To school or not to school, that is the question. Ok, so maybe the question is more like..”How much school should we do over the summer?”
Whether you call it the “summer slide” or the “summer gap”, loss of skills during vacation has long been a problem for public schools. Schools in the US originally had summers off because farm families needed their children to help during the growing season, but the days of being an agrarian society have long passed. Every teacher can tell you that the at least the first month of every new school year is spent reteaching forgotten skills. So why do public schools continue this practice of more than two months off? Who knows?!!
One of the best parts of this experience is that no one is telling us when to work and when to take vacation days. The freedom this gives us is exhilarating. We don’t have to worry about a “summer slide” because we aren’t planning to take off two months dedicated to brain drain. But how do we balance the need to continue schooling with the desire to enjoy the good weather and the company of friends who are off for the summer?
One of the things we have decided to do is to try to focus on certain subjects. We will have finished spelling and grammar for the year and will only try to review as the need arises. Geography will be limited to playing with our intelliglobe and what comes up in history. We will also have finished our ancient history course so we will switch to some light American history and try to do more fun things like field trips and hands-on activities. Our proximity to DC is a real plus for us since we can visit any number of museums and historical sights.
Most kids go backwards in reading during the summer, but Little Yoda will continue his reading course with just a few days off here and there and Samurai guy is never without a book so we don’t worry about his reading level. (Usually the problem is getting him to stop reading long enough to eat and sleep!)
Math is another big skill loser from the holidays, but our boys will continue their math courses as normal. We also need to finish science for both boys (due to a curriculum change half-way through) so they will do some science almost every day.
It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But the thing about homeschool is that we never work as many hours as public school since we don’t have to worry about bathroom breaks, bus rides, attendance taking, etc. We are able to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. Even Samurai guy rarely spends more than 3 1/2 hours finishing his work. We should easily be able to cut our work time down to two hours and have plenty of time to go swim with friends, laze in the sun, or take a trip to a museum. And should something come up that requires a whole day off, we can easily switch the work to an evening or even a weekend day. Oh how I love our flexible schedule!