Homeschool schedule in the summer, you ask? Well, it's really more of a summer routine.
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
We homeschool year-round, yet move at a more gentle pace through the summer. Basically, we focus on reading for fun, writing for fun, and hands-on learning outdoors. However, as a busy homeschooling and working mom, I need a routine as much as the kids do.
Here's the lowdown on how to homeschool through the summer and why we stick to a homeschool summer routine, plus some tips on creating the best homeschool schedule for your family.
Reasons We Homeschool in the Summer
As any homeschooling family will tell you, it's a lifestyle. In our case, homeschooling and homesteading off the grid means our children get some pretty unique learning experiences - regardless of the season.
Yet as we live very far north, there's a pretty dramatic difference in daylight hours depending on the season. And the summer months are short, but the days are long. We get almost 24 hours of sunlight through June, July, and into August.
#1. Unique Hands-On Summer Learning Opportunities
These long days offer the opportunity for unique hands-on summer learning that our kids don't get in other seasons.
For example, nature walks and picnics allow for hands-on outdoor nature studies, spontaneous art sessions, and foraging berries and wild edibles. These activities extend the natural science education available in our science curriculum.
Related: How We Use Foraging to Teach
#2. Reinforces a Love of Learning
Continuous learning as a lifestyle is an important family value I hope my children will embrace. So by continuing a gentle summer homeschool schedule, we're reinforcing the idea of self-education and learning as a natural part of daily life. And homeschooling through the summer helps strengthen this idea.
#3. Lets Us Catch-Up and/or Review
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we don't make it through our curriculum during the traditional September-to-June school year.
Family moves, health issues, and other "real life" challenges may mean we have a few weeks left of school work to complete as we creep into July. And that's okay.
We can catch up over the summer, and start our new year's curriculum in September. We also get a jump on our homeschool organization by clearing out old and unused items.
We're going into our ninth year of using Sonlight® as our core curriculum. Sonlight is a literature-intensive program, which fits our family culture perfectly (everyone's a reader here). And by sticking to a relaxed homeschool schedule during the summer, the kids have the chance to revisit their favorite books from the previous months.
Some weeks we visit the library to borrow more books on a new favorite topic. And if there's a challenging subject, (this year it's Grade 2 Singapore Math), we review it - just a little - each day through the summer.
#4. Makes it Easier to "Get Back To School" in September
It's a lot easier for us to stick to a homeschool routine all year long (we do take time off throughout the year though) than to stop cold turkey for two months each summer. Although I do give the kids more freedom to learn what interests them in the summer.
Yet having a loosely structured day lets them ease back into our more structured schedule when September rolls around.
What We Include in Our Summer Schedule
Aside from catching up or review, we usually don't include much textbook work during the summer. Instead, our homeschool routine may include activities like
- nature studies and nature walks
- one page of math review each day (10 minutes, tops)
- summer reading in the hammocks on our deck
- wilderness living skills
- art study outside
- poetry picnics
- canning and preserving
- educational board games, trivia games, card games - great when you have guests!
- family history to go along with visits to our from family members
- swimming lessons in town
I try to keep our summer homeschool relaxed and enjoyable. Although I have a loose idea of what I want our homeschooling summer schedule to look like, I prefer to think of it as a routine. So it's a more leisurely pace for everything.
How I Create Our Summer Homeschool Schedule
Our summer homeschool schedule changes from year to year. It's based on five things:
- our travel plans
- family visits
- our children's interests
- household/homesteading planned projects (renovations, repairs, etc.)
- our previous year's progress
We generally don't use a homeschool schedule during family trips. Instead, we complete social studies pre-work and travel journals instead. And when we have family visiting (including one of our five big kids), our homeschool schedule gets pared right down. We might do just one page of math, and two pages of Language Arts per day.
If one of the girls has shown interest in a particular topic, (like chickens or deer) we'll make time for it during the summer days. And as we believe that a solid home education includes learning life skills, our summer homeschool schedule also takes into account our summer house and homesteading projects.
