I know that there are many families who officially homeschool year-round, but ours does not. Maybe it’s a hold-over from our public school days, but we start school in August and end in May. Or at least I thought we did.
Being in the second summer of our homeschooling adventure, I’m finding that the line between “in school” and “out of school” is becoming more blurred at the end of each school year. Does the fact that the calendar turned from May 31st to June 1st mean that some crazy switch turned off in our son’s brain and he stopped learning or wanting to learn? Well, no, of course not, but I have to admit that some little part of me thought that would actually happen. Just two weeks into our summer break, however, I already have a lot of evidence to the contrary.
- He’s read at least five new books, both fiction and non-fiction, and our weekly trips to the library continue.
- He’s continued working through a computer programming tutorial that he started before the end of the school year.
- He’s been playing a space/astronomy game that we found during the school year.
- He’s watched several educational documentaries on TV.
- He continues music lessons, has started dancing lessons, has a part in a community theater summer production, and is taking part in two camps.
- He continues to pepper our two resident wildlife experts with questions each Sunday about what cool critters are flourishing in the rain pond wildlife area behind our church.
- His Bible study continues in Sunday school and youth group, and he’ll be helping to lead Vacation Bible School and a summer mission project with the youth at our church.
- I found him using math (gasp!) the other day to figure out how much fuel he would need to complete a trip in his favorite flight simulator game.
Have I walked into his room and found him practicing long division, grammar rules, or his cursive handwriting? No. I think I might faint if I did. It’s hard enough to get him to do those things during the school year! But I think that there is plenty of evidence that he’s still learning lots! And like the question, “What grade are you in?”, I’m finding that answering the question, “So are you out of school for the summer?” is becoming ever more difficult to answer.
So what does “summer break” actually mean for our family? The main difference I see is that I don’t sit down each Sunday night and put lessons for the week into the planning software we use, or keep a fairly detailed record of what our son is learning. We don’t have specific hours each day set aside as school hours or sit down with him and work through specific lessons. But our son is still doing math, science, reading, writing, history…all the subjects we cover during the school year!
Maybe “summer break” is actually more of a distinction for my husband and me than it is for our son. I’d be happy for that to be the case. From the beginning, one of our goals for homeschooling our son was not just to teach him a certain body of knowledge, but (even more importantly to us) to instill in him a love of learning and the skills to go out and explore topics that interest him. As there is less and less distinction between the school year and summer break in our family, I think we’re getting ever closer to that goal.
Do you homeschool all year, and if you do, when you say that your school year has officially “flipped” from one to the next? Do you homeschool during the summer but on a different or lighter schedule? I’d love to hear how others handle the months of June, July, and August in their families!