What’s the best part of being a classroom teacher? June, July and August. So goes the old joke about teaching. There are many homeschoolers who follow the public school schedule from August-ish to May-something, but there are also those who school year round.

I have found, however, that most parents lighten their load in the summer months. Not only teachers, but also students might just need a break. They have completed another academic level and will move to the next one soon. This in-between time can be a time of rest for their hard-working brains, but you clever parents can sneak in some learning too! Whatever it looks like, summer is an opportunity for student growth.

Summer is a great time to explore subjects & topics that you may not cover in the regular year. Perhaps you are more comfortable being able to move arts and crafts outdoors and let them explore paints, Papier Mache or other messy projects in the summertime. More physical activity might be the time to learn health sciences. Gardening is a lovely opportunity to learn about seeds, plant care, pest control, rainfall, food, nutrition and cooking. Have kids keep a journal about their garden to compare it with next year’s crops!

Summer is also a great time to review or touch base on key skills. Math and writing seem to be areas parents spend additional time on. How do you work math into summer? You can use a simple workbook for math, or even games, but think about children doing some family budgeting or letting them help with paying bills (writing checks, banking online, reconciling bank statements, etc.). Decide how much fertilizer to buy for your garden. Or, how about letting kids help with a yard sale, make a lemonade or cookie stand, or even a find a job in the neighborhood mowing lawns? There is a lot of meaningful math in earning & managing money. Travel is a great opportunity for culture and geography, but how about using it for learning about mileage (gas prices, miles/kilometers), car maintenance, or listening to some interesting audio books together and discussing them when you stop for lunch!

And how can you practice writing? Younger children can work on their handwriting in a workbook or something more organic, just a page a day. You may want your older kiddos to do the same if this is an area that needs improvement. Consider using copywork, but find text in a subject they find fun and interesting. You can practice writing out spelling or vocabulary words, or even sentences from their favorite storybooks. Use the dotted half-line paper if they are still learning. Older students can do some writing in their own “summer journal.” Some people say to just have kids do free writing (letting the ideas flow without attention to details), but I would personally like to see the students apply the grammar and mechanics they learned during the previous school year. Perhaps you compromise and let them write freely during the week and edit their own text on the weekend, looking for spelling errors and punctuation. One more option would be to have children write new words on an index card. By the end of summer break, they can look back on all the new words they learned while school was out!

Have fun balancing free time and learning time. Summer is a great time to remember that learning can be a fun adventure.