To School or Not To School During the Summer
So what I have found for my kids during the summer is that they tend to get into trouble or beg to watch too many shows or play too many video games if we don’t have any structure at all. So I have found that even though it is summer and we all want a break, it really helps to have some structure. It seems that we end up doing some academic work/ homeschool about 3 days a week in the summer. It also helps come fall because we don’t have to do much review, doing a little bit in the summer keeps the concepts fresh, and all the playing of the summer makes school exciting come fall.
The Weekly Break Down
One day a week goes to a field trip or the beach, and 1 day goes to playing with friends, going on a hike, shopping or doing whatever. The other 3 days that we tend to be home– we try really hard to do our chores well– keep up the house and the stuff that has to happen to live well. I just add academics to the chore list– 1-2 pages of math, a minimum of 20 minutes of reading, a little bit of Greek, 1 page in Word Study and Grammar Practice and practicing the piano everyday. We don’t have group time except at night I will read to them and I do try to read and sing with the younger kids at least 3 days a week.
The older kids tend to have their projects they are working on, so as long as they are caught up on their studies, they are free to pursue their projects, reading and interests. If we are extra busy, or have gone on lots of outings or are on the road, then we won’t do any academics at all. We usually only do academics when we are home all day. The structure seems to help get the kids thinking of other things they can do and prevents the whole boredom issues of summer. But kids need time to just be and just play, so academics is really low on the summer priority list. We really just play it by ear, if they are happy and keeping themselves out of trouble and keeping up with their few chores, then that is enough for me– if they need more structure, don’t seem quite so happy, then they get assigned more stuff. There is usually a reward involved– like screen time and that motivates them.
Managing Screen Time
But it is important to keep control of the screens or they will take over. When it gets to be too much, we have taken completely screen free weeks. It seems that taking a week off is enough to reset and it no longer becomes such a need to the kids. We keep screen time limited anyway. I may let them play for 15 minutes each day when they are all done with their chores, piano and school work for the day. They don’t get to play at all unless they have done some academic work. They get to play longer on Fridays and Saturdays. They earn 1 hour for doing their Saturday jobs and 1 hour for finishing all their work for the week. They can earn more minutes by doing extra chores around the house that I approve. We try really hard to make sure everybody plays at the same time so that we can have hours of no screens. I let them watch shows in the evening while I make dinner or if I have errands to run. I will make them watch a French show, an educational show and then they can take turns picking a regular show. We will also save the screen time for when my husband and I go on dates or for when I go running. But it is a great motivator in helping the kids get their work done, and they love it, so screens are definitely an integral part of our lives.
So that is pretty much it for our summers. Lots of time at the lake, at the beach, at the park and just lying around at home. Parades on the 4th of July, camping, bar-b-ques, get togethers, trips and lots of fun are the main focus of our summers. I love summer!! This summer will be interesting, we have pretty much started our summer schedule as I want to finish emptying our house for our move to France so we can get in some beach days and field trips before we leave this blessed area. Then in France it will be a whole new experience learning the language, figuring out exactly what we will be doing for school and extra curriculars. Learning how to travel around on the train, finding the good beaches, lakes and hikes there as well visiting lots of historical places. It will be and adventure.
What are you looking forward to this summer? What is your summer schedule like? Every summer does seem a little different. I can’t wait!! Summer here we come!!