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Simple Summer Homeschool (For Big Kids)

Wouldn't it be glorious if we could just embrace summer to its fullest?  

I used to think taking a complete break from "school" was best. The kids (and mom) needed time to decompress, relax, sleep in, and do all of the wonderful things summer has to offer.

Then reality set in.

After about a week of "embracing" summer, I started observing grumbling, boredom, and a spirit of discontent (and this was just from mom!). The kids were at loose ends and not so happy about summertime anymore.

Routine is a GOOD thing.  

When my kids were younger we always embraced a gentle way to school throughout the summer. Now that they are older we need more formalized routines to maintain good moods and fosters peaceful relationships (can you relate?)

A routine also keeps academic skills sharp and inquisitive minds churning. It eliminates the need for questions and keeps kids off of devices.

 

 Simple Summer Homeschool For Big Kids - A Routine to Keep them Engaged and Learning

It's all about SIMPLE in our homeschool.

Both my husband and I work from home. I need to be sure there is time for me to WORK in the mornings, so having this simple routine in place greatly helps our home run smoothly. We are both structured people and tend to become unhappy without routine.

It's just natural  our children will need routine then, too.

This is nothing fancy, and it might look different in your homeschool, but here is our routine. Resources we are using will be listed at the end. 

 Simple Summer Homeschool Routine for Big Kids

 

Morning Time

We keep Morning Time going throughout the summer. 

  • Devotions
  • Read-Aloud (I spend A LOT of time reading aloud - we're enjoying this part of our summer. We take turns reading aloud and using this fun color by number... makes read-aloud time fun.)
  • SQUILT  (my son helps me preview SQUILT LIVE! lessons - I always try them out on him first)

 

 Summer Read Alouds in a Simple Homeschool Summer Schedule for Big Kids

 

Chores

Take out the garbage, unload the dishwasher, make sure your room is picked up and bed made, etc...

 

Math

Math is too important a skill to let slide. My son completes a full math lesson each day (yes, I am a mean mom). 

We are also peppering in some ACT practice problems this summer as well. I'm finding it's never too early to start this.

 

Vocabulary

My son enjoys words (I think a lot of this comes from learning Latin), so I ordered a set of ACT flashcards

He enters them into Quizlet each day. I've challenged him to learn all 500 words by the end of the summer. If he can learn them I have promised him a trip to our local LEGO store. 

Yes, I know - bribery. 

Don't judge.

 

Piano Practice

Piano is another skill that needs constant attention. 20-30 minutes practice is required each day. I'm quite thankful my kids enjoy playing. 

(If you don't have a musician, you might choose another skill your child enjoys to work on this summer - maybe it is art or some other creative outlet)

 

Read Alone

Once the other activities are finished, it's reading time. You can see some of the books my son has been interested in below. 

Normally, the morning time, math, vocabulary, and piano take approximately 3 hours - then reading seems to occur for 30 minutes, or however long a book will captivate my son. 


This routine seems to take us right to lunch time. 

(I don't make the kids get up at any certain time in the summer, but they've seemed to figure out that if they sleep in too late they will be doing their required work longer, and that's no fun.)

After lunch there is usually time spent with a friend, errands to run, going to the YMCA, or something else to keep the day interesting. 

Of course, we have a couple of vacations planned, the kids have a mission trip, and Grant is going to camp. This routine is in place for those weeks when we are home and need to be occupied.

 

That's it. I told you it was simple.


Resources for  Summer Homeschool


3-Minute Devotions for Guys: 180 Encouraging Readings for Teens3-Minute Devotions for Teen Girls: 180 Encouraging Readings3-Minute Devotions for FamiliesPeter Nimble and His Fantastic EyesWords in the DustThe Rise and Fall of Mount MajesticHomeless BirdThe True Confessions of Charlotte DoyleThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelJefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret ChildrenA Land of Permanent GoodbyesBarron's SAT Vocabulary Flash Cards, 2nd Edition: 500 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreThe Maze Runner Series Complete Collection Boxed SetTheodore Boone Box Set (Kid Lawyer / The Abduction / The Accused / The Activist)HatchetThe River (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Winter (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Return (A Hatchet Adventure)Brian's Hunt (A Hatchet Adventure)Hatchet 4 book set, Hathet, Brian's Winter, Brian's Return, & The River

 

Do you have a summer routine with your big kids?  Tell me about it.

 

5 Lessons From My Mother

So many "firsts".

When you lose someone you love, you are told the year of "firsts" will be hard. There is so much truth in that. 

This is the first Mother's Day without my mom.  

The loss is more palpable today than it was the day she died.

In the spirit of my gracious and kind mother, however, it does not feel right to dwell on the loss.  Instead, I remember the gifts she gave me, and the wisdom and love she imparted to me. Perhaps that could be one of the lessons from my mother - to search for the beauty and love of God in all things?

 

 5 Lessons From My Mother

The "Back Story"

God's ways are mysterious and beautiful; people often refer to them as "coincidence".

I don't believe in coincidence, but I do believe in a God who loves us and designs ALL of life's circumstances for our ultimate good.

