Every year I begin homeschooling thinking that we will homeschool year round. I know it seems like a lot and we all need breaks. However, I really like the idea of having time off disbursed throughout the year instead of having a large block of time off during the summer months.
I also really like the idea of schooling during the heat of the summer too. You know… that time of the year that you do not really want to be playing outside because it is just too hot?
This year we have decided to make the new schedule happen, but with some modification. As part of of the Review Crew I am still getting the opportunity to review curriculum so we will need to actually be doing some school. However, there is nothing that says that we have to be doing full school days. I’m thinking back to my own school experiences and the summer school that was available. Although I never went to summer school, I know that focused classes completed over a few weeks of half-days gave full credit for those classes.
We have been in full summer-mode and enjoying the beautiful sunshine, the days are getting warmer and warmer and I feel the heat waves on the horizon. I am having to shift gears from the time-off mentality to summer school programs. The kids are working on our Review Crew products as well as reading a few hours a day, yes-per day. Summer is a great time to catch up on new book lists, revisit old books, relax or simply increase reading skills.
One of the ways that we encourage the amount of reading we are doing is through the library reading programs. Several libraries across the country offer prizes to kids of all ages (some even have adult reading programs) for time spent reading.
When we lived in the Denver Metro area, the libraries had amazing incentives like tickets to amusement parks or water parks that are simply cost prohibitive for a family our size. After moving to the prairie we completed the reading program here last year. Unfortunately, the prizes were not quite as motivating but were still enjoyable. So what are we doing this year? Both. Actually three different programs!
Now before you think we are cheating the system, please note that we are not giving reading credit to more than one program at a time. In other words, the three programs have different reading requirements and the kids can only get credit for one program at a time. In the end, Bookworm Beauty will have read 69 hours total if she completes all of the middle school level programs (which she is well on her way to doing). Sweetness and The Boy are in the elementary level programs and need to read 35 hours to complete them.
The kids have been reading their hearts out. They read at least 30 minutes in the morning and 15-30 minutes at bedtime. They read on car rides. They read anytime they say the dreaded I’m bored (I think Bookworm Beauty says that just so I will send her somewhere to read more). I’m also reading out-loud to them approximately 30 minutes a day – we are currently going through Mr. Popper’s Penguins – a review product.
It’s been a nice change of pace to not have as many stringent school day plans at this time. Reading is a huge part of learning and is completed primarily independently. I’m loving the fact that we are not losing our school momentum overall and the kids are not having a typical summer educational lull. And hey… with the library program incentives, we get to play too!
What do you do through the summer months?