As the end of this school year approached our family had been muddling through a string of rough months. I won’t go into details beyond that the hubby and I had one medical issue after another starting in February. Between the additional medical appointments, our regular schedule and homeschooling, I was looking forward to summer break as much, if not more, than the boys.
We vacationed near the end of May with the plan of continuing school for a couple more weeks after we returned. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I am fairly flexible with our homeschool schedule and as I was trying to get A to “just finish” a few more lessons in his math curriculum, several things dawned on me.
First, we are not homeschooling with the goal of “just finishing” things. Second, with me telling him “just finish it” he wasn’t going to retain whatever was in the lesson. Finally, does it really matter if he does this lesson now, or in August? So that day, was his last day of homeschool third grade, and summer break was here.
We quickly fell into a routine of Legos, reading, trips to the library and more Legos. The break from my job of homeschooling was awesome. I read a few books for enjoyment and purged stuff from our house. I started thinking about starting school again in August. I knew that we were going to need to ease back into some structure so that August wouldn’t be a nightmare.
Near the end of the school year, I had made a list of fun project based resources I planned to use with the boys over the summer to keep a “work with mom time” in our day. The boys knew about these plans because several of the resources were Christmas presents they received that we had not really had time to work on, and I had told them that we were going use them over the summer.
By late June we hadn’t touched any of these resources and when I mentioned that summer break was half-way over, my 7-year-old had a melt-down because we hadn’t done any of these things. So then I was overwhelmed trying to figure out how we were going to squeeze all of these activities into a month.
Then I remembered about “loop” schedules. If you aren’t familiar with this strategy, one way to do it is to make a list of subjects that you don’t consider core subjects. (Core subjects being those that need to be covered daily like reading, math, handwriting, etc.) Subjects people might loop are science, art, music, history, etc. For more on loop schedules .
As of yet, I have not used looping in our homeschool for a variety of reasons, but that’s another post. But, for this list of summer resources looping sounded perfect. So here is my list: Coding, Marine Biology curriculum, Top Secret Adventure, L’s Building Kit (Christmas present), A’s Forensic Science Kit (another Christmas present) and Streamable Learning.
Since I made this plan a week and a half ago, whenever we are home in the morning, I pull out this list and talk to the boys about the next thing on it. Like I said, I am fairly flexible with their learning, so if they don’t want to do the next thing on the list that day, I have them pick something else from it.
In this time, the boys have watched two marine biology lessons, and L and I have built a pyramid. Both boys have finished the Top Secret Adventure they were working on together and started the next one that came in the mail, and L has written a letter to his penpal. Not on the loop, I know, but still a fun summer learning activity.
Today is Saturday, their morning for educational TV, so as I am writing they are watching, Lucky Dog, Pet Vet, Wildlife Docs and later Sea Rescue. Tomorrow we will start back with something else from the loop. The great thing about this plan for the summer is that the boys are still learning, without even realizing it, and we are building some structure back in the day. So when August rolls around, and it’s time to study a new phonics pattern, sitting down to work with mom won’t be something they haven’t done in three months.
I’ve written about looping activities for the summer from a homeschool perspective, but for stay-at-home moms, this strategy could easily be used over summer break from school to give your summer days a little more structure.