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School’s out for summer…unless you live in the Rinna home.
Yup, we’re those crazy homeschoolers who homeschool year round.
Don’t get me wrong – we’re not plugging away at the table working every day instead of playing outside in the sprinkler. We still soak up all the benefits of summer – from popcicles to playdates. We even take break weeks every month.
I debated over this for a while – I mean, who wouldn’t want a three month vacation? (Especially the teacher!?)
Now, most of my friends who homeschool do not go year round; or if they do, they drop the academic curriculum and focus on Reason #5 below with camps and experiences. Let me be clear there is no “right way” to homeschool. That is the beauty of homeschool – finding what works for you family.
For our family, where structure is king and consistency is its queen, going without our core subjects all summer just wasn’t a good option.
1. Brain Drain
Multiple studies suggest kids lose up to THREE MONTHS of the previous year’s learning when the summer is taken off. Math receives an especially hard blow out of all the subjects. The first month of the next year is then spent review so that means, even at best, kids experience about five months lag time. My kids tend to learn better in frequent small doses so it just makes sense to drag the curriculum out over the year. This is why we keep our core subjects – bible, math, phonics, literature, and handwriting through summer.
2. No Rush To Finish a Book
Although we do usually wrap up our fall schedule by the following April or May and plan on a 40 week schedule, we aren’t tied to that. I am more concerned about mastery of subject than moving on and half-knowing it just because it’s “time.”
3. School = Teaching Kids to Love Learning
“Releasing” them of this for three months seems to send a somewhat negative message that we’d rather be doing something else.
4. Real Life Learning Never Stops
I know as an adult I don’t shut my brain off for three months a year. A great illustration of this was the summer after I graduated college. I had gone from taking in so much information and using my brain in such an exciting and critical way to working at a restaurant. Now I’m not knocking servers – waitressing is really hard physically and mentally and takes a lot of critical thinking in its own way, but not at the same level as college studying. I could feel brain cells being strangled out by the mundane and you know if you don’t use it, you lose it. I was desperate to use my mind in a more complex way. While I see the benefit in relaxing the schedule for a period (which we absolutely do) and taking small breaks, I feel like a whole summer off is too much for us.
5. There’s So Many Options
Schooling year round doesn’t have to look the same as it does come fall. In fact, for us, it doesn’t . We plan to utilize summer camps and lessons as well as projects and trips to fill our curriculum needs. Nearly everything can be a learning experience if the right spin and application is taken. Homeschool is all about making life count as learning anyway.
Most parents are already doing “school” in one way or another this summer. Why not consider how you can use summer to help achieve your homeschool goals throughout the year?