Let me encourage you to look up from time to time and remind yourself of your goals. Goals may be simple or elaborate, but they are our focal point. Goals are the place towards which we aim.
- Debbie Strayer
You have reached the final chapter in planning your homeschool year. Now I know what you are thinking, why are we talking about planning the summer? Summer is the time for NO homeschooling and enjoying a break. And though I do agree with you, I’ve found the homeschool year runs much better if I use my summer well. There are several great ways you can use your summer break. Let's dive in and talk about a few of them.
First, you can use your summer for yourself. As a mom and homeschool mom you pour out a lot of yourself during the course of the year. Use the summer as a time to fill yourself. I want to be clear here, the world has skewed “me time” into something vain and pompous. This is NOT what I am talking about when I ask you to take some time and fill yourself. I’m talking about things that fill your soul, your spirit, and your relationship with Christ. Take some time to think about things that actually leave you emotionally, spiritually, and mentally full. Some ideas could be journaling, a bath, a walk, gardening, reading the Bible or a book, a nap, a cup of coffee with another Christian homeschool mom, a date with your husband, or maybe a couple hours alone. The following questions will help you think and plan through the summer for yourself
What things fill you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally?
How can you add these filling things to your schedule this summer?
Make a plan and talk with your spouse about how to fit in a bit of filling time for you in these summer months. Make yourself a priority, it’s hard to do and easy to excuse why you don’t make time for yourself. It’s important. That old saying “if mama ain’t happy no body is happy” is true. You need to value yourself enough to make sure your spirit is full and able to pour out into your family.
Another activity I encourage you to do this summer is to pick a homeschool book to read. Consider your summer as your teacher-in-service days. This is a great opportunity for you to learn and grow in your skills as a homeschool mom. If you aren’t a big reader, try an audio book. Also, there are many homeschool speakers who offer speaking sessions online that you could watch. Add something homeschool-related that will grow you as a teacher. Homeschooling is one of many hats you wear. It’s your full time job and you need to treat it as such. Grow in your skills. A few books I love and have read in the summer are:
The book I’m reading this summer is:
The reading schedule I’m going to follow to finish this book this summer is:
Next let's talk about our kids and summers. Summers are such a sweet time to relax and enjoy each other without all the homeschool work. Enjoy this time together. Summers are also a great time to help a struggling child. If you have a child who is struggling with times tables, reading, or just isn’t grasping those grammar diagrams, then this is the time to get them caught up. When you have no subjects to accomplish, then you can really take extra time and care with an individual child to work through the bad handwriting practices or those addition facts. Prayerfully consider if there is something you need to work on with each child. There might not be anything for any of your children, that’s great. Maybe for some of us it’s a child that has fallen behind and needs some extra attention. Don’t miss the opportunity to use these summer months for catch up.
Summers are also a great time to work on a consistent chore schedule. If chores have been lacking in your home, then this is the time to fix it! Plan out a manageable chore schedule that won’t be altered for the school year. Since you are able to devote more time to making sure chores get done and get done right (you know what I mean! haha), then summers make the skill of chores the perfect time for training.
One last thought on your summers. I encourage you to not stop spending time in the Word of God or reading books, both as a family and personally. If we only spend time in the Word of God during the school year but not during the summer, then what does this communicate to our children about the value of being in God’s Word daily? The same is true for reading. What do we communicate about how important reading is if we are only willing to take the time to read during the school year? Pick the fun chapter books to read as a family during the summer. We laughed ourselves sick reading The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall one summer. We read the entire book in one week while we had company staying with us. My kids still talk about what a fun activity that was with friends. Reading books connects to a season in our mind. There is such sweet bonding that happens over reading books together. Don’t stop this sweet habit in the summer. I also challenge my kids to pick a few personal chapter books to read in the summer. When their schedule is light and they can read by the pool is the perfect time to encourage some extra reading. Help them make a goal for the summer and reward with an ice cream sundae party at the end of the season for all the books that have been read.
Summer is certainly a time for relaxing and resting, but use this time wisely and you will walk into the homeschool year filled up and ready.
I pray these pages will encourage you, give you some ideas on planning for your homeschool year, and above all give you some excitement as you look forward to the next year.
Homeschooling our children is no small task, it is a long road with many bumps along the way. Some years feel like you took two steps back and other years feel like you leap ten feet. Be patient, enjoy the journey, and take your homeschool days before the Lord often. I love all you sweet mamas and I’m praying this is your best homeschool year yet!