I would really like to know what people do for the summer. How do they schedule, do they take a complete break, or only from some things? Do they find any disadvantages to the kids by taking a full summer break?
We have traditionally taken a full summer break, but... this year I am hoping to focus on very deliberate, yet fun, focused learning through life experiences rather than just a lazy summer. We will definitely keep going with devotions and character building. I am also hoping to do some sort of math drill practice at least a few times a month so as to keep that left side of the brain going and not lose those skills. Previously we have taken a break over the summer and
1. it doesn't make sense, life goes on, so why should the learning stop?
2. starting again in September can be such a grind after coming to a complete halt
3. the summer offers so many rich learning opportunities so we will enjoy those
I usually schedule a week of swimming lessons in July and a week of another type of camp in August - we have done sailing at Jericho beach, and horseback riding on the North shore. We usually have 2 weeks of holidays, so that leaves 4 weeks of lazy days. My daughter may do a little catch up if something is behind... Last summer it was math, and I usually have a couple of good books for her to read. There are lots of 'day' camps in different areas for an amazing array of activities.
We find that summer just zips by. We take a break from our formal studies, but we're still always learning. We just try and soak up all the summer has to offer - whether that be camping, holidays, VBS, playdates, playing at the park, hanging out or whatever else comes up.
This is our first Home-school holiday so I would like to carry on investing into my children. I won't have a schedule as such but kind of "go with the flow". As we discover and adventure together- we will all learn. We have also just bought bicycles (my husband and I) so would like to ride a few trails and explore in this way too. We want to hike and go camping too. We have a pool at home so we use that a lot and practice our swimming strokes and dives. We have a large garden, so enjoy finding insects and playing fantasy games in the tree-house. I would also want to make sure I read to my boys and that my son would read to me. We also want to go on field trips and visit Museums. So I think I could say we would have a break from some of the things but learn through other ways. Life is full of treasures waiting to be explored and learnt - without even knowing you are learning. The JOYS of Home-schooling. I have heard by taking a complete break children can forget certain things especially reading (my son would have just finished Grade 1 and isn't very confident in reading- he is however getting excited about it and I wouldn't want to lose this excitement).
After running the two extremes of year-round homeschooling and a whole summer off and finding neither worked, we have now found a happy medium. When we are away from home on vacation, I don't give them anything to do. But when we are home, we do some review of math facts several times a week, and of course, we still read. In fact, often our math review is done in the car on the way to wherever we're going. It makes good use of time that is otherwise wasted, and if my kids complain, I just remind them that it leaves them free to play outside when we are home! By doing that last summer, they were able in September to pick up exactly where we left off in June with no backtracking necessary. And in the summer they have done tons of spontaneous science and physical activity on their own, no direction needed!
From the June 2009 NLHS newsletter
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