Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer Home Schooling

Can I try Homeschooling in the summer?

Sometimes parents say to me that they are going to “try out” homeschooling for the summer and see if it will work for them. Then they will decide if it’s something they want to continue doing throughout the school year. While I’m all for unstructured, interest-based learning for the summer months, I’m not convinced that a summer trial period is the best way to determine if homeschooling will work for your family. Here are three reasons why:

1.     Kids who are used to the structure of a brick and mortar school may not want to be “taught” and may not want to “do school” at home during their summer break because they really do just want a break. This is their time to relax, to do what interests them, to be curious, to play, to read, to not have any pressure. If parents decide this is the time they are going to introduce a curriculum or try to do “lessons” with their kids, it’s likely they will be met with resistance.  Parent’s might determine that homeschooling won’t work for them because their kids just won’t learn at home and won’t cooperate with them. The timing isn’t right. Summer time is time for kids to be kids.
2.     It’s busy out there! If you are the kind of parent who wants to do field trips with your kids, summer time doesn’t give you the right feel for what it will be like in the fall.  Summer camps and tourism make popular museums and other fun destinations crowded and uncomfortable. During the school day, most places are empty and you can enjoy them as a family without crowds, without noise, without extra traffic. During the typical school day, you can spend hours on your own exploring museums, beaches and tide pools, amusement parks, Costco, without the congestion that comes with the summer.
3.     Deschooling! It’s important to take some time to deschool before jumping into homeschooling. Deschooling means getting yourself and your family out of the traditional school mindset. It means taking a break (usually a proper deschooling is one month per year spent in traditional school). It means rediscovering how your child learns best and finding out what really drives your child. What is he interested in? What are her passions? What kind of homeschooling family will we be? Will we recreate school at home, or will we be more eclectic, or will we embrace unschooling? All of those questions are formed and some answers develop during the process of deschooling. One can’t really deschool over the summer because that’s not enough time and summer activities take the place of deschooling.

Summertime can be a time to dip your toes into homeschooling by maybe loosening the reins on the kids and letting them decompress so that when it comes time to start the deschooling and homeschooling process in the fall, you’re ready for it and your kids are ready for it!

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