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What should homeschoolers do over the summer?

mom-dad-child-kids-homeschool-homework-learn-school- - Yuri A

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 05/28/24

If you’d like to make a plan for what kinds of learning to focus on when the formal schoolwork ends, here are a few ideas for your summer!

Here’s a salute to all you fellow homeschool parents, getting through this very last part of the school year. The end is in sight, but the finish line still feels so far away!

While my family does school year-round, we have a much lighter school schedule during the summer, so I usually keep a short list of things I really want to focus on during those months. Usually, these are learning activities that we didn’t get to do during the school year for whatever reason.

Maybe you want to take a break from planning absolutely anything for the summer, and just focus on a summer full of splash pads, Popsicles, and play dates, with zero schoolwork in sight. That’s totally understandable, and honestly sounds dreamy. 

But if you want to use the summer to check off some educational items from your list, we’ve got you covered. If you’d like to make a plan for what to focus on when the formal schoolwork ends, here are a few ideas for your summer!

Life skills

What are some life skills your kids should know at this age? I would start there.

Can your child cook a few basic meals? Can they do laundry? Buy something on their own at the store? Mend a rip in their clothing? Weed a garden? Introduce friends at a party? Politely greet adults? Write a thank-you note? 

Whatever it is you want your child to master, summer is a great time to do a little brush-up on these life skills.

For my kids, the life skills of swimming and biking are the big focus. My goal for this summer is to make sure my older kids can all swim independently and ride two-wheeler bikes. 

My five-year-old mastered biking in just a day or two (faster than her older siblings!) using a Strider balance bike, so I’d recommend something like that to get you started. I also looked up a few videos on YouTube about how to teach a child to swim and bike, and I found those videos really helpful to know where to start!

Technology skills

While I would love for my kids to work on skills like coding and typing all year, the reality is that these subjects get pushed to the side most of the school year, so I’ve found that summer is a great time for my older kids to work on learning these 21st-century skills.

This summer, my kids will be working through the learning program for the Sphero Bolt, a “coding robot” that teaches kids how to code in an interactive and fun way. My kids love using it (“It’s like our pet!”) and I appreciate the open-and-go lesson plans and educational activities that came with it. 

Typing is another skill we’ll be working on this summer, and while I haven’t chosen a program yet, I hear great things about Typing Club (and it’s free!).

Nature study

While studying nature to kindle the spark of observation and scientific inquiry sounds like such a great idea in theory, the reality is that I struggle to get to it during the school year. Just getting through math, language arts, and other core subjects takes up so much time that our nature journals often sit there collecting dust.

Fortunately, summer is the perfect time to dive deep into this interest. The weather is gorgeous, so it’s easy to get outside, and the plants and animals are thriving, giving us plenty to observe.

This summer, I hope to have my kids make entries in their nature journals at least weekly, and spend time together observing the birds, bugs, and plants around our home and neighborhood. 

Along those lines, summer is a wonderful time to check out museums, like local nature centers and natural history museums. You might also consider art, science, or nature camps to dive more deeply into these subjects with other kids.

Language skills

If you’d like your child to learn a foreign language, summer is a great time to really hone in on those skills. 

You might enroll them in a foreign-language summer camp, fill your home with books in that language from the library, check out online virtual lessons (one of my friends has her kids learning Lithuanian this way!), or even hire a tutor to come to your home.

Of course, language learning also applies to English (or whatever language your family speaks at home!). There’s a reason summer reading is so popular, and you might check out programs like this one from a popular homeschool curriculum company or this Enchanted Journey one or this printable ocean-themed reading tracker

And if you haven’t yet, make this the summer you organize a kids’ book club. I promise you it will be a blast and get your kids so excited about reading!

Faith building

Of course, the best and most important thing to focus on this summer is growing in your faith as a family. 

You might plan to go to daily Mass with your kids once or twice a week, perhaps meeting up with friends to sweeten the deal. I’m grateful to my friend Erica who put together a weekly “Mass and farmers’ market” event for this summer, and other friends who plan park play dates to coordinate with taking our kids to Mass together.

If your family enjoys taking a walk after dinner in the long summer evenings (something I’m hoping to add to our daily routine!), you might pray the Rosary together as you stroll.

You might even make a trip to Catholic Familyland or enroll your kids in Totus Tuus or Vacation Bible School at a local parish. Older kids might enjoy a sleepaway Catholic camp.

And if your family goes on vacation, don’t miss the opportunity to go to Mass at your destination. It’s an indescribably cool experience to join in worship with Catholics all over the world!

Strider Bikes and Sphero Bolt gave me products to review for this article.

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