Surprisingly, many families that homeschool year round experience homeschool burnout far less than those that take the summer off. The pressure to finish the year’s curriculum within a specific time frame can become quite stressful.
Stress can be highly contagious between mother and child, especially when we homeschool. If we allow ourselves breaks throughout the year, we can relax and enjoy a flexible, lifestyle of learning.
Take advantage of the summer months to finish up on formal schooling and fill in gaps while adding fun, hands-on learning. When we strive to develop a lifelong love of learning within the family, year-round homeschooling becomes the norm.
In our family, we have tried the ”fly by the seat of your pants” summers with no schedule or formal learning, and it just didn’t work for us. We seemed to need some structure and without it our home quickly became chaotic, more fighting and bickering erupted, and there was an overall sense of laziness. During the summer months, we have a much more relaxed and flexible schedule, but we do schedule morning and evening routines. Some homeschool families do lessons every other day during the summer and use the other days for field trips or play.
Let your children be your guide
The summer is the perfect time of year to focus on subjects or topics that your child is passionate about. Discuss options with your children and let them choose a topic of study that they would like to cover. Topics for summer study might be anything from butterflies, astronomy and dinosaurs, to literature, music and poetry. We try to focus on math, reading and journaling along with child-led learning.
Last summer our oldest chose origami as one of his topics of study. We could never have imagined the many lessons that would come from origami-making, math included! Our entire family fell in love with this traditional Japanese art of paper folding, and our home was soon overtaken by origami displays.
Unit Studies are the perfect approach for studying a particular topic during the summer, as you will not have to spend money on curriculum. The internet and the public library should cover most topics for free. Remember, lessons do not have to incorporate books at all times — find creative ways to study your child’s chosen topic.
Life lessons around the home
Take the summer to teach basic home life lessons such as chores, meal planning, cooking, gardening, cleaning, car maintenance and home maintenance. These might be lessons that you would not normally have the time to teach during a regular homeschool day. These would be life lessons that would take them into adulthood if they also learn responsibility, perseverance, integrity, healthy living, stewardship and frugality.
Enjoy the lazy days of summer
As homeschool moms we need breaks and days to unwind. The loose schedule of summer homeschooling should be flexible enough to make room for days at the beach, trips to the water park or camping. Make simple meals and get the children to help around the home with chores to allow you more time for summer fun. You will be able to enjoy a more relaxed and fun approach to learning while making memories that will last a lifetime.
Do you homeschool through the summer? Does your homeschool change during the summer months?