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Summer Vacation and School Breaks?

Last post 02-21-2008 4:38 PM by BrunswickAcademy. 6 replies.
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  • 02-21-2008 6:10 AM

    Summer Vacation and School Breaks?

      How do you handle this? Also, if your child finishes a grade level in a subject, do you start in right away with the next level or do you give them a break in between? If you give them a break or review period, how long is it typically?

      I am asking this because Jared (K4) is about to finish Kindergarten math. He has good mastery of it and if we start 1st grade math now and he continues at the same pace he's been going, he will be ready to start 2nd grade math this fall. I don't want to push him because I want to make sure he's retaining everything and really has mastered the material (also, he will not even be 5 until June). He wants to keep going and not take a break between courses, but I am concerned that if he rushes through all of it, he won't retain as much. What I'm thinking of doing is finishing K and reviewing/playing math games for a few weeks before starting the 1st grade stuff.  Any opinions?

      Also, how does your school year work?  We have been doing 8 week sessions, and taking a few days off here and there.  We will be taking off 3 weeks in August for vacation.  I'm worried that if they never have breaks, they (and I) will burn out quickly.  I would rather not give them the entire summer off, but I want them to have time to just be kids.  What I was thinking about doing is either sticking to the 8 week sessions and giving 1 week off at the end of each session, or switching to 12 week sessions and giving 2 weeks off after each session.  Please give me your thoughts on all of this. 

     *Sorry if this isn't the correct forum for this question, but I didn't see any for general HS discussion.*

  • 02-21-2008 7:32 AM In reply to

    • vvagt
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-20-2007
    • Illinois
    • Posts 20

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?

     Hi there,

    Welcome!  I'm a homeschool mom and an editor at this site.  Below is a summer Quick Tip from our Break Time newsletter, from last summer!   

    How “Schooly” is Your Summer? 
    We all do “summer” differently.  But when it’s time for shorts and picnics, most of us want to slow the pace of school, yet not let math skills unravel, or readers lose their hard-won skills.  Need summer ideas? 
    - Practice fractions and measurement skills when children learn to bake blueberry pie, or make Dutch-oven stew for a camping trip. 
    - Play the game “How tall is our family?” (in total inches) or “How old is our family?” (in total days.) 
    - Play charades using characters from summer reading; play 20 Questions after car trips to historic sites.
    - During a backyard or beach camping trip, add games about insects, shells, leaves, rocks, including who found the biggest? Who identified the most?  
         Learning really is fun--even in summer!  

    In our family, summer was  fun and relaxed, with a little bit of school: math at half-speed, some reading and a little writing--as in thank you notes, post cards-just to keep skills going, but in a light-hearted way.  Some kids, who love reading, will do tons of that anyway.  Math "half-speed" in early grades meant exactly what you said, games!  Later on, we were using Saxon it was do-able to just cut it in half for summer--do one lesson every other day, doing half the problems.  The benefit here was not losing skills--and it didn't feel like lots of work--it was more like one of their chores.    For math especially, when it was time for the next grade or a new book, (no matter when that begins) since the first few chapters are review, have the child try the problems in those early chapters--if they get them all correct, keep moving until the child reaches a chapter with new material. That means that in math books, often, the early chapters can be skipped.  When kids see that happening--that they are getting to skip chapters because they keep going in math all summer, they think that's pretty cool!!   Wish you the best!!   


  • 02-21-2008 7:55 AM In reply to

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?


    I'm one of the HSI staff members as well and I'd like to echo what V's written.  Summer, whether or not you're homeschooling is a time for taking a break and doing less school.  Use the time outdoors to explore your world or your nearby area.  Slow the pace a bit - I have a friend who got summer workbooks for her children and they did a page or two each morning (keeping their morning routine a little structured) working in them.  That kept them thinking, but not so focused they couldn't have swimming lessons, summer day camp, etc.  We have summer bridge materials in our store - they might not all be in stock for every grade, but we do carry them.

    Enjoy your summer!

     Marjorie at HSI

  • 02-21-2008 8:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?


  • 02-21-2008 8:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?

     Thank you!

  • 02-21-2008 3:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?


    I don't think you need to worry too much about your son not retaining stuff if he works through it quickly.  Children absorb what they are interested in quite easily, and it sounds as if maths certainly does interest him!  And, in my humble opinion, if he does "skim" stuff now and forget it later on, there's no reason he can't go back and just go over the basics to root them more firmly in his mind.  Also, if he has a highly intellectual ability in maths, don't be surprised if he later has trouble with the basics.  My older brother is a maths whizz - top of his Advanced Maths class all through school - but he is HOPELESS when it comes to his multiplication tables (or he was when he was 15, he may be better at them now!).  He was forever asking me 7x6 or 9x8...I am good at maths, but I never liked it that much and it was the basics that stuck for me.  Interestingly, my father recently told me that when I was in primary school (up to grade 6) my maths was better than my brothers, and he says I could have done even better than Craig in Advanced Maths, but I lost interest (he blames the friend I made in 8th grade for that!).  The thing is, I grew up with the idea that NO-ONE could do ANYTHING better than might have been nice to hear that I was jast as good if not better back then!!

     (sorry, I got a little off track there!) 

     My daughter finished half her Science booklet in half an hour yesterday, it was supposed to last her 6 weeks!  We are going to just work through the curriculum I have set at whatever pace Liana sets, and if we run out of work before the end of next year, she's going to branch out and learn more about other things that interest her.

    Our school year is set up fairly similar to the Tasmanian State School system - we have 3 terms, although ours are equal, 13 weeks each, instead of varied like public school, and our holidays reflect the school system - 8 weeks for summer, 1 week at Easter and 2 weeks between terms.  This is because I wanted to keep a "school-like" structure. Of course, there will still be learning throughout these periods, but it won't be "school".

    Haha, I've kind of rambled on a bit, but I hope there was SOMETHING useful in amongst all that!


    - Erica xo 

  • 02-21-2008 4:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Summer Vacation and School Breaks?

     It's great to hear what other people do, thanks for the response.  Sorry you were never told just how good you were at math!  Thanks also for the school year schedule.  That helps.

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