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Our Summer Homeschool Schedule is Relaxed
Although we sometimes still have a few weeks left of our Sonlight curriculum by the time June rolls around, we aim to start our summer routine in the first week of June.
Here's what it looks like.
Our Monday to Friday Summer Routine
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Morning Routine (breakfast, personal hygiene, summer morning chores)
One Page of Math (Singapore Standards Edition Math 4A for my 10-year-old and Singapore 2A for my almost-seven-year-old.)
Mom Read Aloud Indoors or Outdoors From Sonlight Core E, Sonlight Core B, or our own family favorites. This summer our summer family read-alouds will include
- What Katy Did at School, Susan Coolidge
- Penderwicks in Spring, Jeanne Birdsall
- Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher
- Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome (this whole series has been a Harbour family favorite for 60+ years)
- The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
- continuing with 10 Girls Who Made a Difference boxed set - another family favorite
Gardening Activities/Household Projects/Time With Guests
Outdoor Play/Nature Studies/Foraging - this is really child-led. Usually, the girls will go out to play, and if I wander out they'll want to show me something they found/saw, and this turns into a nature study.
Indoor or Veranda Quiet Time - this means reading or drawing individually for the kids. I spend this time on administrative work activities or my own reading for enjoyment. At the end of the summer, this may get replaced with two weeks of swimming lessons in town - we'll see how July goes first.
Dinner Prep - mom-led, with one or more helpers!
Dinner - we're working on more campfire cooking and cast-iron recipes for the outdoors!
Free Time/Fishing With Dad - this can go on for hours. Yet the girls love it, Dan loves it, it's and it could result in fresh fish for tomorrow's dinner. And this also gives me time to catch up on writing work.
Let Your Summer Homeschool Routine Flow
Do you notice anything? That's right - I don't have any times listed.
That's because, in the summer, we relax a bit. If we start the day at 10:00 am because the kids were still fishing at 9:00 pm with their dad, so be it. Or if we feel like lazing in the deck hammocks and reading for two hours instead of one, great.
That's why I prefer the word "routine" instead of "schedule" when it comes to homeschooling during the summer.
6 Steps to Planning Your Summer Homeschool Schedule
If you're struggling to organize your homeschool days this summer, use these steps to get on track.
- Schedule any family trips.
- Decide if you want your kids to keep up with homeschool while away (some families I know still bring math and language arts workbooks on their trips).
- Note any academic areas of concern you want to focus on in the summer. This could be reviewing tough topics or finishing up curriculum or workbooks so your child will be ready for the new topics you plan to introduce in September.
- Prioritize this area and tackle it first thing each day. Yet don't spend hours on it every day. Otherwise, your child just may end up resenting you and disliking the "problem" topic even more. Spend no more than 15 minutes each day on it.
- Note any season-specific learning opportunities in your home, family, or local area. Schedule these in (ie. farming or homesteading summer projects)
- Ask your child what they want to do this summer. And if they say "nothing", ask them what "nothing" looks like! In our case, my nine-year-old wants to sit outside and draw or read. We'll continue using Artistic Pursuits and finish up Sonlight's Grade Five Readers and library books. This summer, my girls are finishing up Grade 5 and Grade 2 and they're both very strong readers. So I'm always adjusting their reading lists. I use reading lists from Not Consumed, The Good and The Beautiful Booklist, or retired Sonlight titles to keep them in good books through the summer.
Summer Homeschool Schedule Advice
My best advice when it comes to homeschool summer schedule? Be flexible, get outdoors, and look for learning opportunities that aren't available at other times.
Try keeping homeschooling light and fun through the summer months keeps your child's mind active, yet gives them a break from the rigors of the regular school year. And use this time to make great family memories to return to when those long winter homeschooling days return.
More Summer Homeschool Ideas
We’ve been homeschooling for eight years now. And although we homeschool all year long, we do more “fun” activities in the summer.
So every year I search for summer activities for my kids. Sometimes I spent hours trying to find fun activities to keep them occupied and learning, when all they want to do is be outside.
