When we first began homeschooling, we never had the intention of homeschooling during the summer- but things have certainly changes. Around Christmas time this past year, we realized that taking long school breaks was not a good idea for us. We took about a month off, and I was pretty shocked to find out that I had to reteach things the kids already knew before we stopped! It was also very difficult getting back into a routine after being off so long. Needless to say, we do not plan on doing that again anytime soon! Barring any extenuating circumstances, we don’t plan on stopping school work completely for more than a week (just long enough for a vacation!).
I have discovered recently that our children thrive on routine- without it, things go a little crazy around here! We don’t live by a strick schedule, because that would make me crazy, but we do have a set of things that get done during the day. Part of that, even in the summer, is school work. If we have something else going on and can’t be home, that is fine, but if we are home, we do at least basic school work. I was concerned about the amount of complaining I would hear since we were doing summer school, but surprisingly, they don’t complain. It is just something they have come to expect- they get up, eat breakfast, do some chores, and start on some school work.
We finished our curriculum from last year in May and since then we have used the “extra time” to work more intensely on math and language arts. Caspian is transitioning from McRuffy math to Saxon math and we wanted to make sure he could focus on his new math without having too many other subjects going on at the same time. We also started Primary Art of Language Reading and Writing. Since the first month of these programs is more teacher intensive we decided it would be best to start these before we added in our main curriculum for next year. We have tried to keep schooling lite and fun for the summer and have added in things like Song School Latin (which the children love!) and various Scholastic books for science, vocabulary, and logic. Even though school is more relaxed, they are still learning many new things!
I also love the freedom summer schooling brings during the regular school year. If we need to take a day off here or there we can do that without me feeling that we need to “catch up” later. You never know when certain circumstances may come up in which schooling will become very difficult. This way we are prepared with some extra wiggle room in case we need that time. We usually do family vacations during the school year when the vacation spots are not as crowded. It is so nice to not feel tied to a school schedule and be able to get up and go if we need to do that!
Now that we have had a “break” from regular curriculum we plan to start our school year on July 9th. The kids are already excited to start My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures so I should have no problem! Now that we have officially become a year-round homeschooling family, I don’t see any reason to go back!