Summer is a great time to explore new educational resources and activities with your children. Keep reading to see why we continue to homeschool in the summer and what activities we’ll be implementing this year, plus a list of fun summer homeschool ideas to consider for your family.
With spring finally here I’m in the midst of planning our summer homeschool.
I typically have two homeschool planning periods each year — one in the summer to map out our school year curriculum and another in the spring to plan our summer schedule.
I know what you’re thinking. But it’s summer! We need a break!
I get it, summer homeschool isn’t for everyone. And that’s totally fine! Some homeschooling families will choose to take a few months to enjoy the summer break, no structured learning in sight.
While homeschooling during summer may seem like a daunting task, with proper planning and organization, it can allow your family to have unique, hands-on learning experiences only available during the summer months and explore new educational resources for the coming school year.
With longer days and warmer weather, there are endless opportunities for fun learning activities for kids throughout the summer months. So, in addition to enjoying the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends, we adopt a relaxed and flexible summer homeschool schedule.
Why We Homeschool in the Summer
There are several reasons why we have chosen to continue to homeschool year-round. For us, learning is simply a natural part of everyday life. However, without some type of loosely structured plan in place to guide us, I feel that we end up missing out on a lot of natural learning opportunities. Setting a few short-term learning goals over the summer season sets us up for homeschooling success, allowing us to accomplish something real and meaningful in the process.
I hope to instill in my children the value of lifelong learning.
Maintaining a gentle, but consistent summer homeschool schedule helps reinforce that learning is a natural process that happens every day, in every aspect of our lives. From exploring new hobbies and handicrafts to navigating through daily tasks, we are constantly learning and growing.
One of the easiest ways to foster self-education is to set aside time for intentional learning every day. It can be as simple as reading books, playing games, and learning a new skill.
Homeschooling year-round grants us the flexibility to take breaks as needed.
Between birthdays, holidays, and gymnastics meet season, winter is an especially busy season for our family. Not to mention it’s hard for all of us to stay motivated when it’s so cold and dreary outside. We’re much more productive during the spring, summer, and fall months and tend to take more breaks during the winter.
Maintaining a consistent routine helps us stay sane.
Between homeschooling, work, and the kids’ extra-curricular activities, we simply do best with a consistent daily routine. It anchors our days and truly enhances our lives. Without that predictability, I’ve noticed we all get a bit cranky after awhile.
Our Summer Homeschool Schedule
To be honest, our summer homeschool schedule intentionally looks a lot like our schedule during the school year. As mentioned above, this helps us maintain a consistent daily routine that provides us with the stability we need to thrive as a family.
- We continue to do our morning basket together every day. The only difference being that we tend to migrate outside during the summer months in order to take advantage of the nice weather. Our morning basket time generally occurs during breakfast or shortly afterwards.
- We continue to read together every day. We have several different read-aloud times sprinkled throughout our day, one during lunch, another during snack time, and the last right before bed.
- We continue to play games together every day. Some days we’re each able to choose a game, other days we’ll alternate. In the summer, we like to play our board games outside. I’ve found playing games after we finish our morning basket time works best for us during the summer months. Afterwards, the girls usually break to play with friends before the weather gets too hot.
- We continue to eat together every day. Regular family meals are another great way to create a sense of predictability and consistency for children while also fostering family togetherness. Our meal times generally stay the same during the summer months, with the exception of lunch due to the girls’ summer gymnastics schedule.
So, what’s different about our summer homeschool schedule?
Generally, our summer homeschool schedule is a bit more relaxed. Rather than a solid 3-hour chunk of time in the morning devoted to structured learning, we sprinkle learning activities throughout the day. This allows us to stay flexible around the change in the girls’ gymnastics schedule, which shifts to the morning and/or afternoon during the summer months.
Last year, the girls loved packing picnic lunches on gym days and grabbing a few special games to play during this time. They each got some much-needed one-on-one time with me that’s hard to carve out during a regular day at home.
And, to be honest, I really look forward to the summer gymnastics schedule because it allows us to spend our evenings at home. We’re able to hike after the weather cools down, tell stories around the campfire, and spend more time hanging out with friends and neighbors.
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Summer Homeschool: Ideas and Activities
Every spring I look forward to selecting new things for us to explore during the summer months.
Sometimes we’ll tackle a large project together, like learning how to grow a garden a couple years ago. The girls helped build their own raised beds, planned their garden plot, sprouted their seeds, and tended to their plants all summer long. We were rewarded with a delicious bounty of fresh vegetables, and it’s now something the girls eagerly look forward to doing every spring.
Other times we’ll aim for a few smaller projects that we can accomplish over the summer months.
Here’s a look at the educational resources and learning activities we’ll be exploring this summer.
I try to make sure we do a bit of math every day. Sometimes it’s a math lesson, other times it’s simply playing a math game, cooking, or even our daily number talk. This summer we’ll be exploring geometry together.
To be honest, I’ve purposefully been avoiding geometry up to this point, probably because I suffered so many fits about it my freshman year of high school. Proofs were my bane. I couldn’t conceptually wrap my head around them.
In the end I guess I persevered and did manage to successfully make it through that class, but it definitely wasn’t an enjoyable learning experience for me. Hence, I’m still apprehensive about geometry more than 20 years later.
