Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Summer: Repair and Prepare

Sometimes I look longingly at those who homeschool year round. They have a routine and stick with it. I hear you can accomplish so much more, and there is no months long break to forget everything you worked so hard to teach them. Breaks every 6 or so weeks... more time for rabbit trails and project based learning...sounds delightful!

Except, that I could never do it.

Sigh. Maybe I am too lazy to school year round, but I think I look forward to summer break as much if not more than my kids do!

Many homeschool moms struggle with the balance between homeschool mom and just "mom." Summer is a long stretch of time where I am just "mom." Summer brings long days at the pool, discount movies, free bowling, all those read alouds we didn't get to during the school year...I love summer!

While I love the long lazy days of summer, I also know how hard my kids work all year and have no desire for them to lose all that we have worked so hard for all year. While year round schooling is not for us, we have found a bit of a compromise. I don't feel the need to introduce new material, or make great progress in June and July, but I do aim to "tread water" and not lose ground, particularly in math and reading.

We finish our school year in May-- finish out the curriculum we have been using, attend homeschool convention, finish planning the following year, and then take a couple weeks completely off--nothing but movies, playing, and swimming.

After a few weeks, we begin "summer schedule." I like to keep their math and reading skills up to speed so that we don't spend a ton of time having to go backwards in the fall.

I have tons of books on the shelf and they choose to their hearts content. Reading is all that matters-- not what.

Math Mammoth came out with grade review books last summer which are perfect for this purpose. We didn't complete all of it, but we did plenty of review to keep up with their skills.

One of my favorite parts of our "summer school schedule" is all the read alouds we get to. We can read all of those great books we didn't get to during the year, or that didn't fit into the topics we were studying. We love read alouds, and summer gets to be a free for all in this area.

Summer also provides a time for me to regroup for the following year. I usually have all of my materials at least ordered by May/June so that I can make lesson plans, copies, and get everything organized for August. I tend to do a lot of prep work in the summer to make the year go more smoothly.

Each weekend my husband and I put effort into getting our house ready for the next week-- cleaning, laundry, school prep...we call it "repair and prepare," giving us rest from a busy week, as well as a good foundation for the following week. Summer is like a 6 week long repair and prepare for our family. It helps me and the kids reboot, remember why we like each other, and be recharged to embrace completely the challenges of the next grade.

I hope one day my kids will have wonderful memories of summertime...I know I am enjoying making those memories!

Don't forget to check out what the other Homeschool Help Series bloggers have to say about year round schooling!


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