One of my children asked me this week if they would be doing math over the summer. That question prompted me to begin praying about and planning our summer schedule. We have four more weeks of school left as I write this plus a week of standardized testing; then it is summer for us. What about you? Have you considered the use of a daily schedule during the summer? Since I am beginning to think about our summer schedule, I felt like it was time for me to encourage you to begin on yours!
I was amazed by the reports of several of the moms who tested our book on scheduling for homeschool families before it was printed. After they had been on their schedules for a school year, some decided not to make and use a summer schedule. Their feedback was that they would not make that choice again. Their summer had rushed away without getting to the activities they had wanted to accomplish, and there was a greater level of disharmony among the children.
Summer is perfect for catching up on organizational and cleaning projects that the school year does not allow time for. I schedule one hour a day for these kinds of projects, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much I can do during this hour through the course of the summer.
The temptation is to continue working on the project past the allotted hour. However, this then undermines the rest of my summer schedule because I will have other priorities scheduled for the rest of the day.
I keep a running list of projects I would like to get done during that organizational hour, prioritize it, and jump in when summer begins. I also like to look back over what I have done previous summers to help me know what to tackle this year.
This is my list right now, but I will come up with other projects as the summer progresses: pack away and label children’s winter clothes, box this year’s school books, create a school portfolio for each child, clean kitchen cupboards, clean and organize closets, put photos in albums, and plan 2000/2001 school schedule.
I will schedule Sarah, our eighteen-year-old daughter, to spend my organizational hour taking the younger children for a walk and playing with them. This way I will have fewer interruptions during that time, and the children will be getting some exercise. Because it is hot in Kansas in the summer, this hour is scheduled for right after breakfast before it becomes unbearably hot.
Planning for a summer schedule is a great time to pray about whether year-round schooling would benefit your family. This is one way to eliminate some of the time pressures faced during the school year. When you spend a couple of hours schooling each day through the summer, you free up that time through your normal school year. It also gives your children something constructive to do with their summer days and keeps their skills fresh. We have found that we can skip the first quarter of a math book when we move into it right after finishing the previous one, because that first part is all review. We purchased an art course for our children. I am going to look at my schedule and the materials to decide if I want to give a half hour a day to beginning this course. I will find it easier to prepare for it during the summer because I have more time available.
I will also be praying about how much school to continue through the summer. Usually I schedule math that will necessitate my involvement. I try to make the other school time self-instructional and self-correcting so that as much of my time is freed up in the summer as possible.
I want to spend more time playing with the children during the summer. I put this in my schedule as well because it gives me needed accountability. I am likely to find something I feel I need to do or want to do rather than go outside with the children–especially when it is hot!–if that time isn’t scheduled. When they are looking forward to it, I don’t want to disappoint them.
Summer is a perfect time to teach your children new chore skills. You can revise your chore schedule during this time, moving jobs from child to child, training them on new ones, and making sure they can do them well.
We want our summers to involve a change of pace. However, we don’t want to lose the direction, productivity, and peace the schedule lends to our home. Therefore, we simply pray about a summer schedule, seeking the Lord for His priorities for our summer days. Then we are ready to put together the summer schedule and look forward to what we can enjoy and accomplish.
Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 both mention “redeeming the time.” May we see the productive possibilities for a summer schedule to help us in this important directive of “redeeming the time.” May I encourage you to consider a summer schedule if you have not used one before? If you already believe in the importance of a summer schedule, may I suggest you begin now to pray about and plan for the details of that schedule?