The Benefits of Summer School
I have fond memories of the lazy days of summer from my childhood. So, when I began homeschooling, I intended to have our homeschool year follow our local school district’s calendar, with an accompanying summer vacation. I began school the last week of August, and promptly received several invitations for day trips to the beach that I had to pass up. Once winter hit, and we were feeling cooped up and isolated, I really regretted that.
After that, we changed our schedule to officially begin school after Labor Day. However, we usually ended up having one subject to catch up on over the summer.
Last June, just as we were finishing school, I had my son evaluated by a speech language pathologist, who identified that he had a learning disability. As a result, he worked with her twice a week and she gave him assignments to complete with me on the days in-between. He wasn’t thrilled about working through the summer months, but he only had one subject to work on and was free to play afterwards. I decided to keep a log of everything he was doing, and count it towards the upcoming school year. Because of this head start, he ended up completing 180 days of school a few weeks before the public-school students in our area did.
Now, we are committed to doing a little daily schoolwork through the summer from now on. This year, we are doing a math lesson every other day, and reading on the days in-between. We also have some field trips planned to historical sites that we were introduced to in our history lessons this year. The main advantages to doing this are that you can:
- Avoid the summer slide. When you take time off for a few months, there is a lot of review that ends up happening in September. You can skip the review and just continue to progress if you never stopped working. This is especially important if your child has a challenge that has made his/her gains in that subject particularly hard-earned.
- Get a head-start on your completed school days. Although you are not stopping all work, there is a big difference between doing a full school day and just one subject.
- Take the time to go more in-depth on a subject than you would be able to within the confines of 180 days.
- Forget feeling pressured in the spring to hurry up and finish your curriculum. You still have time!
- Spend more time outdoors while the weather is warm, since your regular school year will be completed sooner.
I know that some families do school year-round or other alternative schedules, but I didn’t think that was for us. I was wrong. Although I still prefer not to have full school days in June through August, there is no reason that learning can’t continue to happen during summer vacation!
Heather Eberlin is a married mother of four children, ranging in age from seven to twenty-six. She is currently homeschooling her two youngest children and has felt called to share her journey in order to encourage others. She is an amateur gardener who is amazed at the things that God’s creation reveals when you take the time to pay attention to it. You can follow her at Musings from My Garden or download her free Homeschool Organizational Forms here.