Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer School

No, I’m not talking about schooling year-round. I realize that some families find schooling year-round to be a viable option for many reasons, but my purpose here is not to discuss the merits of either a traditional school calendar or schooling year-round. Our family has chosen to school according to a more traditional school calendar, although we do make it work for us and not the other way around. However, I don’t want my children to forget everything during their summer break.

A few times a week, I have them work on some of their weaker skills for a short period (say, half an hour or two reading selections). We do math speed drills, typing games, and reading comprehension exercises. Of course, you can choose whatever skills your children need to work on. I let the kids do more of their drilling on the computer and try to incorporate more learning games as well.

Early in the summer, I make summer reading lists. I base the lists on their current reading levels, books that go along with the past or coming year’s history, and recommended books from a variety of sources (my favorite lists this year came from Veritas Press). Every time we make a trip to the library, the kids must choose several books off my list (and read them first) and then they are free to choose several fun books.

Summer school also includes educational field trips, library programs, crafts, and learning other life skills that we somehow don’t have time for during the school year. Homeschooling isn’t just about workbooks—it’s about a lifestyle of learning.

See, that’s not so bad! I don’t label what we do “summer school,” but just call it sharpening our skills. You can call it whatever you want, but the purpose is the same: to keep kids in the learning mindset.

Next time: Summer scheduling for a fabulous fall.