Year-Round Home School & Our Summer Session

Homeschool doesn’t have to fit a traditional schedule. We’re schooling year-round with a summer session.

Year-Round School and Our Summer Session - Homeschool doesn't have to fit a traditional schedule. We're schooling year-round with a summer session.

We’ve just completed our 12th year of homeschooling. That is pretty remarkable to me. I’m pleased to say the experiment is working.

Yet, a successful homeschool doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of worry, wasting of money, and freaking out. Okay. Sort of. Another way of looking at it is that it calls for much prayer, a willingness to abandon curriculum that doesn’t work, and many tear-filled conversations with my husband to solve problems.

It’s a challenge to be sure. But, it’s a good one. One of the perks is being able to create our own school calendar for the year. And I love the freedom to do school all year-round.

Year Round School

Year-round school is not a new invention. In my day back in Saugus, California, the school year started in late July with vacations every nine weeks. Even before the 70s it was a common practice in many states. (I read that on Wikipedia.)

As a child I loved the practice of frequent vacations and breaks from school. As a homeschooler, I’ve loved it more. A long three month vacation in the summer means that kids forget stuff they knew well in June, plus they throw major hissy fits in September when it’s time to get back into routine.

When you are both mom and teacher, you get a double dose of hissy fit. Blech.

When the kids were younger, it was easy to never take a break, but just make summer an extension of the school year. Yet summer calls for a more relaxed way of life, so we’ve done light “summer session”, including literature and math in our everyday, but relaxing a little bit when it comes to other things. Don’t worry: my kids get plenty of entire days off of math — unless you call zombie-like video game playing math. 

Year-Round School and Our Summer Session - Homeschool doesn't have to fit a traditional schedule. We're schooling year-round with a summer session.

 

No one takes a vacation from reading, though. That’s non-negotiable.

As I mentioned yesterday I’m coming to peace with my busyness and trying not to make excuses or apologies for the season of life I find myself in. It’s not what life was ten years ago — when my days were spent entirely focused on child care — but neither are my responsibilities detrimental to my family. I’m still convincing myself to relax about this work-at-home-mom thing just a bit.

Our Summer Session

Year-Round School and Our Summer Session - Homeschool doesn't have to fit a traditional schedule. We're schooling year-round with a summer session.This summer I realized that our season of life is begging for year-round school. The kids and I agreed that medium effort most of the time is more appealing than fits and spurts of very intense studying. So, we’re shifting gears a bit in our homeschool.

What our summer session looks like:

  • Daily math (Teaching Textbooks for those 3rd grade and above; 1st grade Saxon Math for FishChick5)
  • Daily read-alouds for those 12 and under (Currently: The Wingfeather Saga)
  • Daily independent reading for those over 6 (FishChick7 is reading Eight Cousins)
  • Daily Bible discussions (We’re reading through the book of Matthew and memorizing The Lord’s Prayer)
  • Weekly outings
  • Music and art history (we haven’t started yet, but we need to do so soon.)

Summer session will switch in a month or so when we add back in science, history, writing, logic, spelling/vocabulary, grammar, and foreign language. I’m still working out the details, but will be sharing our curriculum choices soon. Let me know if you’d rather see them listed by subject or grade level. Also, I’ll be listing some school books for sale soon, so keep an eye open.

Do YOU do school year-round?

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Comments

  1. Our children attend public school so they have a 2-½ month break over the summer. We try to concentrate on things that the school does not focus on. Daily efforts during the summer include 20 minutes of independent reading, 20 minutes of read aloud with Mom, 20 minutes of music instrument practice and 20 minutes of voice practice. For my read aloud content I trade off between American history, which I think the school does a poor job of incorporating into the curriculum and Bible studies, which obviously are not included in a public school curriculum.

    We aim for two outings a month during the summer that are part educational and part fun. In June we toured a sign museum. Part of the time was spent watching a master craftsman make neon signs. Our youngest is very artistic and she was fascinated with the whole process. Our other June outing was to a candy-making museum. Part of the experience was watching them make candy using molds and other tools from the 1800s; the other part was spent sampling the results. Needless to say, this was a VERY popular summer school activity. Fresh from the mold, still warm cinnamon drops – can you say yum! In July we will be taking a day trip to tour the Louisville Slugger museum.

