Coffee and Curriculum: Creating Your Own Summer Curriculum/
Coffee and Curriculum: Creating Your Own Summer Curriculum
Summer is FINALLY here, and it’s a great time to ramp up all the fun activities you enjoyed doing during the school year. When you were on a time crunch during the school year, you had to stop whether your students wanted to keep learning or not. Now that it’s summer, you have plenty of time to immerse yourselves in whatever interests your family.
Why Is Summer Learning Important?
Summer is traditionally known as a time to take a break. Unfortunately, if given permission, teens will take a complete break from any and all sorts of learning during the summer months. As a result, students lose two to three months’ worth of learning. Many students lose two months’ worth of math skills over summer break, and possibly lose another two to three months’ worth of reading skills during summer vacation. Let’s face it: the summer slide is real!
With these things in mind, what can you do to prevent your students from falling down the summer slide? The best thing you can do for your students is to make sure they keep their math and reading skills sharp all year long and especially over the summer. But how?
Creating Your Own Summer Curriculum
When developing your curriculum for the summer, the first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is what subjects you want to cover and what you hope to accomplish. For many families, this will only be math and reading/language arts. Others may want to cover a whole spectrum of learning that includes history and science topics. For this post, we’re focusing on the two most important subjects: math and language arts.
Once you’ve decided what you want to cover, decide how to cover those areas. Do your students work best independently or with oversight? Is math something your students can understand with just a little explanation, or do they need you to explain most of the concepts to them? These are the types of questions to answer in determining how you’ll teach this summer. After you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be ready to hone in on each subject and pull your curriculum together.
Math: If your summer homeschooling is just an extension of what you do during the school year, you may have your work cut out for you already; just continue doing what you’ve been doing. If you’re in the process of finding a new program or finding a program that will enable you to continue over the summer in a smooth fashion, consider using an online program that self-grades. In addition, consider purchasing math games that let your students practice the skills they’ve learned but in a non-traditional way.
Language Arts: Probably the easiest way to ensure your students keep up their reading skills is to have them read, read, read all summer long. Instead of just telling your students “OK, read books all summer!” you can make it more interesting by having them participate in a reading challenge. HomeschoolLiterature.com has reading challenges for kids and reading challenges for teens. Both reading challenges involve having your students read (either alone or in competition with friends) and watch a movie afterward! Movie-watching is a great way to ensure comprehension.
Recommended Resources for Summer Learning
Now that you have an action plan and some idea of where you’re headed for summer homeschooling, it’s time to pull together some resources! Here are some resources for learning during the summer months:
Time4Learning – Time4Learning is a complete curriculum for language arts and math (which are the two areas you’re really going to focus on this summer). The program provides instruction for students in grades PreK to 12th. Since everything is online, it grades all student work for you, freeing you up to do other things or work with younger students! This makes it perfect for summertime homeschooling!
Think you have to be rich to take courses through an Ivy League school? Think again! Schools such as MIT, Yale, Harvard, and UC Berkeley (and plenty of others) offer FREE online courses through what they call OpenCourseware. Your students can sign up to take a course on just about anything that interests them. But these programs aren’t just for students – plenty of parents are benefitting from them as well.
TED Talks – Similar to OpenCourseWare, there are TED Talks on nearly every topic out there. While these won’t cover material in a sequential order the same way a curriculum will, they’re a great supplement to whatever your student is already learning.
Summer is a fantastic time to slow your pace and relax. It’s also a good time to brush up on skills and subject areas that may have given your students a rough time during the school year. Even if your students did just fine all year, one slide you don’t want to see them travel down is the summer slide. You can avoid the summer slide by keeping your students on their toes academically!
Tasha has been writing for over a decade now and enjoys blogging about various topics, from kids crafts to homeschooling in general. She’s been homeschooling for over 14 years and has used every style of homeschooling out there, from unschooling to traditional textbooks and everything in between. She serves as a mentor to other homeschooling moms and works hard to juggle working from home, homeschooling, and part-time work outside the home. She’s a mom to 5 and feels like she’s got this multitasking thing down pat.