We homeschool year ’round for three main reasons:
1. It gives us flexibility. When we need or want to take a break or a vacation, we can, and we still have school more than the state-mandated number of days.
2. It gives us reinforcement. I’m not sure how it works with older kids, but elementary age kids who don’t do any school for too long tend to forget stuff. Since we never take more than a couple of weeks at a time off, we don’t have to waste time re-learning math we already learned.
3. It gives us structure. After three weeks without school when Eliza was born and we were moving, the kids started to ask me if they were ever going to learn anything again. Having a ton of free time is great…for a while. Then the novelty wears off and people start playing the “I’m bored” card. When we do school in the early morning, late morning and afternoon play time is way more fun.
That said, I think summer school works better when it’s different.
Doing things a little differently keeps everyone engaged and gives us a chance to approach information differently. In fact, we don’t even call our summer term “school.” I was trying to call it “Summer Circle Time” after something I read on the Preschoolers and Peace Facebook page, but the kids didn’t get why so they call it “Summer Circle” instead. The main difference is that we’re doing more things together on the floor and less traditional book work, and we’re doing more things in the forms of games.
Here is what our “Summer Circle” looks like on any given day:
- Bible: We are reading through the book of John following this printable. The kids like to color in the squares after we finish that day’s reading, and the passage lengths are totally manageable. I’m having them narrate what we read to varying degrees depending on ages. To go along with the reading, we are also working on memorizing John 1 together (Hannah memorized it previously but needs review).
- Math: I got a Mental Math book to use with Hannah and Jack, and we play a sort of jumping game with it while the kids call out the answers. This is helping them get faster at math facts, and helps Sarah just begin to learn them. It’s a lot of review for Hannah, but that’s ok. We are also doing a major review of telling time and counting money, because that got a little bit glossed over this year.
- Latin: We are playing review games with Prima Latina. Once we finish solidly reviewing everything we’ve done up to this point, we will keep adding more lessons. Seriously, at some point we are going to finish this book!
- History: We are reading through British history in Our Island Story (again, because the book is great and we’ll be learning about many of these events in greater detail in our history this fall) and doing both picture and oral narrations of each story. The picture narrations are going really well! It helps Sarah and Jack especially. I love seeing what they choose to draw. We are also reviewing Classical Conversations history from Year 1 and 3, the timeline, the US Presidents, and the states and capitals.
- Science: For now we are reviewing Classical Conversations science, but once we get moved in to our new house and our books are unpacked we will do more with our Apologia Flying Creatures science book. I plan to supplement that with reading from the Burgess Bird Book and a couple of other bird books we already own.
- Reading: The kids are doing summer reading through our library and so they are madly tearing through books trying to accumulate points to trade in for cool things like baseball game and fair tickets as well as not-so-cool things like plastic sticky hands that Mama will later find and surreptitiously put in the trash. To keep track of what they read, I’m having Hannah and Jack do “book club” every day, in which they give presentations on whatever book they read the day before. They LOVE this and have done a surprisingly good job of it.
- Literature: We’re making time to read picture books every day on Sarah’s behalf, and are also reading poetry together. Our family read-aloud is Swallowdale, the second Swallows and Amazons book.
- Writing: We’re doing some copywork and writing letters to relatives and friends.
- Music and Art: We’re listening to classical music and reading about art and artists in the usual ways. We plan to do a field trip to the symphony and a field trip to the art museum this summer.