7 Reasons Why We Summer School
By the time the middle of June rolls around we are usually foaming at the bit to have a lazy summer after a full year of learning together. But over the past few years we have slowly transitioned to continuing with our learning throughout the summer. Summer school for us is not what people often think of it. It's not endless days of sitting in a hot classroom wondering when the day of busy work would end. We take a more relaxed and laid back approach. We incorporate more learning together, more read alouds, more day trips and more time outside.
Here are the top 7 reasons why we summer school:
1. Our Nomadic Lifestyle - In our current journey we move at least every three years. This means that we have more frequent distractions than we would like and it isn't always conducive to schooling only during a September-June school year. I have been trying to incorporate fun summer school activities to accommodate for these interruptions.
2. Consistency - Like I stated above, we often have big moves and changes that are out of our control and with these uncertainties it's nice to be able to provide consistency to our kids' lives. It helps our kids to know what to expect and to keep their lessons fresh. Consistency also provides stability for our kids in this lifestyle. I am thankful that I can give them stability through summer school!
3. Freedom - Choosing to summer school gives us freedom throughout the whole year to do and experience more things. We can take more unplanned vacations and day trips. We can go on more field trips. We can take a day off from school if dad is off of work and spend the day together as a family enjoying life. The freedom from continuing with summer school pays dividends during the year.
4. Together Time - I've touched on this already but this deserves its own section! We love spending time together and I love that our homeschool and year-round school is in itself such a great way to have "together time." This time together gives our whole family a feeling of unity and really encourages everyone to learn from each other and help each other. During summer school we incorporate a lot more read alouds (all the ones we didn't get to during the traditional school year!) and we benefit so much from the shared experience of great literature.
5. Interest-Led Learning - I love being able to change my school plans for the week (or month!) in lieu of whatever we are finding interesting. This helps my kids understand how to be life-long learners and to seek out answers for what interests them. This year we've been able to explore the oceans, animal kingdoms, Japanese culture and homesteading in early America more in-depth. When we continue our core subjects during the summer months we can confidently explore other topics throughout the whole year without the fear of "falling behind" our normally scheduled school lessons.
6. Say Yes! - I think as parents it is one of our greatest joys to be able to say yes to the things that our kids love and want to do. (Within reason, of course.) You want to take a day trip to a new village in Okinawa? Yes! You want to learn to sew? Yes! You want to go for a bike ride? Yes! You want to build legos? Yes! You want to go on a hike? Yes! Saying yes often means our lessons for the day get put on the back burner but I don't have to worry about that when I know we will continue with summer school.
7. Life Happens - Sometimes life happens and derails your best laid plans. Don't we all know how true this is! The kids get a cold (again!), something in the house falls apart, the laundry piles up, the house needs a deep clean... Life happens and instead of stressing about things I can't control, I can calmly take care of what is most important in that moment. Sometimes I need to set aside plans for extra cuddles, extra read alouds or extra time making special treats for my family. Summer school helps me have freedom during the rest of the year to allow life to happen.
So tell me, how do you feel about summer school? Do you (or your kids) balk at the idea? As a kid I most definitely would have! And just like with anything else in life, there are days I have to use some extra encouragement for the kids to have good attitudes about the school lessons. But at the end of the day, I'm always thankful we have chosen this path.