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Schooling Year Round: Summer School

Did you wrap up your school year this week? I know many have and while we are so close, we still have a good week to finish up some of the basics I had planned for the academic school year. (My high school boys had their last day of school today, however!)

Even though we homeschool year round, I try to have our basics wrapped up by the end of May so we can have an easy, fun summer of learning. But this year, I'm adding in a few basics like writing and grammar.

One of the things I love about homeschooling year round is that it takes a little of the pressure off during the school year. We are involved in sports and activities outside of the home and with shorter days, we have less time in the day to get things done, but I also have less energy from lack of sunshine. While I love the sunshine and the boost of energy it gives me in the summer, too much sun will drain my energy, so on those hot days that we aren't playing in the water or eating frozen watermelon popsicles, we'll be inside cooling off by the window air conditioner doing school.

Plus, some learning is just better suited to warmer weather. Summer is the perfect time for nature walks, studying insects, and growing things!

Plus (another one), I'll go crazy if I don't do some formal learning. If we school for 2 hours a day, there will still be plenty of daylight hours for other work and play, and we won't be schooling every day - maybe 3 days a week.

What we have planned this summer:

  • Spelling: All About Spelling 4 finished!
  • Science: Exploring Creation With Botany 

With All About Reading Level 4 (link to my review) being the last level in the reading program, we were anxious to finish so we took some time off of spelling to finish reading. Malachi soared through Level 4 and is now reading at an adult level, which means he can decode any word he comes across (yay!). His confidence is sky high and I'm so pleased to have him graduate All About Reading. He's now completed levels 1 through 4 and I couldn't be happier with the results!

With reading all done for the year, we've moved on to finish up All About Spelling 4. We picked back up with Lesson 6 a few short weeks ago, and we finished Lesson 14 this week. Spelling comes easy and natural to him now, so lessons are quick. We'll wrap this up by the end of June.

We are back to working on Write Shop Junior D and this week Malachi wrote a Science Fiction story. Sci Fi is not his favorite genre so he is excited to move on to learn how to write a Mystery! And I'm on the look out for a cute detective hat!

Despite how much I like Write Shop Junior, I'm feeling the need to provide both Malachi and Eliana more grade level English (in addition to our normal reading, spelling, and dictation). It might be because English is scheduled in Bigger Hearts, but it might also be the sudden realization that Malachi is going to be a 5th grader - that's only one year away from Middle School. So, I ordered BJU English 4 Writing and Grammar to work on over the summer to make sure we covered 4th grade well enough.

Excited to do Botany! I have their notebooks printed, they've designed their cover pages, and I just need to have the books spiral bound. Since we will be following the 10 week schedule, I did not want to be pressured to do every notebooking activity or mini book, so I opted not to buy the Journals. I used the original notebooking pages with my older boys in 2007, and we enjoy looking back at them. I even notebooked alongside my older boys so it is fun to show the kids the pages I did. :)

  • Science: Exploring Creation With Botany (to tie into One Small Square Woods from Bigger Hearts for His Glory)

Still deciding if we will do: (decided we will break from History for the summer)
*I bought this book new from the Scholatic Teacher's Store for $4.86. Don't buy this one on Amazon. 

Links to Amazon are affiliate links that I think are worth it.

We are currently doing read-alouds on early colonial life before moving on to Benjamin Franklin, but with all the learning I have planned for Bo, I might take a break from History this summer and focus on Science.

I've also ordered BJU English 2 for Eliana and she is 6 reading and 3 spelling lessons away from finishing All About Reading and Spelling 2.

She finished her Math Lessons 2 a couple months ago and has moved on to Math Lessons 3. She is on Lesson 12 (Week 12) and we will continue math this summer but at a much more relaxed pace.


Bo and I are still working through Before Five in a Row. Here are the books and units I currently have planned for this summer: (all done!)

I was still deciding if we will row Ask Mr. Bear, Prayer for a Child, and If Jesus Came to My House, but after typing all this out, I think these can wait until fall. :)

The ABC Bunny will be a celebration of finishing uppercase letters in All About Reading Pre-reading. I could tell Bo was ready for a break from ABCs, so I thought that would be a great place to stop and suggested an ABC party to celebrate! I have some plans up my sleeve that I hope will start us off to a great summer of delightful learning.

Don't worry, plenty of water play, playing in the dirt, walks to the park, popsicles, lemonade, summer camp, camping, smores, and more await us this summer.

