How To Keep Your Kids Learning Year Round

By Crystal Ladwig, Ph. D.

With most parents and children in Alachua County looking forward to the fast approaching summer, you may be wondering what home-schoolers do during this time. After all, we often brag about our flexible schedules, right? Well, summers are no different.

A quick poll of home schooling parents will find just as many varieties of home schooling over the summer, as there
are home schooling styles throughout the school year. Several parents in the Gainesville Area Homeschoolers group said they home-school throughout the summer. It’s “our most productive time since school year activities have stopped,” said one mom.

Juli Stewart, moderator of the Titus 2 homeschool newsletter, said “we have always schooled year-round. Then vacations, birthdays, illness, holidays could be no school days!”

Some home-schoolers take a hybrid approach, doing some (but not all) of our usual course load during the summer. There’s no need to worry about the summer slide. We just keep going with our curricula at a slower pace. For example, our family continues to do two or three learning activities per day, but we also take time off for camps and typical summer fun outdoors.

Even home-schoolers who choose to home-school year-round have to take breaks. Home-schoolers have a goal to live life with our children, not to overload them. It’s important, no matter what time of year, to give yourself and your kids a break from time to time. We all need that!

Home-schoolers who keep schooling during the summer see a lot of benefits as it provides structure and consistency for children who need it. “It’s also real life. Very few adults have the opportunity to take off the entire summer,” said home- schooler Heather C.

When it comes to summer curricula, some parents stick with their usual programs. Others may take advantage of community events or allow their children extra time to explore areas of interest. Home schooling parents who do activities said they frequently include classes or camps, regular trips to the library, extra read-aloud time and field trips that coincide with family vacations. Life is a learning opportunity, and home-schoolers take advantage of that no matter the time of year.

Summer is also typically a big planning time for many home schooling parents. After attending spring home school conferences, attending used curriculum sales with other parents and selecting curricula, most home-schoolers are excited about the coming year. Summer provides a great time to plan for the next year, get organized, pack up the previous year’s materials and organize the family home school room and materials for the coming year. Remember, Florida law requires you to keep a portfolio for the past two years.

Summertime for home-schoolers can be just as much fun as it is for everyone else. But that doesn’t mean it has to look like everyone else’s summer! Whether you choose to do additional science experiments, explore new interests, or just take it easy, make summer home schooling your own, enjoy your kids, snuggle up with them for some extra reading and have fun!