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Doing school during the summer…

May 22, 2009

works for us. (This post is in response to Lora Lynn’s comment and question.)And I certainly appreciate the bloggable topic.

Like me, she’s a fellow Southerner where it gets uncomfortably hot during the middle day hours, so hot that no one wants to play outside. And if you do, everyone just ends up cranky and ornery. When the boys were in traditional school, I dreaded summer and what to do with everyone (and I only had three–have you seen the five she’s got trailing her?)

I dreaded summer because it was just a big mess of idleness from the moment you woke up till the moment you went to bed. We’re that family that doesn’t believe in watching cartoons all day long or playing video games all day long nor do we have unlimited access to a backyard or neighborhood pool all day long. In fact, even the most wholesome activity you can think of has a downward slide to it after being done all day long, all summer long.

I resorted to trying to find VBS programs and camp programs and sports programs and program programs that could effectively keep my kids entertained every week of the summer. This only works if you have copious money to spend (which is not our case) and you enjoy being on the road in the Hades heat with gas prices out the wazoo (not me) and your area has that number of varied programs to provide (yeah, not around here).

When we made the lifestyle changes that came with taking the boys out of traditional school and beginning to homeschool, we had to decide our philosophy for schooling. Part of our philosophy was that we wanted school to have a year round learning character instead of a go hard nine months, do nothing three months nature. Husband wanted to be able to vacation and travel during the cooler and off season busy months as much as possible. Combined with my September-May responsibilities, schooling during the summer became a natural option.

Here’s roughly how our schedule runs from June-August:

7:00 Breakfast

7:30 Family devotions

8:00-9:30 Boys play outside while it is cool (I work on my study and reading.)

9:30-12:00 School

12:00-1:00 Lunch preparation & clean up while I read aloud either the history or literature lesson to the boys.

1:00-2:00 Room time (They do their own thing in their rooms quietly while I work on whatever most needs that time.)

2:00-3:00 School

3:00-5:00 Go swimming, watch a movie, run errands, have a playdate, whatever has been scheduled for that day.

5:00-6:00 Supper preparation for me while the boys might have lessons to finish.

6:00 Supper

7:00 Family read aloud time or Husband works with the boys on various projects (school, living skills, scouts).

8:30 Get ready for bed

9:00 Bedtime

Grandma Camp and Boy Scout Camp are two weeks this summer that will have to be figured into our curriculum sequence. Basically though, this type of schedule has allowed me to complete around 60 days of our 180 required days by August’s end. We usually take two weeks off in September and then start back up.

Both last year and this year, by November I was able to drop to a four day week and use Friday for field trips, special projects or re-charge pajama day. Last year we finished our 180 days in March. This year we finished in February. Using Thanksgiving week as an opportunity to take a homeschool vacation trip and keeping Christmas simple all contributed to a relatively low stress year.

Even when we finish our official school days I still use about three days a week for review lessons, finishing curriculum, and special projects as well as allow the boys to choose some individual studies. They get a Spring break around March and a week to 10 days break in May.

And June starts us all over again.

I know this is long, but if you’ve lasted this long, I encourage you to choose a homeschool schedule that works for your family even when it is completely non-traditional to the local schools’ schedules. With past posts, some of the commenters have had great suggestions about how they manage a year round schedule or factor in breaks that are different from their county’s school system.

I hope this has given you some kernels for chewing, Lora Lynn. Thanks for asking.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2009 9:58 am

    Totally interesting.

    Our kid(s) are in private school right now, which I know is God’s path for us at this moment.

    But my husband and I were just discussing the possibility of homeschooling in the future. While I would probably keep summer school to a minimum (unlike you, summer is our ONLY chance to play outside), I like the ability to tailor the school year to your lifestyle.

  2. May 24, 2009 1:27 pm

    Yes, thank you, I will be chewing my cud all day long now. 🙂 So you’re saying you just keep going basically year round but have shorter weeks? Except during the summer. I can sort of see that working for us, especially since I know that with my situation, there are going to be days where I’m going to have to punt school in order to keep everybody fed and alive. Because going to the grocery store is a day-long marathon event. Am wondering if we would benefit from just keeping something up all year so we can take frequent breaks as needed. Hmmmmm. About how many weeks off a year would you say you take? (I might could figure it out from your post, but you know that would require math and we haven’t started Math-U-See yet around here.) 🙂 Thanks for this!

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