Sunday, May 24, 2009

Homeschool During the Summer?

You may ask, “should we do homeschool during the summer?" I know this year both Riley and I were ready for a break! We were in much need of rest, there was the "honey-do" list on the refrigerator that needed to be tackled, and we were ready for a change in pace. However, we ended the year with the mindset that we were going to keep up certain subjects over the summer months and attempt to do some fun learning stuff as well.

That is one of the joys of homeschooling, flexibility! It is that time of year that questions like this one pop up, “Where are we going for summer vacation?” Families that homeschool may ask, “How long of a break from school will we take?” “Will we even take a break?” “Can we incorporate school into our vacation?” If you are homeschooling, those questions can be answered by the type of homeschool method(s) you choose.

Once a family chooses to homeschool, they quickly realize that learning becomes a family thing. No matter what method you choose to follow, If it is the “unschooling” method, the “eclectic” method or school at home where you may follow the school board calendar, you choose the method that works best for your family. What you choose could also be a little bit of one or two of the methods or a little bit of all three methods.

Families who unschool take advantage of learning opportunities as they arise all year long and summer is just a part of that year. Reading, writing and Artithmetic are a part of the school schedule as well as other learning opportunities that are a part of everyday life. Families who follow the eclectic method may choose to do a summer project or activity that may involve some book work, a fun activity or vacation time, or all of the above. The families that choose to follow the school at home method may choose to take all three (or two and a half) months off and do no school at all. Or if they have not met all the days required, they may work through the summer. The decision is really up to you and your family.

If you have had the revelation that you need to be homeschooling your precious children and are just getting started, you may wonder, "how do I know which method(s) is right for us?" There are good sources out there to help point you in the right direction. One in particular is "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum" by Cathy Duffy. In her book there is a section in Chapter 2 that is called "Which Approach to Education Should I Choose?" There is a chart that will help you identify which method(s) would fit best in your family. Notice that I said method or methods, you may find that you like certain aspects of more than one method. That is OK. Again another one of the joys of homeschooling, that flexibility. She will also help you identify which type of learning method best describes your child and in another section of her book she reviews a lot of different curriculum's. This book is a must have for moms that are new to homeschooling.

Now back to the issue of summer time. If you are thinking you need to continue some type of school activities to keep boredom to a minimum and to keep the brain working, here are some ideas to incorporate learning during the summer months (no matter which method you choose).

*Create a garden: science

*Camping: nature or bug study: Science

*Vacationing near historical sites: History

*Have your child help chart the course for your trip: Geography

*Have your child help plan the budget or a portion of the budget (i.e. food): Math and/or Finance

*Here is a great idea for the kids while traveling in the car! Rand McNally Kids Road Atlas

*Summer concerts: Music and/or culture or Social Studies

*Summer camps: Music, art, PE, science etc

If you have any other ideas for homeschooling in the summer and making it fun, let me know. I would love to hear them and see if we can incorporate some of them in our summer homeschool journey!


LRAQUILA said...

We always join the summer reading club at the and motivating :) Usually this supports some cause, so not only are we reading, but we are helping someone by our reading while keeping up our skills. We devote a block of time each day to reading...usually after lunch....a quiet 'rest' time...before continuing our more active things....and it is welcomed by mommy and child :)

We also attend VBS (vacation Bible school) and even this teaches the children lots of neat things.....Bible, music, even some geography (if there is a missions emphasis). Some of the vbs programs will have a theme that lends itself to further study at home. I think one this year is somewhat related to Austalia, so we will probably talk about that more at home...maybe incorporate a little geography, science (learning about the animals that live there).

While our school year is more traditional and structured, we are more laid back and 'unschoolish' during the summer...taking advantage of every opportunity that comes our way to learn. Learning has become a lifestyle all year long in our house, but we let some of the structured stuff drop off for a change of pace for several weeks during the summer so our batteries are recharged when mid August rolls around.