We didn’t always homeschool year-round.
In the past, especially in the beginning, we homeschooled hard, as if our educational lives depended on it.
We tried keeping up with our traditionally schooled friends, followed state standards, bought way too many workbooks and curricula, and really struggled through it all.
Burnout was real, but taking a break wasn’t on my radar. I was committed to following through and finishing our homeschool year with gusto, but instead, we petered out in the end.
And that first summer break was NEEDED!
It allowed me to reflect on what worked (𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩-𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙞𝙥𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙧𝙮), what didn’t (𝙩𝙤𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙨, 𝙖 𝙫𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙩𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙪𝙣𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙪𝙡𝙪𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙝𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙨𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙡 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙟𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙, 𝙩𝙤𝙤 𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙘𝙠 𝙤𝙛 𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙛𝙚𝙬 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙨), and what changes I needed to make.
Our homeschool needed to be our own, based on my teaching style, my kids’ learning styles, and what we wanted to explore.
We slowed down, waaaaaaay down.
Our school week switched to 4 days, Monday-Thursday.
Fridays became our adventure day or our chill day depending on our mental state.
I found curricula that met our needs, and if I didn’t, we just utilized the library, videos online, and our notebooks to deep dive into topics.
And we took LOTS of breaks. Even if we weren’t done with a unit. We took breaks when we needed them, not because of a preplanned schedule.
And homeschooling year-round just felt like the natural thing to do. We chose an alternative educational method, so why keep to a traditional school schedule?
Do you homeschool year-round, too?
What we’ve been studying
We just finished our first unit from Carrier Shell Curriculum’s California Out of the Box. We move pretty slowly through topics now and it feels good to do so. Just because a curriculum is designed to be completed over a school year doesn’t mean you have to, instead do what’s best for you and your kids.
I plan on breaking out our science kits we’ve been hoarding. I love science, and we study plants and animals often, but for some reason we don’t do many activities that include experiments. That’s why I purchased a MEL Science subscription, but we’ve only opened a few boxes this year, so the plan is to open and complete the rest this summer.
Literature, history, and art wrapped into one neat bundle. I like interdisciplinary curriculum, it just seems more fluid and natural to me. Everything in life is connected and schooling should be the same, where kids can easily see the links and make the connections. Art History Kids has a studio membership that I totally recommend. Each month we learn about an artist through literature, examine their artwork using critical thinking skills, and then create our own art based on what we’ve learned. If you’re looking for step-by-step “how-to” tutorials, then this program isn’t for you, but if you’re game for open-ended art, literature, and history then this program has your name on it.
We’ve been enjoying our monthly snacks from Universal Yum. Have you tried them yet? We get a box of snacks from a different country each month. Included is a booklet with facts about the country and the snacks you are eating. It’s really a fun way to incorporate world geography into your homeschool. This month was all about Turkey and because Muslims don’t eat pork, all their gummy candies are made with beef gelatin only. This is great because my daughter has a lot of food allergies (including pork!) and normally she can only eat vegan gummies.
I like to couple our snack box with past issues of Letters From Afar. These snail mail letters are so beautiful and filled with fun facts about the country the author is visiting. We like to keep the letters in a binder so we can refer back to them easily. They used to send 3-4 vintage stamps with each letter, but because of sourcing issues they now send field notes and a map with each letter.
Since we’re on the topic of social studies, we’ve recently subscribed to Honest History. It’s a quarterly journal that explores the past and deep dives into historical topics with each issue. The magazines are geared towards 6-12 year olds and are absolutely exquisite (get 10% off with “homeschoolfront”.) I just love them so much and plan on ordering their capsule collection.
Do you have a favorite subscription? I’d love to know! I feel like they add a bit of spice to homeschool life.
What we’ve been reading
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
- Stories from Where We Live: The California Coast
- Night of the Living Eggnog
- Hair Ball from Outer Space
- Bigfoot Backpacking Bonanza
- Super Soccer Freak Show
- Undead Ed
- Judy Moody and Friends: Triple Pet Trouble
- Sea Otters
- Bravo, Kazam!
- Jack Gets Zapped!
- Monster Ships
An email you actually look forward to. If you homeschool I’m sure you know who Julie Bogart is and her Brave Writer program which is based on the Charlotte Mason method. We love her very relaxed, child-led, and home-focused #bravewriterlifestyle. It’s a major influence on how we homeschool, and I look forward to opening my email on Saturday mornings to find her weekly musings, Tea with Julie. She’s always so spot on, but I guess that’s what years of homeschooling will do to you.
New on YouTube. We went strawberry picking with homeschool friends last week. It was windy as heck and my allergies were on peak alert, but I was able to film some footage of our adventure. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Did you miss the latest homeschool interview? I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Echeverri from Carrier Shell Curriculum. Yep! The author of the California Out of the Box curriculum we’re currently using. I love getting to know folks from our homeschool community, especially those that are entrepreneurs as well. I’m always hoping to glean some insight from these successful women.
On my nightstand
- How to Do the Work
- The Coddling of the American Mind
- Persepolis Rising
- The First Signs
- The Republic of Pirates
- The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon
- Written in Stone
- Dead Wake
What books are you and the kids reading this month?
Take care, X
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.