Welcome to “Ask a NextGen Homeschooler…” It’s your turn to ask the writers at NextGen Homeschool — formerly homeschooled moms who are now homeschooling our children — to weigh in on your homeschooling questions. From the practical to the personal, all questions are welcome — whether you’re a current homeschooler or just homeschooling curious!
One question many homeschool parents get asked or ask each other is:
“Do you homeschool during the summer? And if you do, what does it look like? Continuous with the regular school year or a different summer approach? If not, what does your summer schedule look like?”
NextGen Homeschool Author Rosanna Ward
Was homeschooled since 8th grade
Began homeschooling in 2005
Two homeschool graduate daughters & two sons (ages 7 & 2)
At our house, we don’t have a summer “lesson plan” — and I never make the mistake of calling it “school” when I refer to our summer work with my 8-year-old son Joel. However the learning doesn’t stop, and in a few ways, we do homeschool during the summer.
After the first couple of years of taking a somewhat traditional summer break, I found that not doing math all summer was a big mistake. Every fall when we started back up, we had to spend several months reviewing the year before. I think it is better to do a little bit of math practice all summer long. Even 15 minutes a day is probably sufficient.
Joel will be doing Rocket Math and Life of Fred for math all summer. Both Rocket Math and Life of Fred take about 10 minutes each to complete. We also take part in the local library’s summer reading program. Joel will be reading at least 30 minutes a day. In all, we’ll be spending less than an hour on “school” work.
Other than that, all learning will be non-traditional. Joel participates in Bible camp, golf camp, soccer camp, and swimming lessons. We’ll also be making zoo trips and taking a road trip to visit relatives. All of these will be excellent learning opportunities.
NextGen Homeschool Editor Renée Gotcher
Was homeschooled in 11-12th grade
Began homeschooling in 2010
Three daughters ages 12, 10 and 5
Until this year, we have taken a traditional summer break: I didn’t really see a reason not to take one, and with the neighborhood kids on summer break, I couldn’t imagine getting any schoolwork done when the doorbell would be constantly ringing. The other benefit was being able to do a lot of family traveling, often spur of the moment.
However, this year I’ve had a change of heart. We do plan to homeschool during the summer, and here’s why:
- My girls can benefit from continuous reinforcement of basic skills (reading, math, spelling, etc.): This year my youngest (who turns 6 in a week) is learning to read. Definitely not going to take a break from that! Seeing how important it will be to keep her moving forward with reading and math, I realized my 10- and 12-year-olds can also benefit from reinforcement of the skills they learned this year. With my eldest two, math will be most important to review and solidify, in my opinion.
- The unit study approach of our curriculum (Trail Guide to Learning) is flexible — and can be easily enhanced with outside projects, field trips and travel that are easier to accomplish in the summer. Possibilities are endless when you start to look for ways to enrich your studies with hands-on, outdoor activities. And to accommodate kids on a traditional summer break, many museums, parks & rec programs, libraries, etc., make many more activities available during summertime that you can take advantage of and incorporate into your studies.
- Traveling IS educational, so we can still travel during the summer and “school” at the same time: I recently wrote a post about how I’ve learned to plan for homeschool travel by putting together some school activities and resources in advance for our trips. What better way to bring history, science, and social studies to life than to take your children to places where they can experience it firsthand.
- Because we can! Just like with any decision you make with homeschooling, you have the flexibility and freedom to choose to do what works best for your family. This year, my husband and I think that summer schooling is a good idea. We may change our minds in the future, but we can do what we think is best now. Why not?
How about you? What learning takes place in your home during the summer months? If you take a traditional summer break, how do you find it benefits your family? If you don’t, what type of schooling do you do in the summer? Let us know in the comments below.