Year-round homeschooling is something that we are kind of falling into. When we checked off day number 180, to be honest, I breathed a sigh of relief. We had made it! Our first year of homeschooling was done, and it was a good year. I could put away the books. But we only took a few days off before we drifted back to our books and lessons albeit on a more relaxed pace. Here's why.
Our children don't stop learning. My daughter is in that soak-it-up-like-a-sponge stage. She is always learning, asking questions, and figuring out how, at least in her mind, things work. Learning is fun for her, as long as I don't turn it into drudgery. To ignore that for two or three months doesn't make sense.
It provides much-needed structure. Our schedule changes in the summer, even without the built-in changes that public and private school students get. American Heritage Girls, YMCA Swim & Gym, Soccer, Wednesday night church programs....all of these gave structure to our weeks during the year. Not having that structure is wonderful in some ways...but can drive me a little batty in others. Doing our lessons gives us a taste of normalcy.
It's hot outside. This is a very practical reason. We live in the South and lately it has been in the upper 90s. We would rather be inside with the air conditioning for a lot of the day anyhow, and learning is a good inside activity.
Because we can. Although we have to fulfill the 180 days required by our state, that doesn't mean we have to stop after 180 days. The state sets a minimum, but the state is not in charge of my daughter's education. Continuing her lessons in a way that works for us, beyond what the state requires, reminds me that we as parents, not the government, are the ones entrusted with the important task of educating our children. This is working for us and is in our daughter's best interest, so why not?
So what does summer homeschool look like in our home?
- It's low-key - no more than an hour or two on the days we do it.
- We are setting some goals, like finishing her first grade math book by the end of July, that are very doable.
- It's focused mostly on math and reading, both her reading to me and me reading to her.
- We are exploring topics that she has questions about, which is more of an unschooling approach.
- We don't push it on weeks when we have other things planned.
- We are prepping for next year, including working on memorizing a passage from Philippians for an AHG badge next year.
I remember when I was in school, and even when I was teaching in the public school, the idea of year-round schooling made me cringe. But as a homeschooling parent, I see how it can happen in a way that is positive and fun without ruining summer "vacation."
What about you? Whether you homeschool or not, what kind of schooling are you doing with your kids this summer?