We have officially completed our sixth year of homeschooling! While that certainly doesn’t make us experts, we do have a few bits of wisdom to pass on. The first is: schooling year round rocks!
I love to school year round for a couple of reasons. Mainly, it takes an awful lot of pressure off me and the kids to accomplish a set amount of work that needs to be completed during the traditional school calendar. It affords a lot of grace for extended vacations, or moves, or illnesses. It even allows for breaks when burnout is taking over moods and quality of work.
Another great thing about schooling through the year, is that the learning trajectory keeps moving forward. Rather than the gradual slide back that happens when no learning is being done for a three month summer vacation, the kids keep all the new skills that they’ve learned and even have an opportunity to work ahead. Which leads to the best part about year-round schooling: less adjustment when the “new” school year does start. I learned early on, that kids who have had three months off from school, are really cranky about suddenly starting back up. We dealt with horrible attitudes, and outright laziness when it came to school work, not to mention the incredible amount of review that in my opinion, is just wasted time and opportunity.
Don’t feel bad for my kids though, for not getting the traditional break. They have it pretty easy and only school about three days a week, and usually 1-2 hours on those days. We focus on basic skills, like math, spelling, reading, and writing. It’s the perfect opportunity to work on mastering an algebra concept that’s been difficult to grasp, or tackle a few spelling words that are chronically misspelled. It’s also easier to incorporate all the “fun” school stuff that often gets set aside during our normally busy and full school days. Art projects, science experiments, and educational type games are the things that fill up our summer school days.
Olivia using letter stamps to practice reading her “ad” words.
Weaving Fish project for Ocean Science.
Spelling Beez game to practice second and fifth grade spelling words.
Sometimes I like to set up “Stations” with a 15 minute time limit. It only takes an hour for all four of them to cycle through. They get to (or are forced to, depending on who you ask) play with four different stations that feature some of our much neglected learning, building, and exploring type toys.
Other times I set up Art Stations, with either specific instructions or creative license granted.
Spelling family member names with Pairs of Pears.
Illumibot Robot Building kit.
Playdoh Food Factory station