5 Tips for a Balanced Summer

Want to learn how to remain sane AND retain skills? When my kids were in middle school and high school, we did just a bit of structured school each day during the summer months. We did a little math, a little writing, a little independent unit study of some sort. No, I'm not crazy – hear me out.  A balanced summer makes your life easier – not harder!

I can tell you what some public school moms do to retain information in the summer. When kids are young, they often grab a grade-level workbook for summer, and have their kids do a couple of pages each day during vacation. We can do that too, even in the high school years.

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Tips for a balanced summer:

1. Add Structure

Staying sane in summer requires a careful balance of structure (so the kids don't go crazy) and time of from homeschooling (so the mom doesn't go crazy.) Without structure, things can become more chaotic, and things they have learned over the past year disappear. How do you keep that balance?

2. Retain Skills

A little practice over the summer can keep those hard-earned skills. Just 15 minutes a day can help your child retain information learned over the past year. Math, english, and foreign language often need practice in order to maintain skills. SAT or ACT prep books are the perfect grade level math workbooks for summer review. One page or a few problems in a prep book may be all your child needs to keep these skills throughout the summer.

3. Unit Studies

Summer is a great time to add that "one important thing" you know you need to cover but never seem to have time for during the school year. If you need to cover health, state history, or critical thinking, perhaps now is a good time. For example, you might consider Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal Workbook or Total Health in high school

4. Simple Solutions

Look for simple solutions that require ZERO time from the homeschooling parent. If it's not independently completed, it can cause mom or dad burnout, which is bad for your overall sanity, and loses the summer balance you are looking for. For example, there are flash cards for the SAT or ACT, like Essential SAT Vocabulary: 500 Essential Vocabulary Words to Help Boost Your SAT Score, and for specific subject areas, like French Vocabulary Study Cards by SparkNotes.

5. Grade Level Workbooks

"Grade-level workbooks" are also known as "SAT or ACT preparation" when your child is in high school. You could choose a paper-and-pencil approach to a test prep workbook. For example, you could choose The College Board Guide: Official Study Guide 2018 Edition or 1,471 ACT Practice Questions by Princeton Review, or The ACT Company Book: The Official ACT Prep Guide, 2016 - 2017 for a grade-level summer review.

Final Encouragement

Don't work too hard, and do take a break. Just remember that sometimes structure will give you more peace in the home, so the break is a REAL break and not more work than it needs to be.

When my kids were upper elementary through high school, we did just a bit of structured school each day. We did a little math, a little writing, a little independent unit study of some sort, and an educational game. Only about 1-1/2 hour of relatively pleasant and completely independent "summer school' and it gave them just enough to do so they weren't foraging for trouble or complaining about being bored. (Dealing with the "I'm Bored" Phenomenon)

Happy summer!

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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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