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About The Author

Hello! I’m Jeniffer from Thou Shall Not Whine. I’m a homeschooling mom of six whose ages range from 19 months to 19 years. We are a literature-rich, Sonlight family. In the winter months, you’ll find the little ones and I cuddled on the couch with hot cocoa and a good book, and in the summer we’ve got dirt under our nails while we read at the picnic table. At Thou Shall Not Whine I encourage moms as we journey through this life trying to raise our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord while trying to keep the house somewhat clean and food on the table without breaking the bank.

Find her at: Thou Shall Not Whine

To homeschool through the summer is not as bad as it sounds. We believe homeschooling is a lifestyle, not something that happens at set times during the day. Learning is one of the most natural things in life, and therefore, the very idea that we should take a break from it during the most prolific months outdoors is absurd.

We learn while we watch and listen to the birds (ornithology.) We learn when we observe the ants carry off our crumbs and head back to their colony (character study.) We learn as we “check the garden” each night to see what has bloomed or grown during the day (botany.) You see? Teachable moments are all around us, especially in the summer.

How We Homeschool Through the Summer

Let me start by saying that we school year round, however, our official start and end of the school years is in September. We officially wrap up one year the first week of September, take two weeks off (we don’t do math during those two weeks – which is how the kids know it’s really a break. Ha!), and begin our next school year the last week of September.

The summer months do carry a lighter load than the rest of the year, primarily because we are spending so much time outside. We still have our morning routine and breakfast read-alouds. Math is kept up but in a lighter fashion. Instead of striving to get through a certain number of pages, we call it quits after one.

We will generally take some time in the afternoons (often times outside at our picnic table) to read some of our current read aloud. We are a Sonlight family, so our learning is done primarily through literature and everyday life.

What We Use During the Summer Months

While we keep our math, Bible, and family read-alouds during the summer, we trade in grammar, spelling, regular science, and writing for more nature-oriented materials.

Our Favorite Nature Books

While we do pull out our favs from time to time during the main school year, these bad boys have a permanent spot by the front door during the summer. These are handy reference materials that usually can answer any question my kids cook up. Most of these (other than the Apologia Botany) are probably available at your local library. I preferred to buy them simple so I would always have them on hand.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Our Garden

Do you garden? We ended up with three different beds this year. Our land has lots of trees, so I have to position my gardens strategically.

This year we have (way too many) tomatoes, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, sweet peppers,
jalapenos, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, and various herbs.

The kids have contributed every step of the way. They helped plant, water, weed, even choose
where to plant what. By allowing them to help, they’ve developed a sense of responsibility and
pride about the garden.

They don’t mind weeding and helping mommy maintain the garden, because they helped create it. They can’t wait to be able to go out and fetch the veg.

By getting them used to gardening in the summer while they’re young, they’re developing a lifelong love for it. They’ll more than likely have their own gardens when they grow up, and hopefully, have fond memories of helping mom when they were little.

Dollar Store Fun

The dollar store has some fun summertime nature supplies. They have magnifying glasses, butterfly nets, kid-size plastic tweezers and observation pods, and many other fun nature-inspired items.

Granted, they don’t always last that long, but they usually last through the summer. Be sure to check your local Dollar Tree for all the summertime goodies!

As you can see, homeschooling through the summer doesn’t have to resemble the dreaded summer school we heard about back when we were in public school. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What do you do during the summer to keep the education going?


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Foraging with Kids in the Summer