June 14, 2017

How to Plan a fun Homeschool Rhythm - Summer Edition

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When most parents think about summer, they think about their kids being out of school.  Sometimes they are excited about that, sometimes they are a little frightened to have their kids home all day every day – how do you keep them entertained?!

As homeschoolers that *do school* all year long, we have a bit of a different approach to the summer.

My kids were done with their traditional schooling in mid-April this year.  We took a nice 6 week long break.  This allowed us to get through birthday season in our home, as well as visit with family and generally enjoy the freedom of doing whatever we wanted throughout the day.

Now that we are into June again, we are starting to get into our Summer Homeschool Rhythm.


A summer homeschool rhythm is not nearly as crazy as it sounds.  We do not spend all day cooped up inside at the table.  Instead, we implement a regular rhythm into our days that encourages learning.

The summer months are much more relaxed than our winter homeschool rhythm.  In the winter it is often so cold that my kids do not want to be outside, and they like to lay around all day on the couch listening to me read to them, or reading themselves, or writing a story, or illustrating a comic book.  Actually, there are those days in the summer as well, but for the most part, my kids want to be outside, in nature. 

During the summer, our rhythm consists mainly of block scheduling – and the one subject that works the best for us in the summer is Science.

I have never been really great at experiments.  Not because I don’t like experiments, I do.  But, I am not a huge fan of the mess that comes with them, and the fact that my kids tend to want to follow their own instructions on how to do the experiment (I am trying to let this go!).  But, during the summer, it is the perfect time to pull out all those messy science kits go outside, and get to work.

This summer we are working on Anatomy and Physiology.  We actually tried to start this in the fall, and realized that it was going to be too much to include with all of our other subjects during the fall/winter.  I also realized that Jack was a little young to fully grasp some of the notebooking activities, so we set it aside until now.

How do you plan for a summer Homeschool Rhythm?

The first step is to decide how often you plan to have school during the week.  We *do school* about three times per week during the summer.  It works for us.  There are obviously weeks that we don’t do any school because we are on vacation, have family visiting, or the kids are involved in VBS at church, but I aim for a few days each week.

Now, those days do not mean that we are doing school at the table from 8am until 3pm.  That is not the case at all.  Instead, we tend to get to school after lunch time until I put Lucy down for a nap, and then the kids will work independently for a little while.

That is our intensive school time – from about 12:30pm-3:00pm.

When you figure out how many days you want to have school activities – anything that is more formal than “go play outside” or “go read a book” – you can then decide what type of rhythm you want.  Do you want to do an intensive science unit like we are?  Do you want to work on the subjects that you seem to miss a lot during the regular school year by setting up a loop schedule so you are hitting those subjects more frequently at least part of the year?  Do you want to pick something to study as a family and incorporate a lot of field trips?  Do you want to do all the field trips that you thought about during the school year, but didn’t have time to fit in?

Once you figure out how often you want to do school, and then what you want to cover, you essentially have your summer homeschool rhythm down. 

I do believe that every day our kids learn something new, as long as they have the freedom to follow their passions and interests.  While we do a summer science intensive, it isn’t the only part of our summer rhythm.

We follow the “read something, play outside, create something, do a chore” steps before the kids are able to have any screen time.  I also read to the kids every day as well.  Having two kids in separate literature based curriculum levels means that we are doing a lot of read alouds every day, and spreading those out over an entire year makes it work for us.

As the months move on we will add in other parts of our regular homeschool rhythm.  After the 4th of July we will add in the kids new math curriculum, and then in August most of our other subjects will be added in.

In my personal experience, I have found that my kids do better when we don’t take too much of a break from school.  We take breaks when we need to, and having school in the summer helps break up the summer boredom that is inevitably felt by every child at some point.  Plus this schedule allows us to take a good chunk of time off around the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays which is always a bonus!

The main goal is to keep it light, and to keep it fun.  You don’t want your children to dread having school in the summer you want it to be fun so that everyone enjoys their learning time (including mama!).


Do you do any formal learning in the summer?  Do you have parameters for your children before they have screen time in the summer?

46 comments:

  1. We school year-round, too, but with a lighter summer schedule. I like the idea of working on an intensive subject by itself during the summer.

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  2. We go year round as well, with a 3-4 day week all year and random weeks off when we feel like it. We tend to take longer off in winter than summer. Summers here are so hot we hide inside with the aircon on doing our lessons. In winter we are busy hiking all over :)

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  3. My husband is a teacher and I know how much work goes into educating our young minds! Props to you!

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  4. Once school ends, we do tutoring once a week until summer is over to keep things fresh. So I guess we kind of go year-round.

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  5. This is great! I am not a home school mom, but this can come in handy in helping the kids stay on track when they aren't going to school every day. I know i couldn't home school, but I like helping with my little ones.

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  6. We do science in summer, too! It's the best time for doing hands-on science learning.

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  7. Children do thrive best on schedules so this is a great summer plan! I struggle with messes too, but it is a integral part of learning!

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  8. I have not heard of a school rhythm, but it sounds unique and also very good for the children. This way they know what to expect and when to expect it. That seems good.

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  9. These are some great tips for people starting out homeschooling. I don't homeschool at the moment but it might be something I might look into for the future .

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  10. This is a really informative post and a topic totally new to me. Not a parent at the moment so not homeschooling but who knows in the future... xx corinne

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  11. I homeschool my daughter, she will be in 7th grade come August. This is our third year coming up, and we've always done a summer break, from June until August. This year we are going to do school differently though, and try out a four weeks on, one week off thing. Of course we don't literally not do school during the summer. I like to make sure she stays reading, so I created a reading log to help her stay on track with reading over the summer months.

