by Lee Binz
Summer is the best season ever! It's when your priorities are camping, vacation, snuggling young children, relaxing in a hammock, and reading great books. Have some watermelon, throw something on the grill, and enjoy the water. It's important to take a break, and spend some times relaxing so you are refreshed. Summer time - the living should be easy!
Summer provides an opportunity to work on all those tasks that were put off throughout the school year. It's easy to catch-up on little things, such as cleaning out the closet under the stairs, teaching your four-year-old to tie their shoes, or planning a visit to grandparents in another state.
Warm, lazy days are also a great opportunity to catch up on homeschool tasks that you’ve put off during the school year. When you’re consumed by helping your children focus on their studies from September to June, little things like record keeping, reading lists, and planning courses for next year can seem completely overwhelming. Summer is the best time to tackle your list, and get ready to face the fall with confidence and anticipation.
Now is the time to play catch-up.
One of the most important things for homeschool parents is to keep up records. Remember, it doesn’t matter how gifted a home educator you are, or what wonderful intentions you have. There also has to be follow-through. You have to do the work of keeping records. You need to keep records that are academic in nature or things that are high school level. It’s relatively common for homeschoolers to do high school level at a young age. If your junior high child is doing Algebra right now, make sure to keep tabs on it. Algebra is a high school level course, and can be put on the high school transcript even if it is completed earlier.
If you have a high school student, record keeping means course descriptions and transcripts that capture all their educational experiences in a way that colleges can understand. A course description is a simple paragraph describing what was taught. You can create course descriptions using a textbook description, a catalog or homeschool book description, or simply by writing a list of what your student did in that course. This might seem daunting, but start small. Try to write one each day while your child is busy with summer activities, or write one a week if they’re at home and underfoot. After the first few tries, you’ll find yourself turning them out in no time!
While you are busy writing your children’s course descriptions, they can be helping you with the next summer homeschool task—reading lists! A reading list is simply a list of books your children have read, including title and author. Often requested by colleges, and sometimes useful for scholarship applications, reading lists are an important part of your student’s high school record. Include books you have assigned your children to read over the summer, books they’ve used in their coursework, and books they read just for fun. Encourage your children to keep track of their own reading, if possible. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, no matter what I said, my children didn’t seem able to keep their own lists. They were excellent readers, and they were thrilled with reading, but they had absolutely no interest in creating a reading list for me. So, I had my children bring me stacks of the books they read, and I would add to their list each week. However it works for your family, the important thing is to make the list.
Planning ahead for the next school year is another very important summer activity. Now is the time when you should be purchasing curriculum and developing your schedule and goals for the coming school year. If you have a middle or high school student, think about what courses they’ll need to cover in order to get into college. If you schedule the upcoming school year now, you can encourage independent learning in the fall—just give them the schedule to follow! Another way to plan ahead is to read books that you will require your children to read for school. You can read the assigned literature during the summer, when you have more time, and you’ll be ready to discuss it during school. It’s relaxing to read great books, and you’ll feel like you really enjoyed your vacation. This is one of the things that really kept me sane when I was homeschooling!
As you think about your homeschool tasks this summer, remember that you are a professional educator. Consider your own need for continuing education too. Perhaps you can attend a homeschool convention, or buy books and videos that will help you be a better home educator. Invest in yourself. This is your chosen profession, and it’s worth the effort. And remember to include a little rest and relaxation. Don’t worry if you’re a little behind on your homeschool tasks. Summer is here, and it’s the best time to catch up on these things.
Think how great you’ll feel when the fall comes around, and you’re ready to roll! Now who wants some s'more?
- Getting the Most Out of Your Homeschool This Summer (Online Training)
- How to Have the Best Homeschool Summer Ever! (Article)
- Free course description help: Webinar - Homeschool Records that Open Doors!
- Free transcript class: Webinar - A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide, "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School." You can find more of her freebies here: www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com/freebies
Get more homeschool high school help on The HomeScholar Facebook Fan Page.
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