Classroom teachers may be packing up their rooms for the summer, but for many homeschooling families summer is a season of vast opportunities. Summer vacations, trips to historic sites and simple days spent exploring the outdoors all lend themselves to learning. Today, Renae Deckard, homeschooling mom and teacher, offers parents and teachers some great ways to homeschool through the summer months. Read her ideas and then share with us how you encourage learning during the lazy days of summer!
Homeschooling All the Time
Lesson plans wait as my little girls collect twigs and pull grass. A Birds’ Nature Park emerges underneath the green-tipped lilac branches. My twelve-year-old son gathers cast-off lumber and sketches plans for a chicken coop.
These first beautiful days of spring remind me of one of the reasons I homeschool: the inherent flexibility.
During my son’s first year of phonics lessons, our schedule matched public school. I hadn’t considered any other possibility. Then the blistering East Texas summer came. I quickly realized our free time would be more enjoyable if it was bearable outside. The next year school started in July. Our breaks corresponded with the glorious fall and colorful spring.
Now we live in the rugged North with it’s mild (in comparison) summer. We will still continue lessons throughout the warm days, but I have a few ideas for embracing the season.
Raising chickens has never been part of my plan, but my son pounced on the idea. Why should I deter his excitement? He is old enough to care for them and his sisters are salivating over the thought of fresh eggs for breakfast. The chicken coop is under construction.
Our porch is shielded from the sun. It is a perfect place for splashing paint and molding clay. We can get messy without worrying about clean-up. I’ll hang a simple clothes line to hold the drying masterpieces.
Gaze at the stars
I remember sleeping on a cold trampoline watching the moon glide across the twinkling sky until my eyelids fell. The wonder of our universe is a gift simple to pass onto my little ones.
Explore the wilderness
The parks and mountains beg us to explore. As we hike, I will point out the wildflowers and rocks, birds and insects. My children will continue observing and shout excitedly when they discover something new.
Enjoy ONE book
I want to savor and examine one book, instead of the many. I want to read slowly while words mingle with the breeze and hungry eyes stare at the sky imaging the sea or the timeline of the ages. Going deep with one story will enhance all others.
Plant a garden
Experiencing the promise of life-giving food will teach more than a textbook. I doubt our garden will be huge this year, but a simple bunch of herbs and a few tomatoes will be enough to ignite interest in seeds, plants, soil, and weather.
The rhythm of the seasons is part of learning, of education. I listen to its beat in the warm breeze, nodding my head to the possibilities. My children hear it, too. They are tugged outside again.
Do you homeschool through the summer? If so, do you change your schedule?
About the Author
Renae Deckard teaches her twelve-year-old son and two little girls at home. She has prepared lesson plans, enjoyed children’s literature, and delighted in discovery for over seven years.