When a stranger or acquaintance asks one of my kids if they are on summer break yet I can count on my kid to break out the puppy dog eyes. They will most likely respond with a pitiful “We don’t get a summer break. We’re homeschoolers.” Ha. Technically you could say we do year round school.
It’s true, we do not take the entire summer off. But it’s not as rough as those little people would have you believe. Once we get in our summer groove it’s easy stuff. School is just a art of what they do each week, on their own time.
Year round school is non negotiable….
My kids get to have a voice in a lot of their educational choices. They pick what they read and to some extent what they study and how. They like having a say in how their days are spent. But this year round school thing is non negotiable. It has to happen.
From an academic standpoint….
Doing a minimal amount of work throughout the summer prevents academic slide. We don’t have to spend the first month of school doing review. The kids can usually test through the first 4-5 test of their math book, sometimes more. Knowing that if they remember the material and do well on their tests they can skip the lessons is a huge motivator.
From a parenting standpoint….
I do not operate well under pressure. Sure, I get a lot done. I can be super efficient under pressure. But I can also be sharp tongued and short on patience. It just is not a good thing for our home or our homeschool routine to be operating as if we have to be done with something at a certain time.
Building in a cushion by doing a little work here and there in the summer creates breathing room for me.
From a responsibility stand point…..
This responsibility thing is perhaps my most favorite thing about doing year round school. Homeschool, in general, forces my kids to have a little more responsibility in the how, why, and when of their education. It’s not always easy but it is a good thing. It can be hard to let go and let them have a chance to fail.
Our summer schedule is slim enough that when they choose to do the things on their list can be almost completely up to them. I do not micromanage. We do not have specific school days or times in the summer.
Figure it out kiddos….
Throughout the course of the summer they eventually learn getting all your work done on Monday or Tuesday made for a better week. A random rainy day could be used to get ahead for the following week. I love watching them lean to manage their own time.
And honestly, the work I ask them to do takes a couple of hours tops. There are plenty of hours left to do all the awesome stuff that summer memories are made of.
Writing comes in the form of letters, stories, journals. My daughter is using How to Be an Explorer of the World; Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith. What I love about this journal and it’s insightful prompts is it isn’t overwhelming. There are no “assignments,” only “explorations.”
There are lists, experiments, and surveys. All kinds of reading and writing that are in the name of fun!
The nitty gritty….
What you choose to require as summer work is completely up to you. And it can be fluid throughout the summer.
We do a couple lessons of math each week. The other stuff varies from child to child. For one kid it’s an online animation class. It’s something he will love but would not slow down enough to do after doing school work during the morning on a regular school day.
For another child the “summer stuff” is partly about starting their own YouTube channel.
It’s less about having an “assignment” than it is about having goals and time to spend playing around with how to get to those goals.
The following super simple, half page schedules are what we use to stay on track. Sometimes we write them together. Sometimes I jot them down on my own when I have a minute.
I’d like to say my kids are totally in charge of themselves. But I generally keep the planners tacked up in a central location so I know what page the kids are all on. It’s summer after all. Things get crazy.
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You’ll notice there are two columns. The “to-do” list is what they are responsible for. There are only four spots. I don’t expect hours, upon hours of work.
There is also a “get to do” category to jot down some things your kiddo has to look forward to. I like the idea of visually balancing out a little work with a little fun.
Share what makes your homeschool tick in the summer!