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June 2016

School’s Out—Now What?

by Stacey Wolking, HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens Consultant

Stacey Wolking
Stacey Wolking

Of course, there are as many different homeschool schedules as there are homeschool styles. So whether you school year-round with breaks every eight weeks, school four days a week, follow the traditional route with summer off, or even if your school isn’t out yet, hopefully you are taking a little time off this summer to regroup, relax and review.

Everyone, parents and kids, needs some down time. While as a homeschooling parent your responsibilities don’t end with the school year, it is important to take a bit of time for yourself. Give yourself permission to take a day-or-two “brain vacation.” Just enjoy the kids; no thinking about school allowed!

One thing to do during your summer downtime is to compile the year’s homeschool records and list accomplishments. (Now, I know it is tempting, but please don’t put this off; it’s so much harder to do when it’s not fresh in your mind.) It can be very rewarding (Wow, we did get a lot done!) or it can be enlightening (Hmm, we need to do a bit of review on this area).

The Cinderella Miracle

If you are an organizer, this may be one of the highlights of your year. But if the thought of organizing and recordkeeping gives you hives, don’t let this task overwhelm you, and above all, don’t let it get overcomplicated. Recordkeeping can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a three-ring binder with tabs for each year and a couple pages of information for each child. (Of course you will want to be sure you are following your state’s reporting requirements) You can also check out our website for more recordkeeping helps.

The end of the school year is a great time for mom and dad to meet with each child, evaluate his performance, and plot academic, character, spiritual and physical goals. Be sure to ask for your child’s input so he feels invested in the plan.

Remember, it’s when you aren’t bogged down with academics that is a great time to work on character issues, a daily Scripture or devotion habit, or chore consistency (motivate by earning screen time!). You can also review subjects your student has struggled with, such as multiplication tables, by using creative and fun extracurricular options, like traditional or computer games. And don’t forget to practice skills like typing or playing musical instruments. Daily 15-minute practice sessions will hardly be noticed during your students’ summer routine.

Here’s a helpful tip for motivating your kids during the summer: Keep a positive tone—always say yes. When your child asks for permission to play, for example, answer, “Yes, as soon as you (do your 15 minutes of multiplication games) (make your bed) (pick up the toys you left in the yard),” etc.

And kids need their down time too. While homeschool life is often busy with good things, kids still need opportunities to be bored so they can dream and be creative. Give them thinking prompts like, “If you could invent something, what would it be?” Kids also enjoy and benefit from having more time to play with friends. Teach them outdoor games like Frisbee, croquet, kick-the-can, sticker-tag, and hop-scotch, and let’s not forget climbing trees, skating, and riding bikes. They also need time to work on, explore and learn about things that they are interested in. Encourage them to use summer time to pursue hobbies and interests; this is delight-directed learning in action!

Besides resting and rejuvenating, spending time with and enjoying your kids is probably the most important thing you can do this summer! So don’t feel like you need to fill up their days with planned activities. Make your own amusement and do all the fun things that got pushed aside during your busy school year.

Wishing you a rejuvenating summer,
Stacey Wolking
HSLDA Toddlers to Tweens Consultant

For further reading:

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HSLDA’s You Can Home School Symposium Series!

Saturday, August 6, 2016—Exploring Homeschooling

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