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Summer is here.
Well, it’s practically here.
Does it mean a break from normal homeschooling routines?
Does it mean a short break and back to work in hot weather?
Whether you school year round,
or school on a conventional calendar,
summer usually means some sort of change in the routine.
Let’s talk about summer routines!
Reasons for the Summer Learning Routine
What’s the big deal you may ask?
Do my kids and even teens really need a summer routine?
Yes, and no.
- Some find their kids need structure- whether there is formal learning or not
- Some require skills practice- to avoid the summer slide
- Some must learn all the time- my kids get restless and one cannot function if he’s not pressing his knowledge envelope. Constantly.
- Everyone benefits from extended time in project work- the chance to explore. Encourage your kids to explore by allowing uninterrupted time within a routine.
Reasons can change. Students’ needs change. Kids grow.
Our summers look different now than they did when our kids were small.
There’s no need to fill summer or break days.
Rather, we take the time to be purposeful about a few things
and let the rest of our time be more relaxing.
Our Summer Learning Routines
Summer learning routines at our house
vary from year to year.
It depends on the skills my kids are working on
or our other plans for the summer.
We often allow for what my kids want to pursue
during their extended time off from
more formal studies.
- Math– a typical summer topic is math. Either to continue to advance or to keep skills fresh.
- Read Alouds– we take them on location to enjoy a nice spot outdoors or we cool off on the sofa and relax in a story world together.
- Games– lots and lots and lots of games. Long games, short games, easy games, hard games. All the games.
- Summer Fun– like the pool, mostly in the evening after the sun is less strong. Creek walking is another favorite.
- Reading Challenge– personal challenges, most often set by my kids but sometimes they need a few suggestions from me. If the challenge isn’t going well, I will conference with that student and make some changes. Nothing is set in stone. If something isn’t working, switch it up!
- Project Time– Summer is a fantastic time to let your students loose on a project of their own. We have the 4-H Fair, but even beyond fair projects is enough time to make extra progress. If you are not inclined to do project based learning on a regular basis, summer is an appropriate time to test the waters. So are other break times throughout the year.
My kids may not do each of these every day, but these activities do provide a rhythm for our days.
As your kids grow into teens
who have goals beyond their homeschool years,
they may need summer time routines to keep reaching for that goal.
Balance is the key.
Uninterrupted Summer Project Time
or any extended break from school
is a time for students to work uninterrupted on their projects.
Projects can be long and involved.
They can short too,
but encouraging your students to pursue large projects
allows them to practice the skill
and to learn in ways they want to seek out the world and discover.
Project based learning lets your students be in charge of their learning.
Project areas for my kids include:
- Novel & Story Writing– or writing of any kind, but I have two that write prolifically. One is going to major in Professional Writing and the other Fashion Design, but they both write daily.
- Entomology– for years has been a project area for two kids. Neither is turning in their collections for judging anymore, but they are collectors and pinners. And really, isn’t that the goal? That long beyond any qualification in age for 4-H, they will hold on to the desire to collect insects and learn about them?
- Rocketry & Flight– Two of my kids and especially one is into flight. We’ve done long term rocketry builds, regular flying of several types of planes, and flying quadcopters.
- Computer Programming– our youngest always has a programming project going, actually several at a time. Time at the computer in the summer time isn’t as bothersome when they are producing work rather than just consuming screen time.
- Sewing– obviously this a huge project area for my daughter, but her break time sewing and design takes on a different focus in the summer.
Creative work requires big chunks of unscheduled time. It requires freedom to explore, to try different things, to just think and imagine — and it requires a relaxed mindset. – Lori Pickert, Project Based Homeschooling
Some amount of project time is required daily at our house and when the demands of other school work are less, that is the time to spend extra time working deeply on project work.
Summer is the perfect time to introduce this type of learning to your students.
It’s also a great time to continue if you are already doing project work with your kids.
More Summer Time Homeschooling Routines
- How to Host a Summer Writer’s Workshop– I love summer writing workshops! The chance to bring your family or friends together for some writing play is irresistible in the summer.
- Free Six Week Writer’s Workshop– If you are intimidated about planning your own writer’s workshop, try out the free six week workshop here at Blog, She Wrote. Lots of word play and writing exercise for a six week session.
- How to Create Your Own Learning Experiences with Adventure Boxes– These were the mainstay of our early summer learning time. Pick a topic of interest and provide a lot to go with it. We had a lot of fun with these early on and I think it helped to develop my students’ ideas about project based learning. These were mini projects and can be done at any time of the year.
- Summer Nature Journal Calendars– This page contains links to all of our nature journal calendars, one for each month. You will also find activities, books, and field guides for every month.
- Summer Reading Challenge without the Carrot & the Stick– I’m not a fan of summer reading programs with incentives. This post is all about how to engage authentically with your kids around books.
- Masterpiece Society Membership– Art for the whole year with gobs of art lessons and projects. You can read about our experience with the membership in How to Save on Homeschool Art Instruction.
- Science Quest: Shark Edition– Even if you school year round, you can’t miss shark week! Learn about all things shark and have some fun with shark art.
- How to Make a Plant Journal– My daughter loves to make themed plant journals every year. Learn about how she does it and consider one of your own!
- Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels– Do you take art supplies on vacation? When our children were small, I took enough for us all and we’d do nature study and art while camping or visiting relatives. Now, I personally never travel without art materials.
Summer brings a different pace of learning.
Whether you school year round
or take the whole summer off,
there’s something special about summer learning.
What are your summer plans?