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How Different is Summer?

Play with flowers, and produce, and goodies!
Play with flowers, and produce, and goodies!
Emily L. Goodman

Parents with children in the public school system know that summer is going to bring a change in their regular schedule. They don’t have to be up as early in the morning; there’s no more homework; there are no more lessons that need to be completed. Most importantly, their child will be at home all day, every day. For a parent who is used to dropping their kids off at school every morning, that’s a huge difference.

But what about homeschooling parents? Homeschooling parents are at home with their kids all day, every day anyway. While many of those hours are filled with lessons, summer days can stretch on endlessly if you don’t have something for them to do.

There are books to be read; movies to be watched (some of them educational); field trips to be taken. Many of those things are much easier during the summer than they would have been during the school year, when they have to be fit in around the normal curriculum. For virtual schooling parents, in particular, the arrival of summer may be a deep relief. On the other hand…what do you do with all of those extra hours in the day?

Take field trips. All those things that you wanted to do during the school year, but couldn’t do because Class Connect times and schoolwork got in the way? This is the time to do them! Go to the library. Go to the park. Take the kids to the zoo…maybe a few dozen times. Get out of the house—because you don’t know whether or not you’ll be able to do it during the year!

Do some spring…er, summer…cleaning. Sure, parents who have never tried it think that if you’re staying at home during the day, your house ought to be immaculate with no trouble whatsoever. Obviously, they’ve never been at home all day with a houseful of kids whose focus is never on cleaning up after themselves! Take the time this summer to clean out some of the clutter—and maybe locate the living room floor, just once.

Read, read, read! Figure out what your kids like to read—and have read to them. Give them the opportunity to explore books just for the joy of reading them, not just because they have to for school. No reports; no projects; just books laid out for them to enjoy. Take them to the library, to used bookstores, and to regular bookstores. Check out summer releases in their favorite series. Let them read. It will help prepare them for the year ahead.

Plan for next year. Now that you know class connect sessions are going to be a much more important part of your day, you can plan accordingly. Figure out how to work your schedule around those long days more productively; discuss together what fun activities you want to add into your day and what activities aren’t worth the stress; and look at how much progress your kids make, when they make the best progress, and how you might change your next school year for the better.

Play. Unstructured play is a great learning opportunity for kids—and it’s something that they need. Give your kids plenty of chances to just play, with minimal supervision and minimal structure. It’s low-stress for you and high-enjoyment for them, which makes it win-win!

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