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5 Steps to a Simplified Summer Homeschool Routine

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5 Steps to a Simplified Summer Homeschool Routine

It's almost summer! As year-round homeschoolers who live in a state with yucky winters, we have to change things up in the summer. I'm posting “5 Steps to a Simplified Summer Homeschool Routine” because using these steps broke down the process enough for me to come up with our summer schedule pretty easily, and I wanted to share them with you. 

We still don't take an official three-month summer break, but we do take a month off in summer, and use the rest of summer to keep up with school using this modified schedule. This way we can still get to the pool and play outside as much as possible, but we get enough schoolwork done to keep us on track. 

If you're curious about year-round schooling, you can read more here: A Stress-Free Approach to Scheduling Your Homeschool Year. 

During our normal homeschool routine, we get to almost every subject every day, alternating science and writing. Our summer school routine is different, but still hits the big subjects at least a few times a week. These are the steps I followed to figure out what would work best for us:

  1. Figure out your end of summer goals and write them down. Are you hoping to have a certain book completed by the end of summer? Do you want to have taken a vacation, spent a certain number of hours at the pool, logged a nature walk every week, etc? Knowing your goals will help you figure out what you need to plan.
  2. In order to reach those goals, what do you need to have accomplished every month? Then, what do you need to do every week to get to that monthly accomplishment? 
  3. Break those weekly goals down into what you need to accomplish every day. Now that you have daily, weekly, and monthly steps lined out to reach your end of summer goal, it's easier to figure out what your summer schedule should look like. (Here's an example – if I want to read six good books to the kids over the summer, I would figure out which books I want to read, then write down one book per month. From that point I would figure out how many chapters I need to read per week to finish by the time the month is over, and from there, how many chapters or pages I need to read per day). 
  4. Write down 3-5 “Must Do” daily school subjects or tasks, and 1-3 “Must Do” household activities (dishes, laundry, etc). 
  5. Fill in your days with possible activities (we always make a Summer Fun List and cross off things as we accomplish them – take an art class, swim in a lake, go fishing, camp in the yard, have a movie night, plan a block party, etc).

That's it! By setting my goals and working backwards, I'm able to stay on track and make sure we have a lot of fun, too!

Here is our “not-quite-so-much school” summer school routine: 

Every day, we wake up a bit later than normal, eat breakfast, and do our after meal chores (I still have to get up at 4:30am to work, so this part isn't too different, except the kids get to sleep in). By 10:30am, we are all gathered around the table for school. I mean, that is my goal. Sometimes four of us are gathered around the table, one of us is on the floor hunting for lost cheerios, and another is flushing toys down the toilet. Anyway, here is the breakdown of what we do for school, and I've included my affiliate links in case you're interested in the homeschool curriculum we use (if you purchase from these links I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you):

Mondays and Wednesdays –

  • Memory work (especially great to keep up on our Bible memorization);
  • Sonlight reading (this doesn't take very much time, and we enjoy it so much we don't really want to take a break anyway)
  • Language Lessons
  • Spelling

Tuesdays and Thursdays – 

  • Sonlight reading (sometimes we do this at the pool when the lifeguards take their breaks)
  • Math
  • Art (usually drawing lessons on YouTube)

This is all done in an hour to an hour and a half, which allows us to enjoy plenty of amazing summer activities (well, until mommy  the cranky toddlers insist on naps). We take Fridays off, and we spend most afternoons outdoors or at the pool. Sometimes we skip some of our reading in the morning and take it with us on a picnic, but as a mom of 5, I'll be honest here and admit that I have to be in a very generous mood to do the whole picnic thing (if you have experience packing picnics, rescuing kids from red ant hills, spilling food in your car, and unpacking it when you get back to the house, I'm sure you know what I mean). 

It gives us a good break until we take a whole month off mid-July and start up again towards the end of August. At the same time, the kids are still up on their necessary skills. Plus, one of my kiddos struggles in math, so working through the summer keeps her on track with less frustration for both of us. 

Do you homeschool in the summer? I'd love to hear how you do it in the comments! 

Living and Learning at Home

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  1. We school year round too but also carry a much lighter workload in the summer. We mostly focus on the subjects that we have fallen “behind” in and let whatever we have completed or gotten “ahead” in slide. This year, we finished our science up early, so we can take a total break from that 🙂

    1. I love that – I’m all for anything that lets us enjoy the weather while it’s nice! I have to admit you’re making me kick myself – we didn’t prioritize science this year and I don’t think there’s any way we can finish it in the next two weeks, so we’ll be adding that to our slower summer schedule too.

  2. Our approach is similar. I have a couple of personal goals to meet this summer, and one of my kids wants to work on his cursive, another is going to babysit, etc. But we do math and read aloud daily no matter what.

    1. I’m glad to know we’re not total oddballs for doing some summer work. Structure definitely helps our summer!

  3. We’ve homeschooled during the summers in the past. Your schedule is wonderful. It’s light but just enough to keep forward momentum going. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Holy schnikes you are my new best friend, just so you know. Just stalked you on Instagram …signed up for your emails. I’m also the WAHM homeschooler of 5 … ages 6-almost 15 and I have a touch of ADD, making consistency and organization difficult. I want to homeschool a bit in the summer but the day gets away so this is super helpful. I can’t believe you get up at 4:30 …my hero! I get up at 6:30 so I can work while the house is quiet (proofreader and writer) and the kids sleep in but oh, the things I could get done if I got up earlier. My family = night owls!!!!!! ARGH! Anyway, great to meet you!

    1. Hi Kerrie! Thanks for coming by! If I don’t get up at 4:30 my house is total chaos, but that’s because my younger kids will not sleep in. I would get up later if they would sleep later! My youngest is just 1, though. I found this post (not from my website) about getting a little bit of homeschool work done in the summer, and I loved it! You might like it, too, I got some great tips: http://www.hodgepodge.me/2012/07/return-of-the-routine-game-day/

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