Summer Homeschooling Tips

May 30, 2017

Ah, summer! School’s out, and the kids are home. But wait: home is school. With those blurred boundaries, how do you help your kids maintain what they’ve learned over the year while giving them (and yourself) the break the family needs to refresh? 

This summer, try out the following tips to make your sunny days even sunnier.

1. Keep a Loose Structure

Should you keep the same schedule you followed during the school year or toss it aside for the “lazy days of summer”? The ideal is somewhere in the middle: just enough structure to give purpose to your kids’ days balanced with enough “flex time” to be spontaneous. For example, you may want to set aside time for chores, gardening, or music practice in the morning and quiet reading in the late afternoon, keeping 10am-3pm open for swimming, painting, or experimenting with DIY science projects. If a friend calls to play during that time? By all means, enjoy the fun and freedom that summer provides!

2. Take Cues from the Community

Chances are your town has made its own plans for summer fun. Take advantage of these mostly free activities by turning them into relaxed learning opportunities. Kids can stretch themselves to read different genres for a library summer reading club or learn about local foods by visiting a farmers’ market. Even a summer music-in-the-park series can provide opportunities to learn, whether about marketing (how do the local bands advertise themselves?), instruments, or popular culture.

3. Learn the Value - and Fun - of Work

Without the school year’s curricular demands, you and your kids can take some time to work together around the house. By helping out with chores, cooking, shopping, cleaning, and maintenance of the car and home, children can learn practical skills that will reap benefits well into adulthood. They may even enjoy some of these tasks enough to incorporate them into their daily lives with enthusiasm!

4. Throw the Books at 'Em

Summer reading is what fun, imagination, and learning are made of. Encourage your kids to read whatever they choose in the summer, following their curiosity around the library’s various sections. Even closing one’s eyes and choosing a book at random can lead to an unexpected adventure. (“Hey, Mom! I loved this book on Monet. How about we find a museum?) Rather than requiring worksheets or reports, ask your students to read for a minimum amount of time each day, even 1-2 hours, and just get lost in the pages.

5. Give Yourself a Break

There may be some days when no one ever changes out of their pajamas. Or wears their swimsuit for 48 hours straight. On some exhausting hot afternoons, that TV may even find itself on for longer than usual. That’s okay. Sometimes you and your kids just need a day or two to veg. And boredom? That can be the greatest driver of inquisitiveness and invention. Even those lazy days of summer can become learning opportunities.

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