We are in the our last week of homeschool here, and let me tell you…I’m so done!
Summer is on the way and I am waiting with open arms.
When it arrives in all its glory, I will close the teacher’s manuals, put away the workbooks, notebooks, and to do lists.
No more lesson plans. No more struggles over school work.
The evaluations are complete and the pressure will be off!! Woohoo!
But if you think, the learning will stop for the summer, you would be quite mistaken.
Summer is the magical season that gives me the chance to kick back and masquerade as the homeschool mom I wish I could be all year.
I get to pretend I’m one of those unschooling moms who rejects curriculum and just chases the joy of child led learning.
Sounds good, but you’re still a bit skeptical?
A homeschool summer routine? I’m so tired!
I know what you’re thinking.
Summer school?! No way! I’m exhausted, and I’ve earned this break!
Put a fork in me! I’m done!
No, I’m not talking summer school in the traditional sense of public school.
I’m talking Summer Homeschool – very different!!
Your goal is to follow the passions of your children and keep them sharp on the core subjects (math, reading, writing).
Here are the awesome benefits of keeping a relaxed homeschool summer routine:
- There is little to no pressure on you – its all about fun!
- You get to spend extra time focusing in on what your children want to learn about
- Summer is often so hot that you can’t be outside for very long anyway.
- Kids thrive on having a structured routine and expectations of how their day will unfold.
- Ever heard your kids scream “I’m bored!” Sigh. It’s great to have fun, educational things planned!
- Transition back to school in the fall will be much smoother
- Your kids will need less review in the fall if you keep their brains sharp over the summer
- It’s a lot of fun if you do it right!
Well, how do I do a summer homeschool routine right?
I wish I could hook you up with a free printable and say – just follow this! But, every kid is different and every homeschool mom is different. It’s just not that easy.
Instead, I want to give you some guidelines.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts to flesh all this out and make sure you nail it!
Do’s And Don’t Summer Homeschool Routine
1. Do Ask Your Kids
If you don’t already have a clear idea of what your kids love to learn about – ask them!
“What was your favorite thing to learn about this year?”
“What did you wish we would have spent more time learning about?”
“What did you wish we would have learned about, but didn’t cover this year?”
Take their answers to these questions and start coming up with some ideas to have fun and learn with your kids!
How can you really dig into those interests this summer?
My girls LOVE animals, so last summer we dove head first into a zoology study.
I found these books on Amazon and had a blast learning about all things animals!
I highly recommend the Sassafras Science Series. The Guide Book to Zoology also has lots of great experiments in it – we even made a reptile egg!
There were also a lot of craft ideas and charts to make for the habitats and what the animals eat. Here is our bulletin board at the end of the study – we were busy!
What are your kids passionate about?
How do they like to learn?
Hands on? Experiments? Crafts? Being read to? Reading by themselves? Listening to audiobooks? Outside? Inside?
Check out Pinterest and Amazon for ideas related to your kids’ interests – you will probably find much more than you need!
2. Do Unplug the Screens
If you are interested in educational fun with your child this summer…I have to drop this truth bomb on you.
You will lose if you are competing with a TV, iPad, or a video game.
If those are constant possibilities for your kid that you are likely to give in to, you will have a rough summer.
I greatly struggled with screen time when I started homeschooling and I realized TV (no matter how educational) was getting in my way.
I strongly recommend that you set a firm limit on screen time that it is predictable.
For example, no screens until 3pm or till after dinner. When your kids know that you mean business and there is no other form of entertainment, suddenly doing that science experiment or listening to that read aloud book will be much more enticing!
3. Do Schedule a Weekly Library Day
If you already did this during the school year – don’t stop!
If you don’t even know where your local library is – this is a great time to find out!
My kids routinely check out a total of 40-50 books every week and it absolutely keeps their interest in reading and learning high.
Tip: Get online and see if you can order books through the interlibrary loan system about the subjects your kids are interested in!
If you don’t do anything else all summer – take them to the library!
4. Do Read Aloud Books Despite the Ages of your Kids
It might be tempting to let your kids read by themselves once they’re old enough, but there is so much to be gained from being a family that reads together.
Our family has grown so much closer since we shut off the TV and started reading together. We love cuddling on the couch, talking about the story, and they always beg for “one more chapter!”
Even my 3 year old has a remarkable attention span to sit and listen to stories since we started doing it.
Not sure when or how to start with reading aloud to your kids?
Pick an exciting book and start reading during snack or lunch time. That is how I started and it worked out great!
The kids are all sitting together anyways, and they’re eating (so they’re not talking!).
Some great books to start with would be The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House Series, The Magic Treehouse Books, Imagination Station Books (phenomenal!), and the Rush Revere Series.
You should be able to get all these books and so much more at your local library – but here are some links if you need them:
5. Do Have a Schedule (But Don’t Be Rigid)
Let your kids know what days you are planning to do some school, so they can anticipate it (and you will be prepared).
It might make sense to do a 2 day, 3 day, or 5 day schedule – whatever works for you!
Things will naturally come up though, so be willing to go with the flow if the weather is perfect for a picnic, the neighbor kids are outside playing, or you found a coupon to the local water park!