Only now have I begun to discover that geometry can actually be pretty cool. Honestly, I think that’s one of the things I love the most about homeschooling — rediscovering the beauty and diversity in learning (alongside my most favorite people in the world of course). Here’s a few of the geometry-related resources we’ll be using this summer.
This Book Thinks You’re a Math Genius
This hands-on activity book allows kids to creatively explore several key mathematics concepts such as geometry, measurement, patterns, logic, and codes and ciphers. If my kids love this book, I plan on using Anna Weltman’s This Is Not A Maths Book this fall.
If your children have been wanting to learn a new skill or you’d like to introduce a new handicraft, summer is the perfect time. We try to carve out 30-60 minutes a day to work on handicrafts and/or art projects.
Sewing & Embroidery
The girls have been learning sewing and embroidery over the past few years. This summer we’re going to start a larger hand embroidered project together and begin sewing the “Twelve Days” Christmas ornament series.
There’s so many ways to have a lot of fun with language arts. Here’s a few of the language arts activities we’ll be doing this summer.
Read Books. Lots of Books.
Reading aloud is one of the most important activities that parents and caregivers can do with children, no matter their age. If you’re able, make visiting the library a regular part of your summer homeschooling routine and prioritize read-aloud time throughout your days.
Listed below are some of the books we’ll be reading together this summer. The majority of them are part of our homeschool curriculum, The Global Explorers Club: South America. If you’re interested in joining, you can find out more about it by clicking the link below.
The Global Explorers Club
Are you ready to share in the wonder and discovery of our world with your children?
We’ll also be starting two new book series: Esther Averill’s Jenny and the Cat Club and Barbara Sleigh’s Carbonel: The King of Cats series. Our cat is a favorite, so I’m hoping the girls will enjoy both these book series.
Of course, we’ll also be reading picture books together, and my kids enjoy borrowing books from the library to read independently as well.
Our Summer Reading Plan
- The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by Maria Garcia Esperon
- The Incredible Yet True Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt by Volker Mehnert
- Journey to the Last River by Teddy Keen
- Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina
- A Discovery of Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
- Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
- Fuzz McFlops by Eva Furnari
- Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill
- Carbonel: The King of Cats by Barbara Sleigh
Begin a Notebooking Project.
Using Teddy Keen’s book Journey to the Last River as inspiration, this summer we’ll begin a notebooking project for The Incredible Yet True Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt: The Greatest Inventor-Naturalist-Scientist-Explorer Who Ever Lived. Part-travelogue, part-scrapbook, it’ll be interesting to see what we all choose to record in our notebooks. I splurged and ordered these watercolor notebooks for our project.
While we read poetry every day as part of our morning time, I’ve yet to “formally” introduce the different types of poems. Thanks to author Eva Furnari, we’ll do a very low key study of poetry when we read her book Fuzz McFlops this summer. Other poets we’ll encounter include Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.
Compile a Cookbook.
So technically we’ve already started this project, but it’s one we’ll continue throughout the summer as we begin exploring South America. Basically, for every country that we study, we find a recipe (or two) and prepare it together, taking pictures along the way. Afterwards, my kids help each other write a “How To” section to include in our “Global Explorers” cookbook.
Science, Geography, Art, Music, etc.
So, what about the other subjects besides math, writing, reading, and handicrafts? We’ll be covering them with our core curriculum, The Global Explorers Club: South America.
Since there’s no formal timeline for our country studies, we’re free to move at our own pace, exploring each country for as long as we want.
With South America in particular, here are just a few of the activities we’ll be doing this summer:
- Explore different geographical regions, including the Orinoco River, the Galápagos Islands, the Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, the Argentine Pampas, Patagonia, the Amazon River, and the Amazon Rain Forest.
- Learn about archeology and create a fieldwork journal.
- Study the Inka Empire and its legacy.
- Meet several different artists and musicians and learn about Peruvian embroidery and weaving and Paraguayan Ñandutí lace.
More Summer Homeschool Ideas
If you’re looking for even more summer homeschool activities for your children, here’s a list of ideas for you to consider this year.
- Begin a gardening project.
- Start a nature journal.
- Take an orienteering class.
- Find a pen pal.
- Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Try out a new sport.
- Explore photography.
- Begin studying a new language.
- Learn a new handicraft. Here’s some suggestions:
- Soap making
- Soapstone carving
- Screen printing
- Paper making
- Book binding
- Wet felting
- Needle felting
- Paper modeling or origami
- Undertake an artist and/or composer study.
- Explore a new art medium — watercolor, gouache, acrylic, brushwork, charcoal, chalk drawing, pottery, etc.
- Begin to learn coding. And, no, this doesn’t necessarily need to involve screens. Check out the concept of unplugged coding for more information.
- Start a board game club.
- You can also start a book club.
- Set up a lemonade stand and learn all about entrepreneurship and business.
- Volunteer at a local nature preserve.
- Learn to cook. Better yet, try campfire cooking or make your own solar oven!
- Take advantage of free woodworking workshops for kids.
- Learn all about chemistry and make homemade ice cream and grow your own crystal garden.
- Try your hand at solar dying. You can grow your own dye plants and learn about gardening in the process.