Now that school is officially out for the summer, I’ve been asked a lot lately if we are taking a break in our homeschooling to fall in line with the public school system.
The answer is no. We don’t follow the school system at all.
We spend most of our year having random breaks. We can skip work on a weekday where we don’t feel well, are too tired, are busy with other things, want family time, or just don’t want to work. We can take a few weeks off in the winter when my husband is off work for a break before his season starts up again. We can work as we want, instead of when we’re scheduled.
Because we do it this way, we don’t need a 2 month break in the summer. I personally think that a break that long makes it hard to get back into the learning routine (heck, if we take two weeks off we can barely get back into it!). Things we’ve learned are lost and need to be refreshed. It’s better, imo, to keep chipping away and doing things all the time.
This doesn’t mean that our summer is exactly the same style of learning that we do in the rest of the year. Often, we make our summer fun – picking a topic or theme and working on it.
Last year, for example, we took a trip around the world. Every week we learned about a new culture or country – testing foods, making crafts, watching videos, playing games. We never left home – but we got a world experience. It was amazing.
This year, we’re working through a summer bucket list, have set individual accomplishment goals to aim for, as well as each kid has chosen a subject to dive into. Now it’s my job to get the materials together to have a great experience.
For example, we are going to study dinosaurs this summer. For a whole week, everything we do will be dino-related: books, movies, crafts, hands-on activities, field trips, etc. I will look for a documentary on dinosaurs to watch either online or to borrow from the library. We’ll excavate bones (or toy dinosaurs) from plaster. We will do name games, puzzles, and crafts. We will go to a museum with a dinosaur display so they can see first hand the size and amazement of dinosaurs.
The other subjects we are going to tackle (thanks to the kids’ requests) are medieval history and . . . cookies. I will have to get outside the box for that one! Haha.
It’s all about making things fun, creative and memorable. If they WANT to know about something, it will stick with them. You don’t have to learn everything by sitting at a desk with a pencil and workbook. As Ms. Frizzle would say, “Take Chances. Make Mistakes. Get Messy.”
What are you doing this summer? What creative ways are you going to learn?