10:00am-1:00pm – as “open” so you can make plans with people.
- Scope out your town. Since summer is traditionally a time to take off from school, your community may have scheduled events around town. Check the public libraries, farmers’ markets, parks and recreation departments, theaters, zoos, and civic centers. These places often have free or low-cost events you can attend. Once you find out what’s on their schedule you can plan some of your summer homeschooling around those activities and use them to culminate your learning.
For instance, if you find out your local zoo is doing a spotlight on jungle animals in a few weeks, you can plan a unit study based on those animals. Head to the library to check out some books on the types of animals they’ll have in their exhibit. Then, choose one or two animals to really focus on and have your kids do age appropriate assignments on those animals. See if Netflix has anything available that would complement your studies and check YouTube for free documentaries on the animals. By the time the zoo exhibit rolls around, your kids will be experts on the animals they chose and will eagerly anticipate seeing those animals in person!
Summertime homeschooling may be quite different from what you do during the regular school year. But that’s the point! With a little bit of planning, you can turn summer into a joyous way of homeschooling for everyone. Bonus: you’ll probably never hear your kids tell you they’re bored!