The following is a post by contributing writer Michelle of Raising Cajuns.
Homeschooling with the seasons means working with nature and our natural tendencies to develop a comfortable rhythm. Part of that development is deciding what each season means to you. When it comes to summer and homeschooling, it’s easy to get stuck in the typical two-three month summer vacation mindset. Of course, if that works for you, great!
I can imagine how living with six (or more) months of grueling winter temps could leave you craving a few months to do nothing but bask in the sun’s warmth. But if you live where the summers are unbearably hot and long, you might prefer to spend July and August inside. Just because other people schedule their school year a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the right way for everyone.
If a June-August break works for you, by all means enjoy your summer off! Some of you, however, might want to rethink how you would prefer to spend the summer and what learning activities fit best during these months. Even if you take a break, you might want to fit in a few fun learning activities during your time off. Here are a few options to consider:
Take a break – Run through the woods, go tent camping, travel, swim daily in a lake or pool, and give your brain a break. This works especially well in areas with long, exhausting winters and warm, delicious summers, or for Southern families with backyard pools!
Work through Summer – If you have dangerously hot summers or if you have a hectic schedule or travel plans at other times during the year, you might want to consider schooling right through summer. Promise yourselves a month off in December or maybe a couple of months off in the spring. Or consider scheduling in a week or two off every other month. You set the calendar, so you get to decide when the weather is perfect for your breaks.
Light School – Homeschooling doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing arrangement. Some days we cover a lot of subjects, and other days we just cover the basics. You can lighten up during the summer without taking off those months completely. Maybe you’d like to choose just one or two areas to focus on: nature studies; just math or no math; art; creative writing; projects; or any combination you want.
Art School – Spend your summer painting, drawing, listening to classical music or jazz, or immersing yourself in the art, language, and culture of a particular time period or country. It’s a fun way to enjoy art (especially if you feel it has slipped through the cracks during your regular school days), and it will still feel like a break from regular school work.
Projects Only – Use the summer to try out project days. Let the kids pick their own projects and give them plenty of time for independent studies this summer.
Classes – Many people offer classes and camps during the summer months that aren’t available during other times of the year. These can be offered through local universities and colleges, theater companies, music schools, sports groups, and many other organizations. Consider taking advantage of these resources and outsource an area you’ve been neglecting or one that your child shows a particular interest in.
There are many different ways to homeschool during the summer. I like to sit with my kids and help them create their own goals for the summer, and we spend lots of time playing games, creating art, and working on independent projects. It’s our way of relaxing, while also maintaining a bit of rhythm throughout the summer.
Michelle is a wife, mother, writer, and Cajun who prefers everything extra spicy. She writes about their homeschool adventures at Raising Cajuns.