Last winter I traveled to spend several days with my dad. I helped him clean out a few more of my mom's things - and in those was a book tucked behind many other books. This book turned out to be a precious God wink. I even will go far as to say my mom led me to that book.

I spent a lot of time in between helping my dad and going through her things just soaking up Gift From The Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

As I read I began to draw a multitude of parallels between the gifts from the sea and the gifts my mother had given me. I spent much of that week sitting by the pool with tears streaming down my face.

There can be so much beauty in the hard.

I could give you many more than 5 lessons, but these are what stick out most prominently to me now.

 

Have Patience in All Things

Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My mom had the patience of a saint. When I was a child she spoke to me about patience so often, and I remember her reinforcing that to me as an adult.

That patience was especially important when I became a mother - especially the mother of a toddler who tested my limits! My mother always had a very calm way of reassuring me that patience would win out.

When a hysterical, screaming little girl wasn't getting her way I remember my mom saying to me, "Stick to your guns. Put her in her room and don't let her come out until she has calmed down. She might cry so hard she will make herself sick, but she has to learn to have patience."

Not only did my three-year-old begin to learn patience, her mama got to practice patience as well.

 

A Woman CANNOT Do Everything

My mother raised her girls to be independent, capable, and strong. She saw each of us through college, motherhood, and careers, yet she also made it quite clear to me that I could not have it ALL.

I was under no illusion that I could be the kind of mother my children deserved AND serve my own need for a career as well.

When I decided to go back to work after the birth of my first child she told me bluntly how she disagreed, and then she supported my decision (because this is what she always did - no matter my choices she would tell me her opinion and then support me).

This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul... I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and rhythm.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My mother created a home for us that was peaceful and calm, with plenty of time to be quiet and appreciate things of beauty.

We ate dinners together often. We fed our creative selves. I don't ever recall life being frenzied or scattered.

As far as the working and raising children issue, I see now that giving up my job was the best decision I ever made. Eventually, as my children grew and life changed, I was able to pursue my "career" and do more than I ever imagined possible.

This goes back to PATIENCE.

 

Being a Homemaker is a Noble and Worthy Calling

My mother made child rearing an art. It was her calling and her joy.  She was first and foremost a wife and mother.

 5 Lessons From My Mother

 

I always knew FAMILY was her life's mission.

I'm not so sure many young women get that gift in this day and age.

We do not see the results of our giving as concretely as man does in his work. In the job of home-keeping there is no raise from the boss, and seldom praise from others to show us we have hit the mark. Except for the child, woman’s creation is so often invisible, especially today.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My mother always complimented me on the work I was doing with my family. She sent me cards on Mother's Day. 

I knew that mothering and homemaking MATTERED. 

I pray that my own daughter knows that if God calls her to that life, it is THE noblest profession of all.

 

With Age Comes Wisdom

My mother never fretted about aging. She accepted each pound, wrinkle, and setback with grace.

She invested in older women in our church and stressed to me the importance of them in our lives. 

My mom taught me that there is something beautiful that comes with each stage of life, and not to be fooled by a society that seems to only value youthfulness and beauty.

We Americans, with our terrific emphasis on youth, action, and material success, certainly tend to belittle the afternoon of life and even to pretend it never comes... In our breathless attempts we often miss the flowering that waits for afternoon.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Each stage of our lives holds something extraordinary, but if we are too busy wishing for the previous season we will likely miss the beauty in front of us.

My mom embraced the beauty in every stage of her life. I pray I am doing the same.

 

You Are Stronger Than You Know

After my second child was born I had a horrible struggle with postpartum depression. This depression was so foreign to me, but in the years to come it would rear its head several more times.

The first couple of times my mom came to the rescue... staying with our family, helping care for my children, literally forcing me out of bed in the morning. 

She would always leave, however, before I wanted her to. She gave me the tools to get better and promised me I could succeed on my own - and always with God's help. Through these times I learned I had a strength I didn't know I possessed.

I learned I could handle tough things - very tough things.

When my mom's death came I didn't crumble. I would like to think I made it through those dark days with grace and faith - and often times a smile. 


The Gift From The Sea is one of treasured possessions now. (In fact, it sparked a bit of an obsession about Anne Morrow Lindbergh - a fascinating figure if you get a chance to learn more about her.)

Knowing that my mom read the same words and lived by so many of them gives me such comfort.

I do not take lightly the gift of a wonderful mother. I know not everyone has had this experience, and I count myself blessed to have been loved by my mother.

 

Additional Reading:

Gift from the Sea: 50th-Anniversary EditionWisdom from Gift from the Sea (Mini Book)Gift From The Sea, An Answer to the Conflicts in Our LivesThe Aviator's Wife: A NovelAnne Morrow Lindbergh: Her LifeAnne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the AirAgainst Wind and Tide: Letters and Journals, 1947-1986North to the Orient (Harvest Book)Hour Of Gold, Hour Of Lead: Diaries and Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1929-1932No More Words: A Journal of My Mother, Anne Morrow LindberghLocked Rooms Open Doors:: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1933-1935 (A Harvest Book)Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Between the Sea And the Stars (Lerner Biographies)War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939-1944

 

 5 Lessons from My Mother