Of course I’m always ready for a break, but there should be a purpose for everything we do and it should always be an intentional and beneficial use of our time. At the end of each year, I take stock of our accomplishments and our shortcomings. I contemplate year-round schooling and other schedule options for our homeschool and implement what is best for our situation at that time.
Let’s face it, taking a summer break isn’t always the most beneficial option. Sometimes children forget what they’ve learned over the course of three months. Then you spend the first part of the following year reviewing what they forgot.
Here in South Carolina, it’s miserably hot by the beginning of August. The warm pool water isn’t refreshing. When you jump in you feel more like your boiling in a pot rather than swimming in a pool. There are also those famous last words: “I’m bored” that I sometimes hear after only a few weeks of summer break? That is one of my least favorite sayings ever. As a mommy, I would give ANYTHING to be bored. To avoid some of these pitfalls of summer, I thought I’d share some of our scheduling tips, games, and activities we’ve used over our 13 years of homeschooling.
We take a shorter summer break and allow for mini breaks throughout the school year. We take a take eight or nine weeks off in the summer. Then we take a week off in September, several weeks during the holidays, and then another week off for Easter break. We also plan a few long weekends throughout the schedule. A shorter summer usually gives us time to rest, play, re-organize our supplies, choose and shop for the next year’s curriculum, take a trip, tackle a few projects, and maybe even schedule some appointments to get them out of the way before we resume school.
To keep our lessons fresh in our minds, we will discuss some of the things we learned throughout the school year. We’ll play math games, thinking skills games, and participate in activities that reinforce what we learned and keep our minds fresh for the next school year. Here are some amazing activities and resources that will turn your summer break into educational fun without your children even knowing it:
A swimming pool is always a hit, but we can’t all afford an in-ground pool. This is a great option. We’ve bought a few of these over the course of our homeschooling journey. They’ve each lasted about 4 summers.
There are tons of water toys you can use for learning counting, colors, addition, subtraction, etc:
Math wrap ups are a wonderful way to keep those tables memorized and those hands out of trouble:
There are wrap ups for music and language subjects too!
We all live near historic towns. Take a field trip to one. You can walk through the streets learning history and observing creation. Many towns have wading fountains to keep you cool. There’s always an ice cream parlor nearby so reward your children with a scoop or two of their favorite flavor!
When it’s unbearably hot, have a movie day complete with popcorn and candy. Some local theaters even offer summer movies for a dollar or two.
During those summer afternoon thunderstorms, you could build a blanket fort or set up a tent in the living room, snuggle up and read books all afternoon. Many libraries offer a summer reading reward program.
You can hold a camp out in your own back yard complete with s’mores, water balloons, tent, and nature hunts.
Board games and outdoor games are always a hit with my children, and they don’t usually catch on to the fact that their learning in every subject!
Academics isn’t the only thing we need to teach our children, you know? How about set aside a week or two to learn some life skills? Make it as fun as you can by allowing your children to do some of the meal planning, shopping, cooking, laundry, car washing, yard work, etc. You could even throw in rewards like allowance or prizes for a job well done!
You’d be surprised what educational activities you can find to do over the summer. They’ll turn your summer into a low stress, fun, learning adventure that will benefit the whole family and create memories to last a lifetime!