Summer Homeschool: Keep It Simple
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Summer and school don’t usually go hand and hand. And if they do, it doesn’t make parents feel thrilled to think about continuing to homeschool in the summer. However, summer homeschool doesn’t have to be miserable. In fact, coming up with a summer homeschool schedule can be really helpful. After ten years of homeschooling experience, I’m sharing my favorite summer homeschool ideas.
Summer Homeschool Curriculum
One of the first things I do in the summer homeschool is go through all of the workbooks that we didn’t finish during the school year. Since our kids go to a hybrid homeschooling school, we follow their schedule for curriculum completion. However, since I paid for those books, I like to finish as many as possible. So, even for my middle and high school kids, I look through their books. And then I see what I think still has value in being completed. So this might mean that you don’t need to purchase much at all, if anything! Focus on what you already have, and you may have enough to occupy the summer.
However, if you have already completed your homeschool curriculum, or are close to it, you might be looking for something new. I have one favorite product that I use every single summer. And that’s the Summer Bridge workbooks. I started out using these because of homeschooling program recommended it. But now, whether they recommend it or not, I’ll be using them. They cover a wide range of topics and subject areas. And some of my kids honestly look forward to doing them each summer! We take them everywhere with us and spend time on it several times a week.
Here are all of the links to each grade level. And if you use my link, the price remains the same for you and I get a small percentage of that purchase price.
- Summer Bridge PreK-K
- Summer Bridge K-1
- Summer Bridge 1-2
- Summer Bridge 2-3
- Summer Bridge 3-4
- Summer Bridge 4-5
- Summer Bridge 5-6
- Summer Bridge 6-7
- Summer Bridge 7-8
During summer homeschool, I also really like to focus on subjects that might not get enough emphasis during the school year. For us, these may include art, handwriting, spelling, and test prep.
Believe it or not, I actually still have my teenager practice cursive handwriting. He’s not great at it, and that’s ok! But I think it’s good practice in patience, and also an art form. Be sure to check out this Cursive Handwriting Book for Teens for your older kids. And for your younger ones, this handwriting book is fun: Beautiful Handwriting!
Many years ago, I heard a homeschooling lecture by Jean Burk on the importance of early preparation for standardized testing. This really struck a chord with me! Based on this advice, I have my middle schoolers start SAT prep. This may sound extreme, but as Jean Burk said in that session so many years ago, if you could work on something for 10 minutes a day that could save you tens of thousands of dollars, would you do it? That just makes sense!
We’ve been using Jean Burk’s program, College Prep Genius, and it gives so many great tips and tricks for college entrance exams. There are so answers that can be narrowed down just by careful reading and understanding the question construction. The College Prep Genuis program teaches these tips, and helps prepare students for the SAT. It’s a comprehensive program at an affordable price. I was thankful that Jean allowed us to try it out in order to share it with you. I hope to share more on how it improved my children’s test results in the future.
Summer Homeschool Travel
I really believe in travel being educational. Don’t you remember going to the Grand Canyon way more than you remember reading about it? At the time of this writing, travel is put on pause fo the time being. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep planning and dreaming.
Our family is a big believer in the beauty and educational benefits of the National Parks. In fact, we have a family goal of visiting all 62 National Parks! Some of our favorites that we’ve visited so far are Lassen Volcanic National Park and Redwoods National Park. If you’re a Florida resident like us, be sure to visit the local Everglades National Park as well!
I also really believe in theme parks being educational. Have you read my posts about Disney Youth Education Programs? And if you’re a local to Orlando, be sure to also check out the many other things to do with kids in Orlando. No matter where you live, I’m sure there are things in your town that you haven’t discovered yet. Make your plans for summer travel now and create your own summer homeschool dreams.
Summer Homeschool Volunteering
Summer is the perfect time to give back. As a family, we volunteer all throughout the school year. For example, we planned a Reverse Trick or Treating at the local nursing home that we visit. Each month, it brings more joy to us than we give to spend a part of our day giving back. Not only is volunteering important, it can also be helpful to your child’s college applications. The best advice I’ve heard is to pick one organization and then make a long-term commitment to it. So find something that’s a good fit for your family and stick with it.
At our home, we’re not big on sleep away camps. None of our kids have ever been that interested in it, but we do love week long camps in our town. We’ve done Birds of Prey camp, LEGO camps, golf camp, art summer camps, theater camps, soccer camps, baseball camps, and even acrobatic camp! I think of summer as a wonderful opportunity for my kids to explore new things.
For example, we wouldn’t spend a semester or a year commitment on something that I’m not sure my kids are really going to love. However, a week long summer camp is a perfect way to explore something new! My children have found some really wonderful new interests through summer camps. Check out this guide to local Orlando summer camps. And I’m sure there are many similar guides in your town!
Since we have a big family, we let each child pick just one thing for the summer. We also always participate in our church’s Vacation Bible School, but that commitment is free. And it also includes all of the five kids, as either a participant or a volunteer. There are many camps like this that are free or very low cost. Be sure to look around and find something your kids will love!
Keep It Fun and Simple
Summer homeschool can be both fun and educational. Although there are many opportunities for learning, be sure to also include lots of free time. I’m a huge believer in unstructured play time. Many of my children’s most imaginative and long lasting games have been created out of their own imaginations. Summer is the perfect time for this. More free time means more imagination. I’m not afraid of screen time but I also keep limits on it. I do this to be able to create space for other things, not because I think screen time is bad.
Encourage outdoor play, family time, and imaginations to run wild. Summer homeschool is easy! Don’t stress and enjoy the time. There’ll never be another summer just like this one.