There’s much to be said for good ol’ summertime–the weather, the fun, and the much-needed vacation time.
Yet summer can be, for families contemplating homeschooling in the fall, a wonderful opportunity to explore educational options and prepare mentally for the road ahead.
Well, I can think of five reasons of the top of my head:
1. In the summer, our regular routine is broken. There’s freedom in that, chiefly because we look at our lifestyle choices with fresh eyes. We see what is working… and what isn’t.
2. The change in routine reminds us that we can adapt. The rest of the year–our calendars busy with to-do lists and set schedules, we parents tend toward pessimism and entropy thinking modifications to “the way things are” are impossible. It’s worth noting that in the summer many families–especially those who struggle with the idea of how to work and homeschool–find that there are resources available to them for daycare. Or they figure out how to cobble together a workable solution.
The reality is that, in many instances, similar opportunities are available (or can be made available) year ’round.
3. June through August, museums and cultural organizations offer more outreach programming geared to youngsters. That’s no accident. They are doing it on purpose, to generate ticket sales. But per this post, many are starting to see the wisdom of targeting homeschoolers (including unschoolers, a sub-group) throughout the year. This is a trend that I’ve seen in our community. Again, you can use the summer months to scope out options that might supplement your family’s curriculum during the school year.
4. You can “try before you buy” a bit of homeschooling and see what works. Take a week out of the summer and do some intentional curriculum planning using free lesson plan workshops. You can go DIY or even pick up a workbook from the bookstore. (BrainQuest is a great, reliable series.) You can also visit your library to pick up homeschool-related books. (A collection of my favorites are here.)
Keeping in mind that you don’t have to schedule a full 8 hours to “teach” your kids, see what happens if you intentionally allocate some time to learning. Truly, even 15 minutes a day playing a board game will be helpful (especially if you are inclined toward unschooling).
Remember: keep your expectations in check. There will be some trial and error. That’s natural, especially as you figure out what works. Yet with practice you will likely discover that homeschooling is a lot easier than it sounds.
5. Whatever the outcome, experimenting with homeschooling in the summer helps with learning retention. Let’s say that you decide to return your child to public school in the fall, even after you’ve tinkered several weeks with homeschooling in the summer. Odds are that your kids will remember a bit of it heading into the fall. Yes, even if you just focus your energy on practicing skills that they learned the year before, your “pupils” will be better prepared for returning to the classroom.