Schooling Through the Summer?
- Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Summertime is here. Are you planning to take a break from school for a few months? Is this the time of year you look forward to most?
Some of you will answer a booming yes! You'll be able to clear the textbooks off the tables for a while and rest from the countless moments you spend planning and grading.
Others have planned to take off, but you now see that in order to finish a couple of subjects, you'll need to work into the summer months. Ideally you would have taken a break, but you must put your time into school a little longer than expected. After all, you sure don't want to fall any more behind.
It's also possible that you fit into the category where I would put my own family. Summer is finally here, and our family will use these next few weeks exactly like we do the other seasons of the year: we will continue homeschooling.
We choose to take all twelve months of the calendar year to spread out our homeschooling days. After five years of homeschooling our boys, each year we have schooled our children without taking off the long three months for the summer.
When my first child was a toddler, I had no intention of homeschooling. Fast-forward 10 years, and you'll see a family who wouldn't live life any other way. But even back in the days when I didn't plan to homeschool, I really already was. From my son's birth, he has been trained, educated, and raised at home by his father and me. I believe that all children learn year-round. As a homeschooler, hopefully you realize your kids are learning every moment of every day. To what degree a child learns is up to the caregiver. Like a good friend of mine says, "We are not always teachers, but we are always teaching."
What Is Year-Round Homeschooling, Anyway?
Year-round schooling can take on many forms, but the basic premise is that learning takes place twelve months of the year, with short breaks throughout instead of a long summer vacation. What year-round homeschooling looks like at my house might be completely different from what it looks like in other homes. Author Susan Wise Bauer uses this system with her own family and discusses it in her book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home.
Like other new homeschoolers, we started educating our children with the same routine we remembered from our public school upbringing. Public schools went with the nine-month school year back when kids were needed to help their families with farming. My mother-in-law, who was raised in the country, remembers this well.
When we found that our boys wanted to play outside when the weather was nice instead of sitting at the table—not just in the summer, but all year long—I acknowledged my own heart's desire to have my children love learning instead of dreading school. As mother and teacher, there was a battle inside me, and I finally bent my plans. The result was abundant blessings. We continued to school into that summer and have done so each year since for a variety of reasons.
Last summer I had our fifth child in the middle of June, followed closely by two family birthdays and visits from far-off relatives. Because we schedule our school times throughout every month of the year, I was able to take a mini-break while I recuperated, and we all celebrated and took the time to be with our family.
Why Consider Homeschooling Year-Round?
With each year that flies by, I realize more blessings of homeschooling year-round. Because of our family's interests and priorities, we love this somewhat different schedule. I truly believe that every family can work out this flexible schooling schedule if they're interested enough. As the mom, I love it best because it gives us all many breaks throughout the year, allowing free time and keeping us all from burning out. Those are the best blessings of all!
Why else would a family go against the normal school calendar? Here are just a few more reasons.
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