New homeschoolers sometimes wonder if it is a good idea to homeschool through summer. The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer to homeschooling. However, there are things to consider when making this decision.
Do you need a break?
Do your kids? This is the biggest reason to take a summer break. Because you need it. This is enough of a reason to take it.
How long your break lasts depends on your family. Some families really go in on a long summer break full of playing outside and relaxing. Some families need a few weeks to just relax or vacation and then miss the routine homeschooling brings them. So they jump back into it long before the typical summer break ends.
Other families thrive with a “summer break” that is really a few months of unschooling and following their child’s passions and interests. Not exactly a break from homeschooling, but taking a different approach for summer.
Shaking It Up
Summer can also be a time to homeschool in a totally different way for a few months and blame it on the season. Swimming lessons, for example, are a routine summer activity that I often base a few weeks of our summer around. Daily trips to the pool feel like enough school work to me. The fact that our school work is all physical education isn’t problematic at all. Swimming is a life-saving skill.
My kids have also done various summer camps for music or art. Those count as school work, too. This year, many of those programs are virtual, so your child can learn from musicians or artists across the country. Taking the time to deep dive and focus on something due to a special summer opportunity is a wonderful addition to your child’s education and worth taking advantage of without worrying about any other school work.
What if You Don’t Need a Break?
Some families regularly homeschool through summer. They usually take long breaks during fall or spring. For those families, homeschool through summer just makes sense. They understand you take breaks when it makes sense for your family and you work when it works best for you. Families who live in places with sweltering summers that make it miserable to do anything other than sitting inside with the AC blasting, sometimes find that is the perfect time to work on math and reading, history, and science. They know they will take their break when the weather is pleasant and there is nothing wrong with that.
Do What’s Best For You and Your Family
Whatever kind of breaks you choose or need, know that taking breaks is a healthy part of life. Your child’s development is benefited by taking breaks and starting again. The gains they make by taking a few months to learn to swim or immerse themselves in Minecrafting will lead to mental and physical growth that are important parts of childhood.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.