Monday, April 26, 2010

Too hot to play, or why we homeschool through the summer

What dreadful hot weather we have!  It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. -- Jane Austen

That quote pretty much sums up my attitude about school in the summer.  It's hot.  I'd rather stay inside, near the window air conditioner, and get a bunch of school done.

Then, we can take time off in May, when it is lovely outside.  Or in September when the tourists have left.  And we can take time off to do all the holiday activities that occur in November and December.  Or take off three days when the grandparents visit in April.

Officially, our school year runs from January to October.  That may need to change as we start doing more traditional school year activities.  We'll see.

And what it looks like:  In September, we "start" a new grade.  Oftentimes that does mean something new for history.  It does mean the new Latin class starts up. Starting this fall, it will mean a new science class.  And we do end up with quite a few days off here and there when the weather is simply too beautiful to be cooped up indoors.

In November, our official break occurs.  In reality, that doesn't usually look a lot like a break.  The online classes continue, and we continue doing at least 2-3 days per week of subjects like math and reading.  And we tend to do "Christmas School" by changing up our read-alouds.

In January, our school year officially begins, and we usually have some things that are changing at that point.  We will take a couple days off here and there, either to play in the snow, or to enjoy those 60 degree days that seem to occur at least once during January.  

We tend to stay with a pretty official-looking school schedule though (with short breaks in there too) up through around now, the last week of April.  Right about now things start to get a bit crazy with Boy Scouts, and we end up incorporating a lot of scouting activities into our schoolday, or taking days off entirely to get kids to camp.

And May... well, we end up with more than a couple "it's too beautiful outside to do school" days in May.

June is broken up with summer camps, summer reading programs, summer volunteer opportunities, and the like.  Our online classes are usually done, and we usually change things up a bit for school -- throwing in something fun and different.  June tends to have a lot of days off.

But in July, that's when I feel like Ms. Austen.  It's hot and yucky, much of our summer plans (camps in particular) are past, and we can get back to a much more real school schedule again.  We try to get some outside time in the morning, when it is still relatively nice outside, and then do schoolwork in the afternoon.

Pretty soon we are back to September, and considering ourselves a new "grade" and starting in pretty seriously again.

Sometimes it feels like we never get a real break, though.  But there are lots of short breaks throughout the year.  Last week we only schooled two days.  This week, it will probably be three. 

I don't want the three months off thing, where you end up having to start over in the fall because you have forgotten everything.  But this year?  Well, I'm toying with the idea of taking at least two weeks off of (almost) everything (we have a couple online classes that we really can't control) while we are just at home.  I think we all need it.

The TOS Crew Blog is sponsoring a question of the week every Tuesday. Watch for what my Crew Mates have to say about obedience tomorrow!


Jodi said...

It sounds like you've got a schedule down pretty good for summer. You're right about being too hot. A reason I wanted to hs thru summer when we lived in Arkansas was because of the unbearable heat and time indoors...what else to do but learn? Alas, my kids wouldn't buy into it, and we continue our summer break. Some years they have lost some over the summer, but quickly pick it right back up in Sept. And other years, like this year, they were fine. I guess it just depends on what we're learning! That's the beauty of homeschooling, though, being able to set your own schedule. Great post! I enjoyed reading what you do!

Susan said...

I'm with you on this...and frankly, if my kids aren't given some "direction" year-round, they get the "I'm boreds" and drive me crazy. What we try to do is spend some time outside in the morning before it gets too hot or in the evening when the sun has gone down.

I also enjoy being able to be much more flexible with my schedule at other times of the year---it gives us the ability to take advantage of opportunities that come up unexpectedly. And to enjoy Daddy when he gets a few days off.