Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer School

I know this picture has nothing to do with summer school, but it was so pretty that I couldn't resist!

Those words send chills down the spine of just about everybody, home schooled, public, or 40-somethings. When I think "summer school", I picture being imprisoned in a darkish classroom watching other kids frolicking outside on their bikes and heading to the pool.

However, as a homeschooling Mom now heading into my ninth year, I think summer school--or, the term I prefer: year-round school--is the way to go. I've found that continuing on with our basics: math, spelling, grammar, history, and science--is really beneficial to our family for several reasons.

First of all, I have the entire year to fit in our required (in Kansas) 180 school days, and we are able to take breaks throughout the year as needed. This helps my stress level tremendously! I know that we have time to do what we need to, in spite of days taken off due to company, a new baby, or just because we all need a break.

Secondly, I find that we're able to skip or skim much of the review work that's included in the beginning of new texts, like math and grammar. The kids haven't had such a long break that they've forgotten much of what they covered the previous spring.

Another reason I enjoy this option is that it reinforces our philosophy that
learning happens every day. Learning isn't something to be compartmentalized in our lives, contained only in the months of August through May and happening while seated at a desk. This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling! We talk about life, politics, spiritual things. We have the chance to 'do life together'. Kevin and I have opportunities to teach our children wisdom and worldview as we "go out and come in".

And, despite the fact that we "do school in the summer", we make plenty of time for fun! Our school days are a bit less structured. We go to the pool, play with friends, enjoy the sunshine. We've also made a habit of taking off the month of June. Often this month is filled with VBS, vacation, and swimming lessons, so it's a good time to completely put away the books for a short break. We all are always refreshed and ready to get back to it after those four weeks.

Summer's also a great time to work on a few 'extras', like summer reading lists and beginning typing with my early elementary kids. We're also going to work through the online biographies available here. If you don't subscribe to God's World News for your children, consider making the investment. These magazines are great worldview/current events teachers for kids. Mine love them and beg to read ahead past their assigned pages.

And here's a free resource I've found that we're going to try: There's a daily current events story sent to your inbox. If it looks interesting you can print it out along with discussion questions and vocabulary words.

What are your thoughts on school in the summer? What works well for your family?


cristina said...

I think this year will have to be the year around school. Pretty much the same reasons, new baby, my parents from Romania living with us, new house, etc. I haven't decided for the future, but one day at a time is all i can do. =)

Dana said...

We do summer school, but what we do in it varies from year to year. After they finish what I think needs finishing for this "school year", they do minimum work to keep up their skills in math, and for the younger ones, penmanship. We are big fans of the summer reading program at the library, and also take time off when we attend VBS and swimming lessons. This year we will take all of August off when Stan is off from school!