SummaryThree homeschooling veterans share their time tested tips on keeping their kids active, cool, and happy when the summer days get long, hot, and sticky.
Since my homeschooling career began with three energetic students (aka boys), I crafted a summer schedule with sanity in mind. Experience taught me that too much free-time led to boredom, and boredom led to stress (mostly for me as I tried to conjure up activities to appease the inevitable cries of “I’m bored.”)
Structure and flexibility were my goals. So, summer in my household includes a year-round school schedule, but with intentional flexibility that allows for spur-of-the-moment field trips, daily playtime, and vacation get-aways.
Mornings are our most productive time for schooling. Additionally, I find we are more inclined to get the most out of the day when the children wake-up at 7:30 am and take care of their chores.
Also, with a menagerie of animals under our care, sleeping until noon is not really an option, therefore we continue to rise early most weekdays. We work on school from about 9 am until noon and then we break for the day.
Having spent the morning at the school table, the kids are eager to go outside to play with friends, roam the yard, or splash in some source of water.
Lesson plans are written for nine-week semesters, but during the summer we often stretch them out.
For example, we may take two weeks to complete the Week 1 assignments. I have found it easiest to focus on completing each semester without worrying about setting a firm end date.
Of course, all work and no play, as the cliché goes, makes for an imbalance overall. So, summer always includes a family vacation. Some years the budget meant it was a stay-cation full of day trips, but every year we plan one full week of rest, relaxation, and fun activities as a family.
Tara Brelinsky, North Carolina
Hiking, Camping, and Finishing!
Summer in DC brings endless free time…. and crowds and heat and more crowds. We usually do not take many trips to the museums and monuments in the city (a regular occurrence during the school year), since in non-COVID times there are way too many people.
We walk every single morning, the kids playing and talking while I try to get my rosary prayed. (I hope Our Lady does not mind interruptions!)
Every child must do thirty minutes of reading and thirty minutes of math games on their tablet. For reading they usually start on next year’s books for their book reports and for math I buy them an app of learning games for their grade level. We are very involved in American Heritage Girls and Trail Life, and summer is prime time for badge work.
This summer my oldest is finishing up his physical fitness badge and starting the money management one, which requires completion of a high school level finance course.
My oldest daughter is going to work on her Catholic religious emblem, and my other children have mentioned cake decorating and space exploration as possibilities.
If the weather is not quite hot enough to make Dante proud, we all enjoy hiking and camping. Every May we finish our school year and go on a three-night camp out for Memorial Day.
In addition, we belong to an HOA and take advantage of the pool, and usually take one to three long weekend trips to visit family and friends.
Kristin Brown, Virginia
On Schedule—by Necessity
We live in the South where summer can be intense, so out of necessity of keeping eight kids occupied in the hot months, I keep them on a schedule. We still do daily Mass every morning, and then leave the day open for other activities that we can’t do during the regular school year.
We go swimming and try to take a daily walk. We do art, and last year I did Vacation Bible School for my kids at home.
We also did a literature study as a read-aloud and will continue with it this summer. By July or August at the latest, I get my kids back to their Seton schoolwork, because it is so hot, and we know we will need a few extra weeks to get everything all done by May.
Susan Brock, Charlotte, NC