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



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



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.



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.


Making Summer Memories with Literature

Summer naturally lends itself to making memories, doesn't it? I love all things summer. Ice cream, swimming with friends, picnics, and the tanned faces of my children. 

Summertime was also a great time to read our books s-l-o-w-l-y, with no agenda. We could meander through pages, keep a day book for insights, and if we wanted to, leave it neglected on the night table for days. 

I've always sought to find gentle ways to school through the summer.

Let's take the time to slow down, inspire wonder, and make memories this summer.

(This post is from Homegrown Learners' contributing writer, Gina Glenn.


Making Summer Memories.png

Using the lazy hazy days of summer allowed us to create memories that my kids still talk about to this day.

Our Own Memories

When school is out, your kids can become a bit lonesome for companionship. So we held a summer book club each year. I'd choose a literature guide and plan an easy lesson that we could pick up and put down at will. Our favorite was Little Women.  When my youngest daughter went off to college, she packed her copy of Little Women, dogeared as it was. She read it when she was homesick. 

And that's our goal, if we are to have a goal—to create a memory in our child's subconsciousness that they can turn to for comfort in difficult times. For those times when we can't be there.

Learning to Fall in Love with Literature

This seems a good starting point. If you have a child who isn't crazy about reading, you might think it impossible to teach them to fall in love with literature. But, it's completely possible with some mom ingenuity. Here are some ways you can begin to encourage your children to fall in love with literature.

1. Create a time in your summer schedule for stillness.

Think of everyone laying around in the family room seeking a respite from the heat. Rather than turning to video games or tolerating constant cries of, "I'm bored!" plan in advance to have audiobooks on hand. Then this time can begin with a listen aloud (and then they can do other things). Maybe your children can draw during that time, or even just rest. But, listening is paramount to appreciating story and falling in love with literature. Some listen alouds that our family has particularly enjoyed are: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Courage of Sarah Noble, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Your Story Hour with Uncle Dan & Aunt Carol, and Jim Hodges Audiobooks. We also loved many of the Lamplighter series. 

2. Honor your child's individuality.

I have one child who to this day loves to read Timothy Zahn's Star Wars series. I'd much prefer he read Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But, I've come to understand that the books we choose for ourselves are part of the reason they bring comfort. It's as Charlotte Mason has said, "Education is a science of relations." Our children are capable of making their own connections based on their own experiences. So often we are merely the guide. 

3. Build a summer library.

Create reading lists of books you'd like your children to read and keep those on your own bookshelves.

4. Teach your children to engage with literature.

This can be a challenge in our tech-saturated society, but learning to do more than scan the text of any book is what makes a friend of the book we're reading. Challenge your children to think ahead while reading, ask questions of the text, and write in the margins of the book. 

5. Model your own love of literature.

This makes teaching your children to love literature more a passing of the torch than another subject to be mastered. 

Making Your Own Summer Memories with Literature

If you'd like to take a more hands-on approach to making memories with literature you can do really fun things. Here's a list of ideas for activities that involve literature.

  • Choose a theme to study, say bees. Find all the books you can about bees and put together some fun science activities. Examples might be learning why saving bees is important. 
  • Pick a family favorite book based on a movie. Watch the movie, popcorn included, as a reward for finishing the book. If you can, try doing it outside. We had an outdoor projector and set up an outdoor movie theater. 
  • Host a book club. There are so many ideas and directions you can take with this. Keep it fun! If you have boys, you'll have to sell this idea to them with lots of activities. It might need to include building a potato launcher or such, so be creative with your book choices. ;)
  • Participate in summer reading programs. Bookstores, Pizza Hut, and even your local library have programs that encourage your child to read. 


It's Summer and They Are Your Memories

With all the options available for books to read and activities you could do, keep in mind —it's your summer and your memories. There's no right or wrong way. Just fun to be had and memories to be made. 

Do you have a reading list for the summer? I'd love to know what's on it!

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