Summer has always been my favorite season. The long days capped by fireflies and starry skies, bonfires, and days at the beach. As a homeschool mom, I need a break as much as the kids, but I don’t want to lose progress. Here’s how to create a summer homeschool schedule that works for your family.
Can You Homeschool During the Summer?
Anything is possible, but not everything is desirable. Our family has decided to homeschool year-round with a one month (ish) break in the summer because it’s what works for us. Growing up I was always finished by May and didn’t hit the books again until after Labor Day.
Whatever schedule you ultimately choose, do what works for your family, and be sure to give yourself grace. There’s no need to push through a 4 hour daily curriculum all year long just so Jr. can make it to Harvard by 13. While we do homeschool through June our summer schedule is lighter and less academic.
Homeschool Summer School Schedule
The idea isn’t to stuff as much as possible in, but to make the most of the season. For many of us summer is a unique opportunity to see more wildlife, go camping, and maybe even finally spot Bigfoot. Other friends are also on break so there are more playdates, family trips, and late nights. Let’s not spoil that with grammar and calculus.
Instead of having a strict schedule with every minute planned out, I prefer to have some routines. This way if illness happens, if a friend invites us over last minute, or if I just don’t feel like doing something, there’s some flexibility. If you’re the type who prefers exhaustive schedules though, then you do you.
Summer Routine Ideas
Here’s an example of our summer homeschool routine on days we’re staying home and on days we’re going out. If you’re homeschooling with a baby, work outside the home, or have other things going on, then realize this is just a template to inspire you.
Morning: Our family gets up and does morning chores while I make breakfast. If I’m feeling really motivated I’ll read our character book, the bible, or some poems while we eat.
I clean up the kitchen while my son does his seatwork for a few hours, including narration. Our summer homeschool schedule right now consists of:
- 20 minutes Bible, character book, and memory verses
- 20 minutes math
- 30 minutes of science (including a fun experiment)
- 20 minutes history or Plutarch
- 10 minutes of artist study (looking at art, doing art, reading a bio on our artist, etc.)
Afternoon: Kids go out and play and we’ll spend some time in the garden.
Evening: We have family time and supper together. Then the kids clean up their toys and get ready for bed.
Summer Homeschool Ideas
Summer is our time to do more field trips and nature walks so on those days our routine looks different. We’ll still have breakfast and chores, but then we’ll head out somewhere for most of the day. Sometimes that’s a war reenactment, a nature walk at a state park, or a day at the beach. I’ve found local homeschool groups on Facebook to be very helpful for discovering field trips and activities going on near us.
The screens go off (for the most part), and we spend a lot of time outside as a family. Check with your county or town visitors center to see what the local itinerary for the summer is. Here are some more ideas of fun and educational summer homeschool ideas.
- Go see a play at the local theater. During the school year, our local college will also put on productions
- Go to the beach or ocean, build sandcastles, look for shells and wildlife
- Do messy art projects outside. I’ll lay out a large sheet of butcher’s paper and have the kids each paint a section to make a mural.
- Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
- Blow bubbles and chase them around the yard
- Build a mud kitchen and get messy together
- Learn how to surf/waterski/wakeboard
- Go tubing behind a boat
- Go see a waterski show
- Play a game of baseball or dodgeball at the park or on a field
- Go foraging for edible plants and make something with what you find.
- Go on a nature walk and record your findings in your nature journals
- Go to local festivals and fairs. Our county and state fairs both have historical sections.
- Go out in the woods and build a fort
- Build a treehouse and learn about levels, measurements, how to cut wood, use a hammer and nail, etc.
- Go fishing and learn about the pond or lake ecosystem
- Catch frogs or tadpoles for a nature study
- Go digging for worms and make a worm bin for the garden
- Plant a garden and care for it over the summer
- Go to a local museum: children’s, art, history, science, aquarium, etc.
- Visit the zoo or animal sanctuary. Nature journal and read a book about your favorite wild animal.
- Learn how to swim
- Go berry picking and then bake a pie
- Do messy science experiments outside.
- Let each child take turns choosing an activity for a day and put it on the schedule
- For little ones set up a water table or large sensory bins outside on the grass
- Go cloud gazing and make up stories about what the clouds are doing
- Catch fireflies and learn about bioluminescence (then let them go)
- Stay up and go stargazing. Our local astronomical society meets every week and lets visitors use their telescopes. See where your nearest planetarium is.
- Visit a farm and get hands on experience to learn all about cows, goats, and chickens.
- For kids who won’t get nervous, go visit an apiary and talk with your local beekeeper.
- Plant a wildflower garden with native species. You can also make a butterfly or bee garden with plants that pollinators love.
- Fill up some hummingbird feeders and keep an eye out for them.
- Go mushroom hunting (be sure you’re certain which species are edible before eating!)
- Go on a walk led by a local naturalist or ecologist
- Go bouldering or rock climbing
- Make a dandelion crown or a daisy chain
- Gather medicinal herbs and make your own salve or tea blend with them. These can be from the yard or foraged (where allowed).
- Play active games outdoors, like Twister in the yard
- Go to an outdoor music concert
- Set up a blanket in the shade and read books aloud
- Blow homemade bubbles together
Charlotte Mason Summer Homeschool Curriculum
You really don’t need a curriculum to have learning fun during the summer. My favorite lessons are the hands on ones we have outside. For bookwork, I just continue with our regular lessons since we homeschool year round, but with a pared down schedule. If you’re looking for something more specific for summer though here are a few paid and free options.
- A Gentle Feast Summer Morning Time Well put together and includes 6 weeks of morning time lessons.
- Ambleside Online: This free resource notoriously has more books scheduled than most families can get through in a school year. Pick a few subjects and a few books and work through them during the summer.
- Your Morning Basket – Summer adventure morning time plans include a 4 week plan for nature study, poetry, and more.
Ask your kids what they want to learn more about and find books and schedule field trips around that. Yes, that’s unschooling, not Charlotte Mason, but Miss Mason also wanted children to pursue their talents. And it’s summer, a time for informal learning anyway.
If you didn’t have any time for Shakespeare or didn’t do as many art projects as you wanted this past school year, then schedule them for summer.
We check out lots of books from the library and participate in the library reading program. Although instead of collecting the cheap junky toys that break right away I let the kids choose their own prizes. This could be some new paints, yarn for handicrafts, a beautiful journal, or even a small toy.
Making Your Summer Schedule Work
Remember that kids are only kids for a short while and summer can be a magical time if we let it. And mom also needs some time for a break too! Have fun, do some special learning, and don’t sweat it if your kids don’t all make it to Harvard. The important part is to help each child care for the world around them and discover the joy and wonder of God’s earth.
What summer activities do you do with the kids, did I miss any? Leave a comment and let me know!