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  12. We are also a homeschool family. We are not year round but we do stay active all year. The summer months are also much lighter for us. I look forward to them because I enjoy the unstructured time. I love being able to homeschool it is so wonderful for our family.

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  13. I'm an ex teacher myself, so I find home schooling fascinating, particularly in how to strike that balance between work and the physical activity needed.

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  14. I give homeschoolers so much credit. I never would have had the patience so I admire those who do.

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  15. I don't homeschool, but I still try to teach my kids things during the summer. We're going to Gettysburg in August and I plan on teaching them about what happened there. They know the basics, but not the full story.

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  16. I wasn't homeschooled and I don't know much about it so this is a really interest read! Learning over summer break is an interest question! Think it's great to continue children's learning throughout the break.

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  17. thats a great idea, im teaching my son to draw, and keep the reading work more often, but having him doing science at home, would be so much fun and a great way to learn. Thanks for the advices, my son will apreciatted too.

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  18. kudos to all you homeschoolers, I don't think i could do it! These are great tips, and can even used for those of that just don't have it in us to homeschool but love to do other activities with the kids!

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  19. When my daughters were young they attended public schools, but during the summer months we would make visits to a fabulous teacher supply store called LakeShore. The girls loved it! They would pick out workbooks and learning games. It was one of our beginning of summer traditions and they didn't consider it learning - they considered it fun! I signed them up for art classes, piano lessons, swim lessons, horseback riding, and pottery classes. There were so many beautiful memories made. Thank you for your post. It brought me back down Memory Lane. :-)

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  20. I love your schedule. These are great tips that I can use for my younger siblings. Thanks for sharing.
    XOXO //SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

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  21. I don't have kids, but those ideas sound great to keep them busy and on a learning path.

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  22. The kids must be enjoying being outside more and it must make learning so much nicer x

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  23. After lunch is perfect during the summer because 12:30-3 tends to be the warmest part of the day. This way, the kids can get active play in the morning and later when the sun doesn't pose as much of a threat. Great tips!

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  24. Summer here in our country (Philippines) is over. Hope I was able to read this 2weeks ago but then.. I should still save this article!

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  25. Homeschooling is a tricky one for us. We did it the majority of this school year and although I'd much rather my kids home, safe with us than in the awful schooling system here I really need to work on my rhythm! - Jeanine

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  26. My daughter is an adult now but when she was a kid I would plan activities that encouraged learning. Whether it was going to camp, reading from a book list, exploring outside, or doing fun projects. Summer is a great time to keep the learning going without a rigid schedule.

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  27. Summer schooling is definitely something that needs to be on a schedule. It can really be tricky to get everyone on the same one.

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  28. My son just turned four so this will come in handy this Summer as I'm home with him this Summer. So much fun lol.

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  29. I have some good friends that are about to start homeschooling with their kids. I'm going to pass this on to her. Great read!

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  30. I also agree to some comments here, Summer activities should be a little light and easy, in away not to stress the children. But still even with hard subjects, it would be easy as long as it is full of fun.

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  31. We do not homeschool but over summer I want to make sure we do still have educational experiences. My daughters are always on the go but we are learning as we go!

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  32. We don't homeschool but we try to make more of an effort while school is out to practice reading and writing so we do some learning

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  33. My kids used to be cyber schooled but not anymore. My son is in advance classes in school which is like taking college courses. The teacher gives him summer work and gets graded before school starts again.

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  34. I have never set up a homeschool curriculum before, but science would be amazing to study in the summer! There is just so much opportunity for it, especially anatomy and physiology. Going to a baseball game could be a lesson.

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  35. My daughter is a preschool teacher so she sets the parents up with work over the summer. I am amazed at what children are learning at such a young age.

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  36. I think Summer Homeschool Rhythm is a great idea. Once my son is old enough for this, i will definitely consider this one.

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  37. I like the idea of keeping more relaxed rhythm during the summer so they get a break but everything doesn't completely fall apart!

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  38. I agree that keeping the schedule light but consistent is a good way to go. Creating that fine balance between play and work is tough but very important to do x

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  39. I'm homeschooling my kids next year and I really need to sit down and get a schedule together. I need to map it all out to help limit the stress for next year!

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  40. I want to do some schooling with my daughter now that she is out too. I want to keep her fresh through the summer for kindergarten.

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  41. I enrolled my daughter in her first summer playschool last May. She enjoyed it so much, but it was a good thing that it only lasted for 3 weeks. :) For her screen time, my guide is that it has to be at least 11 am before she does any TV time.

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  42. I don't have kids yet but I do believe in keeping them active in the summer too keep their minds learning, even if its going on educational trips, reading books just making it fun and it doesn't hurt to take a few days so they enjoy their summer too.

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  43. Having a school rhythm is a smart way to keep the learning momentum going at a decent pace. Work gets done, stress is eliminated and learning goals are met. It's a win win.

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  44. I would love to homeschool but I just don't have the patience for it. I wasn't meant to be a teacher.

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  45. I think homeschooling children seems quite challenging (to me at least!). However, it's good to maintain educational activities even throughout the summer for sure!

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  46. Homeschooling kids seems really challenging - so massive kudos to you. I wouldn't know where to start, be it for summer or full time!
    Katja xxx
    www.katnapped.com

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