How to Keep Learning Routines in the Summer Time

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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

Click the picture for this free art lesson at Masterpiece Society.
  • 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?

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