It’s that time of year again.
Swimsuits. Pool parties. Watermelon. Ice cream trucks. And, best of all…
… the next chapter in Our Homeschool Summer Break blog series!
Okay, maybe a blog post isn’t better than ice cream (or any of those other things). But it sure beats swatting away mosquitoes while mowing the lawn!
Our Past Summer Break Plans
If you’re new to this series, you can check out what we’ve done for summer breaks in our homeschool since we started home educating years ago. Here are links to the past posts and a quick summary to get you up to speed:
Summer 1 – A pretty good balance of work and play (emphasis on playing)
Summer 2 – Still fairly balanced, but slightly too much work
Summer 3 – Maybe a little too fun
Summer 4 – Task-master mommy – too much work!
Summer 5 – Full circle back to where we started – a good balance of work and play
Summer 6 & 7 – The COVID years… it’s all a blur…
Summer 8 – We moved. Life was crazy. But “less is more” and it all worked out.
This brings us to today. It’s the beginning of our 9th summer as a homeschooling family. If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short of it:
Summer 9 – We moved AGAIN. Life is still crazy. But we’ve found what works for us.
Summer Break in Our Homeschool
As you can see, I’ve learned to loosen up a bit over my years as a homeschooling mom.
The first picture shows one of several spreadsheets I made in preparation for our fourth summer (if you recall from above, that was “task-master mommy” summer… yikes). The second picture shows the Post-It note that encompasses all of my summer planning this year. It took about five minutes to brainstorm some ideas and jot them down.
Since we recently moved for the second time in one year, I really haven’t had the time or energy for any more planning that that. Life happens, right?
But, even if we hadn’t just disrupted our entire life by moving to another state and then across town, I think loosening up over summer is what works best for me and my kids. While I still get all googly-eyed when I see a good spreadsheet, I’ve found that excessive planning and scheduling for summer break is unnecessary and draining. If you’ll allow me to quote my past self (from the Summer Break Year 5 post):
“Our best summers have been those with a framework of fun activities (vacations, camps, some goals for our days) and lots of planned spontaneity (intentional but somewhat optional activities).”
It’s taken me a while to figure out the balance that works best for our family. And the kids and circumstances are always changing, so no summer is ever exactly the same as the previous one. But, armed with lessons I’ve learned from past years, we’ve found a plan that’s working well for us so far this summer:
The first three activities are the mandatory daily items on their To-Do Lists.
- Bible Reading – We are really trying to be consistent about making Bible reading and prayer a consistent part of our daily life.
- Reading – Reading is a staple in our homeschool. We’ve joined our library’s summer reading program and we make trips to the library every couple weeks to fill our embarrassingly large library bag. We also still make family read-alouds a priority, even though all three kids can read on their own now. Our plan is to get through the The Lord of the Rings series this summer.
- Music Lessons – My three kids are keeping up with their music lessons at a more leisurely pace over the summer. Oldest practices percussion, Middle plays French horn, and Youngest is learning piano.
The rest of these are the “intentional but somewhat optional” kind of ideas that seem to work really well for my kids. Yes, some of them are technically a curriculum, but we work though them in a very low-pressure way. We only work on them when we don’t have other things going on, and we don’t have a deadline or schedule for completing them.
- Food Science Classes – My kids love kitchen experiments so we’re checking out the food science courses from Edible Knowledge. As children of this mama, they naturally chose the chocolate lesson as their first. I’ve trained them well.
- LEGO Engineering Book – This is a hands-on curriculum that teaches physics through LEGO builds. (Incidentally, it’s from Beakers & Bricks, LLC, the same company that makes the Edible Knowledge food science course I just mentioned. I found them at a homeschool convention and was impressed by the unique courses they offer!)
- Python Programming Class – My thirteen year old is taking a Python programming class on udemy.com and he’s loving it so far!
- American Heritage Girls (AHG) Badges – My youngest has joined AHG and is very excited to keep working on her badges over the summer. We’ve started with one of my personal favorites, Family Helper (i.e. the “do more chores” badge). Next I’ll be encouraging her to work on the Needle Arts badge so she can learn to sew all these bajillion badges on her own vest without me!
We also have some of the usual summer fun things planned: pool days, park playdates, a couple camp experiences, and day trips to explore our new home state with friends. All combined, we’ll have plenty to keep busy and learning while still having a restful break. And all with just my trusty Post-it note as a guide!
Check back in the future for more in the Summer Break series. And, if you need more ideas to keep your kids occupied this summer, check out Our Homeschool Summer Break Strewing Experience!
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