2013 Summer School Plans
It’s our third year of summer schooling since that first summer we started our homeschool journey.
Our first summer we did a few big unit studies: the Revolutionary War, wildflowers and the ocean. They were a fun start to homeschooling with my little almost six year old boy who didn’t want to sit still and my barely 9 year old who had just finished public school second grade.
Our second summer I planned too much: some core curriculum work for both kids along with beginning full science and history curricula that I planned to continue with in the fall. It wasn’t a bad summer, but I never felt I got as much done as I wanted and just continuing on with those same items in the fall wasn’t a very refreshing transition.
So here we are in summer number three. I love year round schooling, but I’m taking a bit more relaxed approach this summer. Though I’m always adjusting in our homeschool I felt ready for some real examination of my techniques and tactics before next year. A few things need tweaking as we grow into our homeschool skin and my daughter enters the middle school years. I’ve been reading and re-reading and thinking and re-thinking. In the meantime I’m taking it fairly light on formal schoolwork for the summer.
Independent Summer Schoolwork
We’re making good progress on making their chores and certain responsibilities happen without a lot of reminders from me using our summer schedules.
11 Year Old Daughter
On her checklist for schoolwork she is required to read and practice piano daily, do XtraMath and typing twice a week, and we’re starting a Life of Fred Fractions lesson once a week. She uses Teaching Textbooks during the year, so we’re trying LOF as a fun summer supplement.
7 Year Old Son
My son’s biggest goal is to practice reading! After finishing Funnix (my review on Curriculum Choice here) I kept fretting about whether he needed more formal curriculum for reading. He just wants to read, and read fun books (not leveled readers with a boring story). A post by one of my favorite bloggers, Heather of Blog She Wrote, reassured me that just reading is the best next step. So that’s what we do nearly every day. And I still read to him from both picture and chapter books.
What We’ll Work on Together
We’ve just started What Every Child Needs to Know about Western Civilization from Brimwood Press. So far I’m really impressed by this ingenious history program. We’re spreading this out over the summer, and it is a perfect break from our labor intensive history studies. This is open-and-go for me: just some reading aloud and looking at pictures is giving us a better view of the overall flow of history. Lovely. (I’ll write a full review soon.)
We were so history-focused last year that my science-loving son has asked for more science. Especially experiments that call for goggles. So here we go! This may look like a lot, but they’re all just flexible topics that we do when time and desire presents itself.
- Nature Study: Okay, so we don’t usually need goggles in nature study, but my boy does love bugs and the outdoors. We’ll continue to use Barb’s ideas at the Handbook of Nature Study blog (be sure to subscribe so you get her newsletter) and just try to dive in and learn about things that find us.
- Snap Circuits: My son is also quite tech-obsessed, so we’re working through a study of electricity with lots of hands-on fun using our Snap Circuits kit. I wrote a review on Curriculum Choice of the kit and the student guide we’re using.
- Human Body: I have a bunch of resources for a human body study that I pulled together last fall when my kids were asking questions about how our bodies work. I hate to say all the great books did nothing but sit on the shelf, but I hope to crack them open this summer. My approach will be more relaxed than what I first planned: pretty much read and look at pictures, and do a fun hands-on observation, dissection, or experiment when they’re interested and it’s easy. I think a few could involve goggles.
I’m planning to jump in for another great resource from Barb, also known as Harmony Art Mom. She usually posts Sketch Tuesday assignments with a topic to draw. This summer she’s posting all kinds of different art projects, and anyone is free to send in photos of their finished work and she puts them all in a slideshow.
Another goal for art this summer is to just get out the supplies once in a while and let them create without direction from me. Crazy, huh?
I think the thing I will miss most when my children grow up and move out is reading aloud together. I know my daughter, at 11 years old, still looks forward to our reading times. Our first (big) goal is the entire Chronicles of Narnia…we’re already on the second book and loving it.
So that’s the plan. An hour here and there throughout the week accomplishes our relaxed summer learning, with lots of time left for being outside, camping, swimming, hiking, playing, creating, and following interests as they come up.