Relaxed Summer Homeschooling

One thing I really love about homeschooling is the freedom to decide when you teach and learn.  At public school, the days are long as are the winter, spring, fall, and summer breaks.  To me, it makes more sense to focus on education for fewer hours each day but spread the learning more evenly throughout the year.

That said, because I haven't even really started homeschooling yet, I'm not going to jump into summer schooling or year-round schooling yet.  I do, however, want to incorporate some more traditional learning activities (read: workbooks) into our summer days.  I envision these activities taking maybe an hour total (probably more like 30 minutes) and being very relaxed (meaning if we miss a day, we miss a day - no big deal).  I'm planning on having the kids do a math lesson, grammar lesson, and handwriting lesson every day.  I also bought sketch books, watercolor colored pencils, and markers for the kids because I really want art and nature study to play a large part of our summer - a post on that to come later.

For math, I'm planning on just using some Kumon workbooks.  I've used these for the kids in the past and they work really well.  They aren't the most fun or exciting, but they get the job done.  This summer I really want to focus on complex addition and subtraction for Eleanor (my almost third grader) so that she's ready to jump into multiplication and division in the fall.  For George (my almost first grader) I want to work on basic addition and subtraction as well as continuing to work on number writing up to 100.  I'm hopeful that this will solidify the basic skills they learned this past year so that when the fall rolls around they'll be ready to jump into new material without hesitation.  I also bought the Kumon cutting and tracing books for Ruby (my three-year-old).  George had these when he was little and they're great for developing the motor skills that will later be necessary to hold a pencil and write.

For grammar, I'm using a hodgepodge of language arts workbooks I already have on hand.  I'm focusing on first and third grade grammar rules over the summer (these are the grades my kids are going into) because I'm going to be doing a literature-based language arts curriculum in the fall and I really want to make sure that both kids have a handle on basic grammar rules before we get to that.

I love Handwriting Without Tears.  The company ran a sale in March when schools started closing down because of COVID-19 and I bought a printing book for George and a cursive book for Eleanor. The lessons are really short and simply (each lesson takes the kids about 10 minutes, max) but super effective.  The kids still have about 1/4 of their current workbooks left to complete so we're going to continue those through the summer and then start new workbooks in the fall.

We're also going to be doing a lot of reading.  Like I've said before, Eleanor is a big reader and my biggest challenge with her is keeping enough new books around for her to read (hopefully the libraries will open soon 🙏).  George is just starting to read so my goal with him is to just have him read something every day.  I also really love reading out loud to the kids so I'll keep doing that as well.

So that's it for traditional learning activities.  I think this will take us about 30-40 minutes a day, maybe more if the kids are unmotivated (ha).  Because we've been trapped inside for the last few months, I'm really hoping that we can spend the summer at parks (we have a lot of very open, grassy parks near our house) and beaches.  Continued social distancing should be easy at these places and we're desperate to get outside.


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