by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
When you hear “summer break” do you cringe? Would you rather keep going without taking off for the entire summer? Don’t fret; you’re not alone. Plenty of other homeschoolers keep right on going through the summertime. Granted, summer doesn’t always look like the regular school year. Still, you may feel like an oddball (or the “mean mom”) if your kids are surrounded by others who are taking the summer off. Here are some tips to help smooth the transition into summer learning:
- Create a fun summer reading list. If your kids are heavy readers, this may not be a problem at all. However, if they only crack open books when you make them, they may be more motivated by participating in a summer reading challenge. Stores such as Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million offer special summer reading challenges. Most public libraries also have reading challenges each summer. From these challenge lists, you can create a super fun summer reading list for your kids to devour!
- Make room for a break! Summer is certainly a popular time to take vacations and special field trips. If you’re stumped about where to go, start local – local farms, bakeries, museums, historical sites, and town attractions. If you have more time available, consider taking a mini-vacation.
- Have lots of fun in the kitchen. Whether you’re cooking and baking or growing new science projects, the kitchen is often the hub of homeschooling activities. After taking a trip to the farmer’s market, come home and freeze quarts of strawberries, make some jam, and toss in a strawberry pie while you’re at it. Or, your kids may enjoy doing some fun science experiments.
- Explore learning. If you’re new to homeschooling, you may be using the summer as a “trial” to “see how it goes.” Keep in mind, though, that summer isn’t reflective of the way it’d always be during the school year. That said, consider exploring different ways of learning with your students. Instead of just using workbooks and lesson plans, try more relaxed methods like unit studies and lapbooks. Really take the time to absorb things and help your children learn to appreciate learning versus simply regurgitating facts.
- Find your homeschool community. At times, homeschooling can feel like a lonely path. This is especially true when all of your children’s friends attend school and their parents all know each other. If you’re one of the only homeschoolers you know, you may feel even more isolated during the summer months. Take comfort in knowing you’re not the only homeschooler around! However, you may have to branch out a little and find other homeschoolers in your community. Whether through a co-op or homeschool support group, it’s vital to make those in-person connections.
Homeschooling during the summer months may feel like bucking against the tide, but you’re not alone. The key is to find a groove that works for your family structure. Hopefully, these tips will help you make a smoother transition.