It seems like every school year I resolve to have a “real” summer break, and every summer I find myself in summer school in some shape or form. The reasons and the form of summer lessons has varied from year to year.
First, our Southwest summers are h.o.t., so we basically hibernate. Some form of continuing education keeps us busy and gives purposes to our long days. Sometimes, we school in the summer to catch up on subjects we didn’t finish. Whether it’s a busy extracurricular schedule, church activities, or family responsibilities, it’s easy to get behind on a subject or two or several weeks of lessons by the end of the school year.
We’ve also used summer school to concentrate on a subject we didn’t have time to cover in the school year like science or read alouds. Core subjects are the priority of our school year, but summer is a chance to take an elective. If one of my kids has a particular interest in a topic, summer is a great time to dig deeper into their interests.
Other times, we have continued with a few subjects to keep the skills fresh (like math and music) especially in their beginner years. Also, when my kids are first learning to read, I keep them reading to me daily that first summer, so we don’t totally backslide.
Another way to make summer school work for you is to start your school year mid-summer. This is especially helpful if you are anticipating a major interruption like a new baby, moving, or extended travel.
There are also a variety of ways to structure your summer school routine. You may choose to do lessons every morning but take afternoons off. Or homeschool 2-3 days a week (either consecutive or alternating), so there are days open for fun outings, projects, and creative boredom. Also, you can focus on one subject at a time or juggle 2-3 every day.
I’m a firm believer in summer break as a “mental health” break for the teacher. Maybe one of these years, I’ll practice what I preach. I hope you are enjoying a refreshing break, but summer school might be the right fit for you as it has been for mine.