Bo will play Itty Bitty Soccer, Elli will do Theatre camp, soccer camp, and basketball camp, and Malachi will do Challenger Soccer camp, and Y Soccer camp. I'm hoping to have them do swimming lessons, too (as we do yearly). Bo will continue Speech Therapy once a week. My teen boys will work, play on a summer soccer league, and hang out with their friends. Jordan is working full time for 4 college credits, leading the mowing crew at the Y, and then staffing at our church youth camp this summer.

Luke and I will be getting away with the three younger kids for a week long vacation at a condo in a small resort town to celebrate our 12th anniversary, and we are planning to take the whole family to Yellowstone Park (since its in our backyard and we've yet to take them!).

As for me, I'm hoping to sew my first Five in a Row quilt, buy a pair of shoes I can walk in, buy a Fit-Bit and get in 10,000 steps a day, do a Proverbs Bible Study, and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I'm feeling energetic! :) Let's hope!

With all the rain we've have lately, I'm excited for sunshine, warmer weather and SUMMER. How about you?


  1. The Life Changing Magic of tidying up is on my reading list this summer too. We are taking a complete break for five weeks this summer. We don't usually do that, but we needed it this year. It is rough trying to be done with everything before the finish line (next Friday). Your plans look great.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Where did you get the printable note booking pages for botany? My children want to do botany this year too but buying all the notebooks etc.. really adds up. Sounds like you will have a great summer. Our plans sound like yours. We will be continuing with Math, English and a DIY summer reading program along with a study of Africa. I'm excited to be on a more laid back schedule for the summer. :)
    For AAR I'm wondering how much time it takes each day? My 5yo is almost finish CLE's Learn to Read and we have Abeka K5 waiting for us but I have really been considering going with AAR for Reading instead.

    1. The notebooking pages are available on the Book Extras page on the Apologia site: http://www.apologia.com/index.asp?proc=st&pg=bookextras or
      on the Apologia Elementary yahoo group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Elem_Apologia_Science/info

      If your 5yo is already reading, it will be much easier to get through the lessons. I flew through them with Malachi, but I didn't start him until 1st grade. I started Eliana in K and it took us twice as long. The hardest part is trudging through the fluency sheets. It was painful at first (and required lots of patience on my part), but the fruit of our hard work is showing and our lessons are going much quicker now that we are done with Level 2. Malachi flew through the whole program though!

      I hope you have a great summer (and a great "trip" to Africa!). <3

    2. Thank you for all this info! :)
      Yes my 5yo is already reading somewhat she can do 3 letter words and silent e words so far, maybe more once we complete CLE. I have been drawn to AAR while reading your blog, it seems a little more gentle than what we had originally planned and I have been trying to make things more and more gentle as we go where possible. I was thinking AAR, CLE Math and listening in on her older sisters Core B as well as HOD Bigger. We'll see how it goes.
      We plan on having a wonderful time in Africa ;)
      Enjoy your summer! x

  3. I just started planning our summer :) I love homeschooling year round but am ready to switch things up when summer arrives. It works perfectly! I just got a Fit Bit for Mothers Day and I am addicted! Besides getting to 10K my house has never been this clean- extra motivation to put everything away and vacuum the house frequently to get my steps in. I bought the basic model and I would upgrade to the "watch" version knowing now how much I love it. Would be nice to have a visual display on the band not just on my phone. Enjoy your summer!

    1. Saree, I'm so glad to hear you love the Fit Bit! I'm excited to get one! I for sure can't afford the watch, but it looks awesome! Maybe if I fall in love! ♥

      And thank you! I hope you have a wonderful summer, too!

  4. I want your energy! I was hoping to be more motivated to even plan for our upcoming year, but my spirit needs refreshing and my body needs rest!! I love schooling year round but being in the center of school-aged children right now with constant knocks at the door, I've decided a good break is needed. Daughter H is already asking for more school and it was only a day after school ended. I'm not ready!!

    I'm still in decision mode on a few things and hope to have final decisions made soon. I always rest easier after I finish that part of the planning process.

    1. Take your time and enjoy your break! I'm sure once you settle into a summer routine, you will be thankful for the rest. ♥ And thankful for the time to plan! Hope that is going well. :)

  5. Oh, God! You have no idea how you inspire me!! No idea!! I love you and think you're awesome!! Keep all the posts coming! Can't imagine trying to school without you!