Summer Offers Many Options for Homeschoolers

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What are your plans for summer? What do other homeschooling families do during the summer? Activities are as varied as the families themselves, so you have a lot of options.

Consider schooling year-round. This accommodates long vacations throughout the year and four-day school weeks. As a result, some families start the new school year in the summer, although academics during the summer months are usually light to allow for additional summer activities. They may start one subject and add another subject every two weeks or so; by fall, they are doing a full course load. Other families may school only two or three days a week during the summer; then increase to four days a week in the fall.

Take a break from “book learning” completely. Use the summer months for fun yet educational activities that you may not have time for during the school year. Many families devote the summer to swimming lessons, music, art, math games, special projects, pleasure reading, educational movies, and fun outings to such places as the zoo and museums. Their children learn to fish, go camping, care for a garden, or go on long hiking trips. Teens may pursue special hobbies or take a summer job.

Go to camp! Summer camps for homeschoolers and their families are growing. A to Z Home's Cool has a list of camps at http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/weblinks/supportCamps.htm. In addition, several colleges in the area offer summer enrichment classes for children of all ages, and so many churches organize Vacation Bible School that your children could participate in a different program each week of summer!

Travel during the summer. Some families take long vacations to visit family, extended relatives, or all the places they did not have a chance to see during the school year. Whether long excursions for the weekend or short day trips, children enjoy visiting new places.

“Catch up” during the summer. Some families may have a child who didn't do too well in school this past year and they want to help them catch up so that they will pass along to the next grade in September. Several options are available. Some families opt for an independent study program using the books from the class the child failed. Others enroll their students in a tutoring service or an online distance learning program. High school teens may enroll in college classes through a community college dual enrollment program, where they can earn high school credit and college credit at the same time. Whatever you decide to do, ask what the school counselor will accept for proof of completion and of satisfactory work in order to issue credits.

Try “unschooling.” Summer is a great time to see if you could enjoy the unschooling life style. Try journaling what your children learn each day. Improve their self-esteem by giving them new responsibilities over the summer.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your summer!

About the Author:
A homeschooling mom of four children, Carren W. Joye is the author of Homeschooling More Than One Child: A Practical Guide for Families (ISBN 0-595-34259-0), A Stay-at-Home Mom's Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595-14684-8), and an Internet-linked Alabama State History Curriculum. In addition to starting four successful playgroups, she has founded a regional homeschool support group, a homeschool co-op and a statewide homeschool covering.