Sunday, May 25, 2014

Year-Round Homeschooling

Otherwise known as "OMG! You make your kids do school in the summer!?"

We school year-round. That is, we don't "do" summer break. Sure we may take a few days to a week off here any there, but for the most part we school all summer.

We homeschooled through the summer even when Brianna was still in public school. Summer learning loss is very real and the results of it can be seen every September in public schools (or Aug for my American counterparts). The last year Brianna was in public school she complained daily about the amount of stuff they "taught" in school that she already knew. I brushed it off at first because we had actually moved into the following grade in some of the work we had done over the summer so I figured she had just already learned it. But then, she filled me in. They were doing stuff like counting to 100. She was in Gr. 3. She had learned to count to 100 in Kindergarten/Gr. 1. They were "learning" to add single digit numbers. They were reading through Gr. 1/2 readers. This wasn't simply review, this was over a month of dragging them back a few grades!

This is because of summer learning loss. A lot of parents leave the schooling to the teachers and don't have their kids so much as crack a book for up to 3 mths. This is not to say that they're bad parents! It's just society's norm. And the schools then have to do a month (or more) of review going up to a few years back to make up for it.

Well, I've always been known as a mean mom! So since that first summer between Kindergarten to Gr. 1, I did homeschooling with the kids. Because it was all they ever knew, they didn't complain. Sure there were certain topics that they didn't want to do, but there was never "why do I have to do school when everyone else doesn't".

Once we started homeschooling, I knew we'd be year-rounders. We do a lot more during the summer now than we did when Brianna was in public school, but still on a much lighter schedule than the rest of the year. We also do a lot more interest based stuff that I just sneak English and math into and Brianna thinks it's all great fun.

Brianna doesn't do well with very long breaks any time in the year. We school a lot more than the average homeschooling family simply because Brianna is very routine set. If we take too long of breaks or too often of breaks she tends to get her entire routine upset. So we generally do only 3-4 full weeks off per year and 6-8 long weekends (4-5 days including the weekend) per year. Otherwise, it's just a day here and there and with reason (like a race day or a set field trip).

This year, Brianna will be continuing through her math curriculum though as it's her 2nd round through it after a mix of troubles with the work itself and also not putting any effort into what she could do. But otherwise, we'll be working on our country studies, gardening, doing some household projects and other non-school "like" stuff.

She has a science camp this year that is a week long. She is to the moon and back excited about that. She does "Park Leaders" Tues-Fri mornings and swims most afternoons with friends. I DO want her to enjoy her summers, especially since most of her friends are public schoolers who have the summer off. So I work around her programs/activities as much as possible. We do most of our week's schooling on Monday when there's no Park Leaders. We do a bit when she comes home for lunch. We do some after swimming (or if it rains and swimming is cancelled). We do some after the neighbourhood kids (and herself) are called home for the night. She does complain some days, but for the most part is really quite ok with it.

It may not work for everyone. Hell, I know many homeschoolers who drag their feet through May and sometimes June to just drop everything for the summer. But it's what works for us.

Hip Homeschool Moms

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