It’s almost the end of the “school year.”

What are we going to do next year and over the summer?

What are we going to do next year and over the summer?

Many, many homeschooling families stick to a traditional school year. Each one has their own personal reason for this. I do not stick to a traditional school year. We do school all year round.

Summer and Spring are great seasons. A lot of our learning moves outdoors – hiking, camping, beaches, vacations with family, camping, hiking…….these are things we can do better now. The traditional learning becomes less.

However, there are a few non-negotiable items:

1. We do math all year round. It’s not a long math lesson. Normally 5-10 minutes. But it ensures that Nicholas keeps up his skills and even grows. Sometimes it’s math facts. Othertimes word problems. Math has to be done everyday.

2. Reading. We read 20- minutes a day. Everyday. Even if we cram in all 20 minutes before bedtime because we’ve had so much fun outside. But we read 20 minutes a day.

3. German. Foreign languages must be done on a continual basis or kids will lose their abilities. It helps that my husband speaks German fluently, so when we are out and about, we simply speak in German part of the time. It means they know random words and phrases  (both my kids can say, “Watch out for the rocks,” in German because we hike during the summer).  But we practice so their fluency doesn’t decrease.

4. Learning. We learn everywhere. Visitor’s Centers are great inventions. We go to them all the time. I used to hate going to them when I was younger. My mother would take us to every Visitor’s Center within a 30 minute drive of wherever we were. And if she saw a sign for one while we were driving, we’d pull off and visit. Now I get it. We go to them all the time too. Maps are also a great tool for learning. We do more geography during the summer than any other time. I invest in paper maps for where we are going, and the kids have to plot (with me and their dad) how we get there. Then they use a highlighter and trace our path as we go. We’ve been working on topographic maps while we hike too. It’s fun.

What does all this mean? It means learning doesn’t have to be done in the classroom – or the home. It can be done anywhere that you have the inspiration. That’s part of the fun of homeschooling.

The end of April also brings me to my next problem – what are we going to learn next year? I ask Nicholas is there’s anything he really wants to learn, and we brainstorm a little. Homeschool conventions, curriculum swaps, and online discounts are so plentiful between April and May that I really like to have a plan and get everything done by then – at least for the formal learning.

That’s what the end of the school year brings to our homeschool. What does it bring to yours?

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