Summertime Is Fun Time – Right?!
by: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
When I say we don’t home-school during the summer months, I am speaking in the technical sense of my children at our table being taught daily lessons through our weekly lesson planning and curriculum. I believe summertime is fun time, but we don’t totally shut our brains off to learning. Even during the summer there is always a time to learn something exciting and new! You can explore your city museums and other exciting places in nearby cities for family time, and continued learning opportunities during the summer months. I wrote on this topic just a few weeks ago in a post titled, School is Out | Does Learning Stop?
Regarding the summer months, however, we stop all daily lessons and lectures and I’ll explain why. But first let me remind you that these are my reasons, and these reasons work best for our family. As a home educator, please make sure you are living in obedience to God and following His plan for your family. The reasons I share in this post are simply to give you encouragement in your home-school journey, but always follow God’s plan for your family.
With that said, here are my 3 reasons why we do not home-school during the summer:
- Just Keeping It Real – We Are Tired!
Being a home educator is a very hard, exhausting, emotionally draining, commitment. We love the opportunity to home educate our children. We love the time we are privileged to spend together. We love the many ways in which God has allowed me and my husband, Omar, to have a second education, if you will, by learning alongside our children. We wouldn’t trade this time in our lives for anything. However, at the same time – it’s hard! We have many bad days when we all have meltdowns (right alongside our almost four-year-old in the midst of a screaming fit because no-one is playing with her) Me and Omar get frustrated when we cannot help our children understand a certain lesson. We have days when we wake up and think everything will go smoothly, but then have thirty interruptions, from outside of our control, which throws our entire day off.
Not to mention, we own and operate a home-school physical education program, and we teach classes four-days a week. We have a very tight schedule to get the children’s schoolwork completed, get to our physical education classes, get back home to finish schoolwork, cook and eat dinner, and then likely off to evening commitments, (organized sports, church, support groups events…etc) which turns into very long days.
So – we are tired! Our entire family needs a break from daily lessons to free our mind from the pressure of getting everything done on time.
We spend a lot of time during the summer going on walks together as a family. We enjoy going to Shelby Farms on a regular basis so our children remain active. We have more game nights during the summer. We truly enjoy our time taking a break during the summer months.
2. Serving Our Community.
Another reason we do not home-school during the summer is because our family is very active at our home church, Bellevue Baptist Church, and we enjoy the MANY opportunities to serve our community.
For example, each year I am a teacher for CampOutrageous, (Bellevue’s Vacation Bible School). This year I am again teaching third-grade. Omar usually teaches fifth-grade boys, however, because of his football coaching schedule this summer, he could not commit to being a lead teacher, so he will help in my third-grade class. My seventh-grade son, Jaden, will also be one of my teachers, serving as a student helper. My daughter, Gabi, will participate as a CampOutrageous dancer.
CampOutrageous is a tremendous ministry. Each year so many children give their hearts to Jesus Christ. Last year, seven children in my third-grade class asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior!
In addition to CampOutrageous, Jaden and Gabi will join the summer mission trip to Dallas, TX with the student choir and also serve in Jerusalem Project in July. Jerusalem Project is a fantastic student ministry where middle and high- school students serve in outreach projects throughout the city of Memphis, TN. They serve in clean-up projects, VBS’s (at other churches in the city) and sport camps. It is a wonderful ministry! The students camp out at church in sleeping bags, have devotion with their peers, and worship service at night. It is a humbling week of service in our city.
If you are not doing home-school with your children this summer, consider serving in your church.
3. Better Preparation For The New School Year.
Again, we know some families home-school throughout the year and it works well for them, but not for us. We love the feeling of a fresh start in August. We attempted to do year round schooling a few years ago and it was a disaster to say the least. Something that stood out to me during our year round schooling adventure was we never had that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you start a new school year – and we missed that.
Also, we have since learned that we prepare much better for each new school year when we have time off. Our so-called breaks, when we did home-school year round, were not preparation breaks. We were so tired and exhausted we did absolutely nothing during our breaks. Therefore, we were unable to properly prepare our children for their next grade level.
Now we are able to regroup and reflect on what worked and did not work for us the previous school year. We have more time to research material.
Taking the time off gets us excited and motivated to start the new school year. Believe it or not, our children are also excited to start school again when we break during the summer.
I hope these ideas have helped you in your home-school journey. Years ago I would hear people say they home-school year round, and I would then put pressure on myself to do the same, even though I knew it wasn’t the best option for me or my children. That never happens today! I can sit in a room full of home-school parents sharing all the amazing stories and testimonies they have from home-schooling their children year round, and I’d be like “High-five and kudos to you!”
Home-schooling my children year round is not for me. I am like the kid x-ing the calendar, counting down the days until summer – and I have no problem with that!
Remember, this is best for me. It might not be best for you. If you already know home-schooling year round is best for you and your children, please don’t allow those of us who do not home-school year round take you off your path. Trust God and rely on His guidance for your family.
But if taking the summer off is for you – make the most of it based on your family needs.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy our next scheduled post for Monday, “3 Reasons Why We Home-School Year-Round”. Don’t miss it! Learn from a local mom her 3 reasons why she home-schools year round.
-Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
Do you have a story or practical tip to share with our home-school community? Use the contact page and tell us about it.