Summer’s on its way!

I’ve got it. I’ve got it bad—the summer itch. The weather has been so beautiful lately that I can hardly contain myself. I absolutely can’t wait for summer and summer school!

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I’ve loved our year-round school. And after last summer’s frolicks, the kids can’t wait either.

fishing

Now for the record, my idea of summer school is not to maintain the same schedule. Oh, no. Instead, I use the summer to tackle all of the fun we couldn’t cram into the year: nature study, drawing, art, and music. For instance, last summer we did a nature study and learned about our five senses, studied Van Gogh’s art and Handel’s Water Music, and continued our phonics lessons.

Why do summer school at all?

  • For one, I honestly can’t stand spending the first six weeks of a school year re-learning everything we covered the year before.
  • Two, I love the structure that school brings to our day. We all miss it. The kids can’t stand taking Saturdays off (I draw the line there). Though we definitely enjoy our breaks, after a little vacation we’re all starving for that structure once more.
  • And then, we honestly just have fun. I’m not saying that we don’t have any struggles or that every day is a walk in the park; but overall, we have fun learning together. If it’s been awhile since we’ve enjoyed school, I re-evaluate everything.
funny face portraits

What’s up for this summer’s fun?

Monet and Mendelssohn, more nature study (continuing our study of the animal classifications in our own backyard), and we’ll finish up our geography study with a summer of U.S. geography (learning the 50 states and some history facts). Cuisenaire rods for math, maybe some drawing. My son will continue his phonics and reading, and we may experiment with some cursive writing since he’s been curious about it lately.

How do we plan to tackle all of that and still have time to play?

Van Gogh sunflowers

I recently ran across a brilliant scheduling concept dubbed “one more thing.” This homeschool mom tackles the electives after lunch, only one per day—a day for art, a day for music, a day for experiments, a day for whatever! I immediately saw the potential of this concept, allowing me to fit in all of the fun that appeals to me.

I plan on having a schedule to follow (which I’ll post a little later) but no daily lesson plans necessarily. I have an overall curriculum, but I don’t want to be regimented by a daily list of items to check off. We’ll tackle phonics, math, and nature study every day; the other subjects will fall into our “one more thing” routine (i.e. U.S. geo-1 day/wk; art/music or drawing/music-2 days/wk; cursive-2 days/wk).

Phonics and math will take about an hour altogether; nature study will take as long as we want it to (nature study = explore the outdoors). Then our “one more thing” will take about 1/2 hour max. Really, it’s not much school time at all, but it makes for a lot of fun memories.

What am I using? (In other words, how do I budget summer school?)

That’s a great question, and honestly summer plans could easily push the budget a little bit. But when planning last year and this year, I asked two questions: What do I want to teach? and What do I have to teach with? Sometimes, what I want to teach changes after I look at what I have (or what I can pick up for cheap). So here’s what I’m using and how much it will cost.

Monet and Mendelssohn:

Summer 2009 Art and Music Appreciation from Harmony Fine Arts Plans (free)

Nature Study:

Nature Study Notebooking Pages ($10.95)

Library books and Handbook of Nature Study (on my Kindle computer app)

U.S. Geography:

50-states puzzle (I already own)

U.S. States song from Geography Songs (I own and have been using all year)

Drawing:

I Can Draw (I already own)

Cursive:

K4 Cursive Writing Tablet and Writing with Phonics- A Beka

I bought it last year for K4 and put it on hold when my son had trouble, but I’ve also found some great cursive writing worksheets.

Math:

Play with cuisinaire rods and review in a living math setting

Phonics:

A Beka 1st grade phonics (purchased from my school year budget)

So, the running total for our summer of fun? $10.95

I absolutely can’t wait for summer! Popsicles, pool, and summer school—it’s going to be way too much fun.

Handel's Water Music and pool fun