What Summer School Means for Us

We don’t school year round.  We don’t take a summer vacation.  Well — we sort of do a mix.  We tried doing our regular schooling through the summer one year.  All of us felt really sad to be using our short Utah summer that way.  We tried taking a summer vacation — that lasted about 3 weeks, until bored kids and frustrated Mom picked up some summer school.  So now, we do summer school.  At our house, summer school looks a lot like this:

And like this:

And quite a lot of this:

We usually pick a subject or two or three that we feel didn’t get enough attention during the winter, something fun like science, geography or food science, and give it some real attention two or three days a week during the summer.  Whenever we are not hiking or swimming, you can find us puttering around at some of our special “summer school” projects.

We keep up our music lessons and practicing through the summer, and I also like to assign one math lesson a week.  This helps keep the numbers fresh so we don’t have to do as much review during the first months of the following school year.

Summer school is a wonderful opportunity to study science, especially anything that requires outdoor experimentation.  I can’t even tell you how frustrated I was reading through a brand new expensive science curriculum and coming upon a pond study that would fall about 3 months into the school year.  In December in Utah, we can’t really do an effective pond study!  (Maybe we should vacation in Australia for a few weeks so we can do the experiment?)  Anyway, May through September is a great time for those kinds of projects — and they certainly don’t feel like torture!

This year, we have a great book with lots of projects picked out for our science school.  We found What Makes the Grand Canyon Grand? by Spencer Christian at the library book sale, and intend to flesh out our study with lots of supplemental reading from the local library.  Eden is assistant teaching this summer for me, and she is designing “virtual vacations” to three different countries still tba for herself and the littler ones.  We hope to make scrap books showing just what it would be like to take a month long vacation to each of these countries, doing the preparation and seeing all the sights.  I just hope she picks somewhere with good food — you know what an ethnic cuisine lover I am.

What plans are you making for learning this summer?  Do you do any formal schooling, or do you just try to relax and have a great time?  Please leave me a comment.

Leave a comment


  1. Misty

     /  May 8, 2012

    That is such a great idea having your daughter work on the virtual vacations. I love geography. Although by boys are 2 1/2 and 6mths, I still classify myself as a homeschool mama. Mostly right now we just play and we read A LOT. But I love getting ideas for when they are older. Thanks!

    • Of course you are a homeschool mama! How great that you love reading to your little ones — that’s what teaching them is all about.

  2. Fish Out of Water

     /  May 8, 2012

    This is our first year homeschooling, so I really don’t know. I suppose I’ll figure it out as I go along. I also love the virtual vacations idea. Very clever!


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