We have been doing summer school for several years now. Each summer I try to find and create curriculum that will be a little more “summery” and our schedule is a little more relaxed. You can see our homeschooling schedule through the year at this post!
Each year I reassess our homeschooling schedule. I have found that with the change of daylight savings and warmer weather, my kids like to play outside a bit longer in the evenings and they like to sleep in a bit more in the mornings. This summer my five year old will be required to do more school work, so I will once again be adapting our schedule to fit our needs.
Right now, for the month of May, we are doing a more “loose” type of school day since the weather is AMAZING and our friends are not coming to “play” school with us. We aim to begin school by 8:30 am, but sometimes it is closer to 9:00 when we start. One of the reasons is we are getting to bed later due to spring parties, soccer games, and end of the school year events. Another reason could be that my kids are just plain tired! It’s hard to do year round school and keep up with all of our activities when you are growing! So sleeping in is required for these little brains to learn!
One thing that I am trying to instill in my kids is the love of simplicity- to slow down this fast paced world and really enjoy life. One way that I am doing this is to begin our day with scripture, prayer, and singing. We are blessed to have a huge front porch. In the spring and summer we begin our day on the porch reading scripture, praying, singing, chatting with our neighbors who may walk by with their dogs, and just chatting with each other. We may even go on a walk before we begin our schoolwork to get some fresh air and to get our minds ready for learning. I have yet to have any grumpy kids after 30 minutes to an hour of devotions and walking!
Our daily routine for now and for the rest of the summer (with the exception for our June cottage school classes) will be one with a lot of “flex” time. I do set “anchor” times throughout the day, so that we will be reminded to finish school by a certain time and to get chores done by a certain time.
SUMMER “ANCHOR” SCHEDULE
9:00 Begin Our School Day
10:30 Snack/Emails/Laundry/Downstairs Pick Up
12:00 Schoolwork finished/Kids Clean Up Upstairs/Put Away Folded Clothes/Lunch
1:00 Naps/Alone Time/Lesson Planning
3:00 T.V room pick up/all laundry folded and put away
Our 10:30 time is built in to take breaks, refuel, make sure the kitchen is cleaned up, put away folded clothes, declutter a room and to make sure that the downstairs is presentable. I have the kids clean up their school area, bedrooms, and the big hallway that we use for Little Red’s puzzles during the 12:00 hour while I prep lunch. Daddy usually comes home for lunch, so we try to finish everything up before he comes home so that we can sit and chat with him during lunchtime. We have another clean up scheduled for the late afternoon, right before dinner prep begins and Daddy comes home for the day.
Our 1:00 nap/alone time is for time to rest (Little Red still naps, Prissy Pixie is hit or miss) to create, or to relax with a few PBS programs.
We don’t do school everyday during the summer, so during that time I try to encourage outside play, reading, writing, and just playing together using their imaginations. I try to limit t.v to no more than four PBS kids shows a day.
When we “play” school I try to make it fun and hands on. I try to choose a theme that will have us outside a lot and will motivate us to keep our minds active.
Summer School Theme
I Went Walking
I used this theme the first summer that we started homeschooling. We did a lot of reading activities with this book by Sue Williams.
We went on a lot of nature walks and took pictures of things that we saw.
We wrote our own I Went Walking books.
This unit is wildly popular and is requested every year! We find caterpillars out in our rue bushes. We build habitats for them.
Then we learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.
We watch it turn into a chrysalis! If you have never seen this transformation it is amazing!
We have a butterfly release party when the butterfly emerges!
Read more about our butterfly unit here!
Learn About Our State
We spent a few weeks learning a lot about our state. We learned about the flag, the state flower, the state animal, and the state song.
We read a lot of “Frog and Toad” books, a lot of nonfiction books, and did a lot of learning projects.
Keeping a routine is important in maintaining your home and sanity during the summer months. It’s always important to keep your kids learning while they are at home so that they don’t lose what they have learned during the school year. Taking a few days each week to “play” school has really kept my family ahead of the game when the beginning of the school year rolls around!