Do you homeschool year round or do you take the summer off?
Taking the summer off sounds great! Yet, research shows that children with 2-3 months off during the summer may lose academic skills from disuse. Now, which do you choose?
What if I told you there was another way? You can take a break and enjoy the warm weather. You can also homeschool year round, but avoid potential burn out. You can have your sun and learn too!
Welcome to Sonlight Summer School!
No, that doesn’t officially exist, but it’s how our family combats summer learning loss. It’s also how we homeschool year round without burning out. We have a great time doing it and invite you to join us!
7 Great Ways to Spend Your Summer with Sonlight
Start the summer off right with Sonlight Summer Readers. Sonlight offers summer reader sets every year for boys and girls at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. I wish they offered Mom readers too! I like them that much.
My family has had wild success with these summer readers. The kids are excited to get them and enjoy reading aloud and connecting through the stories. Several of them have encouraged the kids to start their own projects based on the books.
For example, after reading the books from the “Hilde Cracks the Case” series (still available through Sonlight) my son dove deep into investigative journalism. The series is a fantastic collection featuring a young girl named Hilde who writes real interviews and news reports about happenings in her small town.
My son ventured about asking questions like a journalist just as Hilde did in the story. He completed an entire flip book based around a disappearing toad in the backyard.
- Who was in the backyard at the time the toad disappeared?
- What was going on in the backyard when we noticed the toad gone?
- When did the toad disappear?
- Where did he go?
- Why did he go missing?
- How did the toad leave the backyard?
The resulting story was hilarious! We have bound the book and you can bet I’m saving it to read to his future wife. I love watching my kids learn and I love the creativity Sonlight Readers spur in them.
Thanks to Hilde my son practiced reading, writing, and nature study with enthusiasm all summer. Reading and playing outside are such great ways to enjoy Sonlight Stories. Here are just a few other Sonlight Summer Readers that brought us great joy last summer!
5 Favorite Summer Reads From Last Summer
- Bear on the Loose
- The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (a whole family favorite!)
- The Video Game Bandit
- The Infamous Ratsos
- The Miniature World of Marvin & James
Grab Your Summer Readers
In an effort to avoid having you watch my Instagram Feed with envy as we devour the Sonlight Readers again this summer, I highly encourage you to grab your summer readers today!
Friends, Sonlight has done something amazing! They have added another Hands On History Project Kit. While we enjoyed the heck out of our World Cultures History Project Kit (scheduled to coincide with Core A) from last year, we can’t wait to try out World History Project Kit (scheduled with Core B)!
Sonlight had a contest when looking for ideas to include in their World History Project Kit and my daughter’s idea won! Her enthusiasm now knows no bounds when it comes to trying out the new projects!
My kids learn so much from hands on experiences and these kits are so convenient and fun! They are perfect for summer learning. Each hands on activity reinforces stories and ideas we’ve covered during the year!
3. Sonlight Science Experiments
Sonlight does an amazing job of including lots of fun science experiments and activities throughout the year. We always have a handful (OK maybe two handfuls) of activities left over that we really want to complete.
Summer is the perfect time to get this done. I often set the supplies for the experiment on a table in the kitchen in the morning. If it rains we might venture in right after breakfast. Otherwise we typically tackle it when it gets hot outside.
There are also several experiments that are just more fun to do during the summer, because we want to do them outside when the weather is nice. Windsocks, parachutes, boat races, and a weather vane all come to mind! Since we have more time and longer day light hours during the summer, experiments often get repeated a few times or expanded to include more variables. Play and plenty of time makes for great science learning!
4. Update Sonlight Timeline
Our poor timeline book gets neglected. I love the timeline book and given my own inadequacies at remembering when events occurred, I love that I’m able to help my kids with this. I never remember to grab the book though and I had to interrupt reading time to go grab it. So over the summer we pull out the sheet of historical figures we’ve read about during the year and put them on our timeline.
This is an awesome review. The kids always pick out a few of their favorite characters and off we go to the library to find out even more about those historical figures. The timeline has been such a great source of motivation to review history during the summer and a huge opportunity for my kids to grab onto time periods and people that rev their interest engines.
This summer my daughter and I are cracking open ARTistic Pursuits. She is really ready to start delving into different artistic techniques. She wants to learn more than I know and I’m delighted that she’ll have the opportunity.
As an added bonus for both of us, ARTistic Pursuits is devoid of any screen based activity. She’s not mimicking another artist or following step by step directions. She’s creating her own masterpieces as she learns to integrate the elements of art. So excited! The program details for ARTistic Pursuits and other fabulous extension programs can be found within Sonlight Electives and Enrichment.
For those of you looking to inject a bit more math into your summer schedule I have two Sonlight inspired suggestions!
- Right Start Math has card and printable games built right into the program and we play them all summer long!
- Math Adventure Books (full disclosure: we haven’t tried these yet, but hear great things from our Sonlight friends!!!)
6. Sonlight Inspired Field Trips
One of my favorite Sonlight memories is going to visit a local zoo. Asleep in the corner was a capybara. My kids were delighted. Most of the kids in the group passed it by because it was a sleeping furry thing in the corner. My kids waited with bated breath for the critter’s nap to end. They were ecstatic to watch it move. Their excitement was all because of a book. A book that helped my kids enjoy one of God’s amazing creatures a little more. Thank you Sonlight and Bill Peet for gifting us with Capyboppy.
Summer is the perfect time for experiences like this one. Field trips and adventures bring the books and lessons in Sonlight more alive for our kids! Here are just a few of our summer Sonlight inspired field trips:
- Dolphin Adventure took us to the aquarium to learn more about ship wrecks.
- The Light at Tern Rock inspired a trip to a lighthouse.
- In Grandma’s Attic had us checking out antique stores and historic buildings.
- The Family Under the Bridge prompted us to go on a virtual field trip to Paris through documentaries and photographs from friends.
- Archaeologists Dig For Clues shepherded us to a local fossil dig site.
- Charlotte’s Web took us to the fair and has resulted in the admiration, photographing, and drawing of an exorbitant number of spider webs.
7. Follow Rabbit Holes
If there is one thing Sonlight materials do well, it’s inspire my kids to wonder and question and explore. Those questions are unstoppable and wonderful! So, we have a window where I write questions that come up during the day using window markers. I used to try to answer all the questions when the kids asked, but since I often couldn’t answer the questions fully I ended up glued to my phone searching for quick answers. The question window lets me save those questions for later.
Each week we go through and weed out ones that are relatively simple to research and answer. Then during the summer, the kids and I dig out the really juicy ones that are of most interest to us. We find books, documentaries, web sites, etc. all about those topics. These sometimes lead to independent projects or experiments or even art contests!
Go on all those rabbit trails! Here are just a few of my favorites!
- paint rocks and learn to do it really well with real paints
- grow strawberries
- learn to whittle
- celebrate the Ornamental Fish Festival (Brazil)
- find out all there is to know about the “Titanic”
Enjoy Sonlight Summer School
I asked my daughter, “What’s your favorite way to learn during the summer?”
She answered, “upside down!”
Sure, summer may turn your schedule upside down, but sometimes a new view or a new direction can revitalize your homeschool!
What are you waiting for?!? Grab those summer readers and come on! I’ll see you on the playground!
Praying for peace and joy in your homeschool this summer!