Summer is my favorite season. When I hear the word, my mind drifts to our beach vacation, memories of my kids running through the sprinkler, late nights enjoying the long days, and all things swimming! But come August, I often regret not doing more schoolwork during the summer — for good reason. Statistically, students who do not spend a portion of their summer learning and practicing skills will, on average, lose two reading levels and forget an equivalent of one month of the skills they mastered the previous year. If you choose not to do summer homeschooling, you may find yourself whining “I want my month back” come fall! That’s why we do homeschooling during the summer. Because, well, I work too hard during the year (and so do my kids!) to let summer slide win. Here are four ways to do homeschooling during the summer without sacrificing your fun-filled days.
A little goes a long way. Studies show that only 2-3 hours per week are needed to maintain your child’s placement and beat summer slide. That’s 30-45 minutes of summer homeschooling per day. I spend more time folding laundry! The easiest way to accomplish this is through Summer Bridge books, or a grade-level-equivalent packet. Make sure the worksheets cover math, reading, and writing. We make a game out of it to encourage participation and keep the grumping to a minimum. I break it down into 2-3 pages per day to cover the summer for each of my children. Then, if everyone completes their weekly work by Thursday, we spend Friday hiking, going to the pool, or crossing off an item from our Summer Bucket List as a reward. Sweeten the deal and they’re sure to jump on board.
Try homeschooling for the first time. If you’re new to homeschooling, homeschooling during the summer is a great idea. You will get a taste of how your kids will react to you as the teacher, learning at home, homeschooling curriculum, etc. I recommend spending a few hours each morning learning together and only covering the basic subjects like math, reading, and writing skills. Make trips to the library a part of your weekly routine to encourage learning about fun subjects (Hello, science and social studies) through reading. Trust me; they’ll pick up more than you can imagine without needing “curriculum.” And try out these hands-on summer learning ideas to boost your portfolio.
Take an online class. Yes, there are online classes that you can sign up for during the summer months. This is one of the best aspects of summer homeschooling! This strategy is great for a high school student who needs extra time and support in one subject (geometry was my nemesis!) or wants to get the hard-to find-credits, like public speaking or a laboratory science, out of the way before the school year starts. Credit recovery is another great reason to take an online class during the summer. Your student will have more time to spend focusing on the subject, which will lend itself to greater success the second time around.
Tackle STEM. I have to be honest: while I do love science, I am not an experiment Mom. Usually, the experiments are done when Daddy gets home. The time it takes to set them up, find the materials, then go through the process, while making sure to teach the scientific method, seems daunting in the middle of an already hectic school day, with athletic practices looming in the afternoon. But summer is a different story! Why not spend summer completing a STEM project or experiment each day? Log your hours, write up lab reports, draw outcomes and conclusions in a lab notebook, and — voila! Summer homeschooling with STEM fun just became ¼ of your science credit for the year. Here are a few great summer STEM project ideas from a previous blog post.
Summer homeschooling using one of these strategies just might be the best decision you’ve made this spring. Because let’s face it, if we can eliminate re-teaching long division, we should! The best part is that your kids will thank you when your transition back into the normal school routine is easier and more natural in the fall. Enjoy your summer!