Remember, the summer is all about fun and its okay to be flexible.
6. Don’t Over Do It
If your kids are in the zone with their science lesson, reading, or art project, by all means let them go as long as they want to.
As a general rule though, try not to let your summer homeschool routine be more than an hour at a time.
That might sound short, but you will probably get more done over the span of the summer if you stick to that time limit.
Your kids will be much more willing and motivated if they know school won’t take the whole morning.
7. Don’t do “School Work”
If at all possible, avoid anything that looks like traditional school and typical bookwork.
Remember, summer is the time for you to be the homeschool mom of your dreams!
Your personality may want to sneak in a worksheet or a flash card, but fight it!
You do not want to burn your kid out on school and have them start up in September already tired.
Try to make it as out of the box and fun as possible.
Think nature walks and journaling, crafts, science experiments, read aloud books, and fun math games!
8. Do Bring the Screens Back
I know, I just said put them away. But if you keep a tight reign on them, you can motivate your kids to enjoy some really educational screen time!
Because my kids get such limited screen time, they jump at the chance to play Reading Eggs and Reflex Math (the best online math we’ve found by far!). They also love to watch Liberty Kids (free on youtube!) and Planet Earth (free on Netflix!).
My younger children are DELIGHTED to watch Leap Frog Videos and they have learned and retained so much from them! All my girls have actually learned their ABCs and counting from an early age with these DVDs.
You might be able to stream them from Amazon or check them out from the library. If not, here are some links:
There is a lot that can be learned with screens, as long as it is kept in balance.
But We’re so Behind – We Have to do Real School!
Okay, I hear you.
Keep in mind that during the elementary school years – the core of your curriculum is reading, writing, and math.
Everything else is enrichment at this point and will be retaught in high school.
This means that you only need to be concerned about reinforcing those core subjects during the summer.
If your student is struggling with language arts, try to think of some creative ways to keep things fresh over the summer.
- Can you find a pen pal their age to write to weekly? A friend that moved away? Even a family member? The writing will be good handwriting practice, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure – and what kid doesn’t love getting mail?! If they are resistant, have the pen pal write to your student first – the excitement of mail might really motivate them to write back right away!
- How about gifting your child with a fun journal and a cool pencil that can only be used for journaling on Fridays? You can help them brainstorm through all the events of the week for ideas! Maybe print some pictures off and tape them inside so it looks like a little yearbook your kid can share with friends and family!
- Ever heard of Madlibs? They are a fantastically fun way to help kids remember the difference between adjectives, verbs, and nouns. You can print them for free off Google or Pinterest!
Is your kid struggling with math?
- There are many online math games that are fun and free – Xtramath and Mathplayground are great!
- Pinterest is overflowing with math games for kids! Check it out!
- Homeschoolgameschool.com is a website dedicated to teaching through games – highly recommend!
I got a little tired of always coming up with something new and creative to hold my oldest daughter’s attention. It defitniely became worth it to purchase Reflex Math (by far the best online math program I’ve seen to learn math facts) and Math Seeds (for my kindergartener).
Like I said, they do not get much screen time, so I love letting them play these “games” and keep their math skills sharp all year long!
So what does a summer homeschool routine look like in a normal day?
That’s a fair question.
Here is the light summer homeschool routine I have planned:
We’ll do “school” three times a week with library days being on Mondays.
In the morning, the kids will sleep in as long as they like.
Over breakfast, I’ll read the girls our daily devotional. When that’s done, we’ll head to the couch and dive into our read aloud books.
After a chapter or two, I’ll pull out our new zoology book (animals are still the requested favorite topic) for this summer.
Once that lesson and activity are over, we’ll take a break for a snack or some free time.
Then I’ll have my oldest do an adlib with me or work on a pen pal letter, while my kindergartener enjoys some Readingeggs/Mathseeds.com.
Then I’ll have them switch, and my oldest will do Reflexmath.com on the computer. My kindergartner and preschooler will just have time with mom!
After Reflex is complete – we’ll probably go to the pool, the park, on a playdate, read more books, or enjoy free play, board games, puzzles, and baking if the weather is bad.
All of that followed by some glorious Quiet Time!
After Quiet Time, I like to let the girls watch a show they can all agree on.
Free play time till Dinner
Recap Summer Homeschool Routine
Not so bad?
Hopefully you see that as a totally attainable summer homeschool routine that your kids (and you!) would learn to love!
I would recommend mixing it up to always keep the routine fresh.
You will likely experience a little bit of resistance from your kids if summer homeschool is a new thing at your house. But just ease them into it. As soon as they start having fun, things will get easier.
Hopefully they will start to see the joy of learning and the fun of discovering new things they’re invested in!
If you need to, consider a little positive reinforcement. Check out this post – How to Motivate Your Homeschooler to Get that Work Done.
Already have some summer homeschool experience? I would love to hear all about your topics, activities, and routine in the comments! I know others would enjoy reading it too!
Need more encouragement as you head into the summer and look towards the next school year? I would love to add you to my Monday morning crew of awesome Homeschool Mamas! Start your week with a cup of coffee while reading some tips, tricks, encouragement, and some funny stories thrown in! Just click HERE to join us!
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