So this year, I tried something different. And my homeschool blogging friends and I teamed up to bring you an incredible list of Summer Ideas and Activities for Kids. You are welcome!
10 Unusual Ways to Homeschool Over the Summer from In All You Do
Make the most of your summer days with these unique summer homeschool ideas.
How to Use Classic Board Games as School Review from The WOLFe Pack
Use the board games in your closet to review lessons on those rainy indoor summer days.
STEAM Subscription Boxes for Summer FUN! from Homeschool On the Range
These boxes include cool activities to reinforce STEM lessons learned throughout the year.
Summertime STEM Activities from Hess Un-Academy
Use this collection of fun summer STEM activities for ages 4-19 to encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
40 Boredom Busting Summer Ideas and Activities for Families from Geez, Gwen!
Use these 40 fun summer activities throughout the summer months.
Educational Summer Ideas for Kids from Making Room 4 One More
Fun summer educational ideas for elementary kids and even teenagers to help busy moms get through the next few months.
Fun Seashell Identification Activities for Kids from Homeschooling 4 Him
Use these no-prep printables for seashell identification on your next beach trip!
Pack The Perfect Backpack for Special Needs Summer Adventures from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland
Spending time with your special needs homeschoolers this summer? Here’s your supply list for summer adventure.
21 Summer Homeschool Ideas for Working Homeschool Moms from Thrive at Home
This is my other site! And I'm including 21 different ideas for keeping kids occupied this summer while you're trying to get your work done.
5 Awesome Ways to Learn Parts of Plants for Kids from Julie Naturally
Use these important tips to help your child observe plants outdoors this summer.
7 Ways to Encourage Summer Reading from Heart and Soul Homeschooling
Even if you’re breaking from your regular homeschool routine, keep your kids reading through the summer months with these seven tips.
Budget-Friendly Summer Fun (for you and the kids!) from Hope In The Chaos
Summer homeschool fun doesn’t need to break the bank. Here are some budget friendly tips for homeschool families.
Homeschool Summer Bucket List from Whole Child Homeschool
While some activities are re-opoening, it’s still so hard to make plans for the summer. Get this printable Summer Bucket List with 12 fun & mostly free educational activities to do at home.
Life Skills Mega List for Kids from Stand Up, Reach Out
Use this amazing list to catch up on practical (but fun) life skills for kids. Includes skills like mapping, cooking, communication, problem-solving, and more!
Use Morning Time to Beat the Summer Slide! from Everyday Graces Homeschool
Avoid the “summer slide” with a simple solution to keep kids engaged in learning over the summer.
Summer Music Lessons for Holidays & Special Days (affiliate link) from Music in Our Homeschool
Looking for Music appreciation lessons? Try the music lessons in the “Summer Music Lessons for Holidays & Special Days” online course–each one only 15 minutes in length and perfect for elementary ages.
Summer Read Alouds for Kids from Simple Living Mama
Looking for some new favourite family books? Take a look at some of these great books to read aloud with your children this summer.
Insect & Bug Activities for Kids from My Joy-Filled Life
Summer is the perfect time of year to learn about and explore the tiny world of bugs and insects with this great list of activities and crafts.
Summer Slide Activities for All Ages from The Homeschool Cafe
Use this big Summer Activity Pack to have a blast with your kids this summer! It’s stuffed with games, treasure hunts, worksheets and more for reading, writing, math and critical thinking.
25 Cheap & Easy Summer Meals for Families from Orison Orchards
Do you think summer homeschool ideas for working moms should include slaving over a hot stove all summer? Me neither. That’s why I love this list of delicious, nutritious, cheap & EASY summer meals handy. No stove required!
How to Take Inexpensive Road Trips with a Large Family from With the Huddlestons
My dear friend Michelle over at With the Huddlestons has six kids – and some great tips for inexpensive road trips with big families!
6 Summer Family Activities to Keep Learning Fun from This Bit of Life
And here are six summer family activities sure to stave off those oh-so-familiar words….”I am bored!”