If you're not the type who homeschools year round, then your summer break is stretching out in front of you like a long ribbon, just waiting to be filled with fun and frolic. You may be contemplating long days at the pool or beach, picnics at the park, or just walks down the lane… (If you need any more ideas, see my post about Planning for a Fun Summer Break!)
Then there are those of us who, with all the best intentions in the world, still seldom finish according to a “regular” school calendar. Um. My senior and I attended the public high school graduation ceremonies this past weekend to support friends from church, but we are still rather anti-climactically chugging away with schoolwork, with the end probably not in sight for another month or so… sigh.
Either way, though, the homeschool mom must deal with the reality that even in summer there is still work to be done. Since we are the teachers and organizers of our homeschool, there are several projects we can accomplish over the summer break to prepare for starting again in the fall. Completing all of these tasks will help ensure that next year will be GREAT!
1) Tie up loose ends from last year. Finish grading your kids' final work from the school year and record it. Finalize last year's transcript entries, if you have a high-schooler. Sort through your elementary child's work to decide which samples to keep for their portfolio, then chuck the rest. (Seriously, I mean that. There is no reason to keep ALL of their work. Unless you have a penchant for keeping things no one will ever look at again…)
2) If you haven't already done so, research and choose
3) Clean out your homeschool space, whether that be an entire room or just a cupboard somewhere, and reorganize it. Buy what you need to keep it uncluttered and make things easy to find and grab. (There is a distinction there. You may know where something is, but it may be difficult to grab because it's stuck behind or under something else. One crucial part of organizing and maintaining any space is to make things easy to get to when you want them — and easy to put away when you don't.)
4) Read. This is a biggie! Read old favorites about homeschooling and find some new ones, thereby recharging your homeschool motivation and refining your homeschool vision. There never seems to be time for our own continuing education throughout the school year. So take advantage of the unstructured-ness of summer to soak up some knowledge from both established and new homeschool authors.
5) Take care of physical maintenance. Summer break is perhaps a more convenient time to schedule those yearly doctor appointments for yourself (you know which ones I'm talking about). It might also be good to fit in physical exams for the kids and get them up-to-date on their vaccinations (if you do them). I also say go ahead and pamper yourself with a new haircut or manicure as a reward for getting done the year! :-)
6) Start planning the schedule and calendar for next year. Evaluate what worked and didn't work from this year and determine how to fix it next year. Think about changing when your school starts each morning or the order of your subjects. Will you be adding a new student this year? How will you fit him/her into the mix? When will school holidays be? Plan out in detail at least the first week (or month would be better) of the year, just to see how everything fits together. I've found that thinking about these things in a leisurely fashion when I am not pressured for time is key to making the best decisions.
7) Most importantly — RELAX!! Summer is a time to recharge. Don't plan so many activities that you have no energy left at the end of it! Sleep in occasionally. Take naps. Refuse to rush around. Cultivate the art of chillin'. :-)
The items on this list are not quick fixes; they will each require some time to be well and thoroughly completed. That's why it's good to start thinking about them now, so we can gradually work on them over the entire summer break and not get overwhelmed.
Did I miss anything? :-)
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