Thoughts on Summer School

With all this quarantine cutting into our social life, we’ll somehow finish our curriculum by mid-May. I was planning on being done–finished or not–by K’s birthday since we’ll need (I’ll need) a little time then, so this works out pretty well.

I was thinking about this next school year. I’ve liked using an open-and-go curriculum (we use Sonlight) because I feel like it is so nice to have a solid basis off which to improvise. I don’t follow the curriculum slavishly–though it’s tempting to want to checklist through school–I skip ahead or fall behind however it needs to be.

I like to do a little school in the summer–it takes a backseat to playdates and summer fun, but is nice for those days where it’s too hot or rainy, or we need a change of pace. I think of it like a “soft launch” to the school year. I was glad we did that the year B lost his job in June, and we moved to a new state that October, and again last year, with all the time we spent in the hospital.

With a new baby coming mid-August, I think this approach to homeschooling will work well for us again. I’ve been thinking of what subjects are good to do just about everyday and what subjects can be done in a unit study sort of way.

I think Math, Latin, reading / English, writing, and Bible are all subjects I’d like to do everyday, but history, science, and art I could do in a unit study sort of way (art though is sort of a nebulous subjects for us right now–we have a huge collection of art books all around the house and the craft table is always open, so when I say “art” lessons, I mean in a more guided way. Possibly doing some videos for fun.) Maybe I’m wrong and this is a horrible idea–if so, we’ll adjust!

So this summer, we’re going to do our entire science for the coming year, not counting the Kiwico monthly subscription. Then instead of pacing out the girls books and doing them when they’re assigned, I like just giving the girls their stack of books for the year and asking them to either tell me about them when they get done reading them or write a little about them in their composition notebooks. I unintentionally did this while Kit was in the hospital, and the girls liked it. I might also “unit study” our history–Sonlight history includes a lot of readalouds, and I have this pleasant vision (and also memory, from K as a baby and D too) of sitting up in my bed with the new baby on my chest, reading aloud to the girls.

For W’s kindergarten year, I’m doing Five in a Row with her–she loves to read the same books one billion times, so this isn’t too much of an adjustment from what we already do (I did this with Z, who loved it). I think her very regimented little self will love it. She’s got a lot of interest in reading, so I’ll also slowly start All About Reading, even though I honestly wasn’t planning to this year. I stressed about teaching Z, then J completely taught herself (she spoils me and teaches herself just about everything–potty-training, roller skating, how to ride a bike. Sit still and let me teach you, child!).

So I know I’m overusing “I think” and “maybe” in this post; my plans for the schoolyear are more like a rough sketch that we re-evaluate as we go. Even in our last 3 weeks, I find myself adjusting here and there to the weird season we’re in and the girls needs. My before-having-children self would want to have plans etched in stone, but I’ve since learned that every year has its little surprises and people don’t go according to plan.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Summer School”

  1. Would you ever consider writing blog posts on Sonlight and other curriculum you’ve used over the years? (We’ve used Five in a Row, too, but I’m not familiar with All About Reading.) I know I looked over your Sonlight curriculum at your house, but I feel like I was distracted and didn’t get a good feel for it. I’m pretty sure we want to move away from The Good and the Beautiful. We like it, but it requires so much teacher setup that I find it a little bit tiring to get through everyday. I remembered you said Sonlight was very open-and-go, so I’m curious about it. I am also interested in possibly finding more family-style curriculum (looking into Gather Round Homeschool as well). We will probably start the new school year in late July or early August with some school during the summer as well (for the same reasons you gave, actually).

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