    We don’t do much intentional math during school other than what is involved while helping me with the cooking and baking.

    In my opinion, the most important part of summer for my children is traveling and spending extended periods with their grandparents. I can read all the books I want to them about WWII but those books will never be as interesting as seeing Grandma’s ration books and hearing first-hand about using dye packs to color the margarine yellow or listening to Grandpa talk about collecting scrap metal for the war effort.

  2. We shifted to a year round school 9 years ago when we moved from NY to TX. With temps hovering at or above 100 for 3 months, it didn’t make sense to not to something academic, as the kids simply wanted to be indoors for the afternoon. Screen time can’t last 6 hours lol. So, we play outside in the mornings, and come in for an hour or 2 or academics. Still plenty of time for fun. It also gives us a chance to get caught up or ahead depending on the student and their school-year activities. Not to mention the freedom to take a break from Thanksgiving to New Years every year, and several “mental health days for mom/teacher” throughout the year…

  3. Courtney says:

    My kids are enrolled in an online academy and we have chosen to have their school year begin in early September and end in early July. During the school year, their schedule is pretty rigorous, so I think it’s important for them to have a couple months in the summer that are more relaxed. However, there will still be some learning going on this summer. My oldest (age 15) is taking an online computer science course. My younger two (ages 12 & 14) will be brushing up on math so they don’t forget what they learned this school year.

  4. Charlena says:

    Hi Jessica congrats on your 12th year of homeschooling! I’m a teacher and it is rewarding,but with your own children…well that just puts the icing on the cake. My twins,5 will be going to Kindergarten this fall. I am excited for them;they will love it! I only hate the hustle and bustle of school. I hate having to squeeeeze in time with them after work or daycare as it is. You are an inspiration and I look forward to the day that I am able to homeschool my little bugs! At what age did you start homeschooling Jessica?

    • Basically from birth. I quit teaching when my first son was born, and we already knew that this is what we wanted to do. Our story is here. Seventeen years ago that was a pretty crazy idea. So far, the experiment is working. :)

  5. I’d love to read your curriculum choices by grade level. Then I can copy! Actually we attend a hybrid school and most of our curriculum is decided for us, as are lesson plans, which is fine with me. In the summer, we do lots and lots of reading, incorporating children’s classic literature a la Honey for a Child’s Heart along with whatever my guy is interested in reading. We also practice math facts (but I’ve not been so consistent this summer). And we follow along with the Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool’s online curriculum a few days a week, based on the grade level my son is entering. Oh, and piano practice. Then there’s summer swim camp, cub scout camp, VBS, summer dollar movies, beach days, free shows at the library, our neighborhood pool, the fair, and whatever other activities and outings strike our fancy. I do enjoy that our summer schedule is less rigid in terms of academics, but I try to have us continue to loosely follow our regular routine, so as not to get out of good habits. By the way, sign me up for a trip to the candy and sign-making museum that reader Janet mentioned! What fun they both sounded. I’ll have to look around my area for similar experiences.

  6. love reading your site and look forward to more homeschooling information. I have done it off and on. more off really. My oldest wants to be homeschooled this year and I m so nervous. He loves teaching textbooks and I will be doing time4learning till I can figure out some better options. will be searching your page for sure for more info(: thank you(:

  7. We still mostly follow the traditional school schedule, but have kept doing math 2 times a week and reading around here is also a non negotiable. They each owe me a book every month, plus whatever else they want to read. Reading’s big at our house anyway.

  8. Great and interesting post! We’ve been doing summer school, doing everything on your list, without even knowing it! Lol! How encouraging!

    I would love to see your curriculum choices by grade level! I have been reading through your homeschooling posts and have gleaned so much great information. :-)

    • So glad to hear it! I’m having a meeting with my high school senior today, so hopefully, I’ll be able to report back with our choices for the next year soon.

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