Homeschool in the Summer, is it REALLY Worth it?

Posted May 25, 2018 by Prairie Wife -

one step closer to summer

I’m counting down the days until Summer, and each morning, it’s getting harder and harder to drag myself and the Cowkids into town before that first bell rings…

I know I’m not the only one, and as a former teacher, my heart goes out to all those educators who are stuck with a classroom full of kids wistfully gazing out the window.

We have big plans to do tons of fun outdoor activities this Summer: camping, hiking, horseback riding (that’s for The Cowboy and Cowkids, not me), swimming, paddle boarding, BBQs, and running back and forth between the neighbors’ houses. While my new job as on-air talent for My County 95.5 means I’ll have to be away from home a bit more than usual, it still leaves me plenty of time to be the fun mom of Summer!

Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of homeschooling my kids three days a week throughout the summer (sometimes more, and sometimes less).

homeschool summer schoolThe ex-teacher in me knows that it can be really hard for younger kids when they head back to school in the Fall if they haven’t been doing anything “school-like” in the Summer. You’d be amazed at how the muscles in their hands deteriorate when they aren’t writing, coloring, and cutting every day. It makes those first few weeks of school hard for them and the teacher. My number one reason for Homeschooling in the Summer is that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Yes, it’s vital that your kids read all summer long, but they need to practice those math skills, too!

And…here’s a little secret…the Cowkids love it.

No, really.

They are already asking if I’ve bought their books yet!

I love it, too, because I’ve found that the days we Homeschool in the Summer go much smoother than our hang-out and lazy days.

There are a few reasons for that. I’ve noticed that there is a bit more structure to our day when we start it with Homeschool. It takes me about an hour and a half to get through all five kids’ work, and then they are all ready to get outside or at least get away from me. Summer School days are the days I don’t hear “I’m bored!” I’ve noticed that on Homeschool days, the Cowkids seem to get along better and aren’t as whiny. I think it’s because they start the day getting one-on-one attention from me and usually a lot of positive reinforcement.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your Homeschool Summer School running smoothly. Scroll down to see a few of my favorite resources.

  • Make sure your Homeschool is done before 2:00 p.m. If you wait until later, it will likely not happen.
  • Have a combination of independent activities and ones that need your attention.
  • Try not to have older kids do the teaching. This is an opportunity for YOU to be with your kids.
  • Mix up activities, don’t always do the same thing. For example, one day is writing day, another is read aloud and workbook day.
  • Be flexible. Don’t stress if one week you only get to homeschool one time. Anything is better than nothing!
  • Let them show off their work to other family members (Dad, FaceTime an Aunt, or have Grandma help when she comes to visit). The praise from someone besides you will help keep them motivated.
  • Hit Pinterest for a fun science and/or craft activity every few weeks.

Here are a few of my favorite resources (including links) and a quick explanation of why I like them.

brain quest WB

Brain Quest Workbooks

These workbooks are always a massive hit with The Cowkids. Each book is color-coded by section and has math and language arts, science, social studies, and spelling. On workbook days, The Cowkids pick 3-6 pages (depending on their age and ability) to complete. I let them pick from any section they want, which they love! When selecting the book, choose the grade your child just completed. That way, it’s reviewed and should allow them to be reasonably independent. If you go a grade above, chances are you’ll both be frustrated and you will end up doing a lot of teaching!

Draw write now collage

Draw Write Now

This series was recommended to me by a Homeschooling friend, and I am SO thankful. It’s the perfect activity to help your children with the fundamentals of sentence writing (capital at the beginning, finger spaces, and punctuation at the end) while keeping those hands strong. The Cowkids have been working through these books for years. They start with simple sentences, concepts, and drawings, and then each book moves to a higher level. I think it’s definitely worth purchasing the blank workbooks, but if you want to save money, you can use regular notebook paper.

McGuffey Reader

McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers Series

If I had to pick my favorite Homeschool activity, reading these would win hands down. For those of you who have never heard of McGuffey Readers, they are how most children were taught in schools for more than 100 years, beginning in the 1830’s. Starting at a primary level (kindergartners should be just fine) and going all the way to the college level, these readers will cover every age in your family. For this activity, I sit on the couch and have my kids read out loud to me. I start with the appropriate level, and then they move on to the next book when they’re ready. These books have everything from quick little stories to poems, bible verses, science, moral lessons, and excerpts from classic literature. You can have them do cursive writing, practice pronunciation, make flashcards with the High-Frequency Words, and learn new vocabulary with the dictionary definitions included at the end of each story. Allowing your children to read these out loud to you ensures that you can talk about new concepts, explain vocabulary, and work on their public speaking skills (sitting up straight, using a loud voice, no mumbling, and how to keep going when you make a mistake). Even my older kids have to read these to me, and it has been really fun to see how they improve throughout the Summer!

Remember that your preschoolers can benefit from Homeschool in the Summer, too. Here is a link with a few ideas and resources for those of you with younger kids.

Let me know if you have any questions or any resources YOU use and love!

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