Parents

Homeschooling in Summer Mode

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Are you in Summer Mode yet?

Homeschoolers definitely approach summer in vastly different ways. Here are Seven Summer Modes I’ve seen in homeschooling families.

Summer Off Mode. This is when formal, parent-planned learning goes by the wayside in accordance with a traditional school year. Parents expect to pick academics up again around Labor Day in the U.S. Kids still learn in incidental and natural ways during summer but take breaks from co-ops and classes.

Summer’s Hot Mode. Homeschoolers in this mode might take time off in June, but many who live in a hot, humid climate like the U.S. South may actually bring out the books in order to take advantage of air conditioning in July and August. They’ll take more breaks around the year, to enjoy travel time during moderate autumn weather or to have generous time off during winter holidays.

Summer Homeschool Trial Mode. Ah, this is when new and prospective homeschoolers try to create what they think homeschooling will be in order to try out homeschooling. We actually don’t think trying homeschooling over the summer works that well, but we understand the impulse. And hey, it might get your foot in the homeschool door.

It’s Always Summer Mode. These folks include unschoolers and relaxed homeschoolers who tend not to arrange their kids’ learning into classes, semesters, or seasons. They actually homeschool like it’s summer all the time—and by that I mean without a parental agenda or formal curriculum. In summer, unschoolers blend in with everyone else! (And I know it sounds wacky, but in homeschool world, unschooling is pretty well established).

Summer Bucket List Mode. These families have a list of things to experience and learn from this summer, but it’s not phonics and geometry. They want to pick strawberries, take road trips, visit the Science Museum’s Reptile Exhibit, and build a raft to try out on the lake. They gear their kids up for planned experiential learning, including camps and summer swim lessons.

Summer’s Work Mode. Homeschoolers with big gardens, wood to cut and stack, and literal hay to make may all buckle down to help prepare the homestead or farm for fall and winter. Some families may emphasize their kids’ and teens’ opportunities to get summer jobs or start their own small businesses.

Summer’s Just Another Season Mode. Some homeschoolers homeschool year-round. They might have precisely planned breaks—9 weeks on and then a break of several weeks, for example—and summer doesn’t interrupt their pattern at all. Others might just start and stop when parents or kids need a break or need to make time for some other aspect of life.

What’s your Summer Mode look like this year? You might be combining several of the modes I’ve noticed or have your own way of mixing homeschooling with summer.

No matter how you plan to spend summer, I wish you fireflies, an occasional breeze, and some good stargazing with your kids.

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