I typically wouldn’t worry much about structuring our homeschool over the summer. This year though, with travel and outing restrictions, I needed a new plan.
Typically, we move to what I like to think of as “schooling light.” We continue with some math, learning a new concept or two, but largely rely on the boys’ favorite game Prodigy, to keep their skills sharp. My kids also adore the Brain Quest Summer Workbook. so those are always included in our summer schooling. They are super easy to travel with too, so they’ve been a staple since preschool. As for everything else, I usually let our summer travel inform our school decisions. We pick a read-aloud based on where we will be going and continue our oral narration. Jr. Ranger badges and Teachers Pay Teachers provide some worksheets that are thematically appropriate for our travels. It’s something we all look forward to
This year, however, we are back at home. I considered continuing with our school year schedule, but even that has been wrecked by canceled activities. We are now, mostly at home.
So… I decided that formalized summer checklists would be our best bet. I created a checklist for each day of the week with a variety of activities.
I started out with this adorable schedule template from the Teacher Wife on Teachers Pay Teachers. I used the online editor picMonkey to put my schedule onto the template. I sent them off to be printed at the UPS store (the quality is always a little bit better than when I print from home), laminated them and put them on clipboards for each kid.
I like to have a little flexibility in our schedules. Instead of assigning each item on the list a specific time, I gave each a duration. The schedules are slightly different on each day. I made sure though that things we do together – like Herb Fairies – all occur on the same day. While things like Osmo, which we only have one of, never occurs at the same time for more than one kid.
Each child gets their clipboard each morning with the checklist on it and a magnetic dry erase marker and works through their list in whatever order they would like. Once they have completed all items on the list the rest of the day is theirs to do with as they would like. I’m also able to add in additional activities or cleaning tasks on the bottom lines.
Some days we have other things planned or we just need a mental health day. On these days I may abandon the checklist altogether, shifting instead to a default schedule. (I love this one from Thirty Handmade Days.) I printed three of these default schedules and just clip them to their clipboards instead. Another option I sometimes employ is to just ask one of the Littles to pick three (or two, or five, or whatever) from their checklist. Since each of the items has value, it is an easy way to relax the schedule without losing the day.
I love these checklists because it makes our summer days at home predictable for the Littles. It also really reduces my prep-time. I just have to look at the list for the next day and prep a few things. The Littles have already decided which scheduled days are their favorites and look forward to those all week.
There are so many printable options and every family needs something different, but for us, these checklists are making our days at home just a little bit easier.