Preparing to Funschool this Summer

When we first started homeschooling, I saw summer as a way of preparing for the next year–a few months to dedicate to intense schooling and perhaps, complete half of the next grade-level.

Looking back, I clearly see that this was a totally unrealistic goal, not to mention an unpleasant way to spend the summer. Given the choice, almost no child would chose schoolwork over fun in the summer months. That’s not to say they are opposed to learning. I firmly believe that most children are wired to learn, but on their own terms.

There is no better time to let them explore their own interests — without the constraints of “school” — than during a long summer vacation. For us, that means taking full advantage of the outdoors and local activities.

Although we are relaxed homeschoolers, we are part of a charter school, and therefore must abide by their rules — we have to participate in standardize tests and turn in a certain amount of busywork every month. Summer is a welcomed break from all that and through our years, I’ve learned to embrace the freedom, rather than abuse it to “get ahead.”

It is a time for less focus on academics and schedules, and more focus on individual pursuits.

Last summer, we had the opportunity to go hiking with our friends every week. It was a fantastic way to explore many of the local trails and spend time outdoors. This year, we hope to do more of the same, as well as setting aside ample time for doing “nothing” — reading, playing, and having fun.

And while we may sneak in a few math problems here and there to keep their skills fresh, it won’t be overwhelming. After all, we unschool during the rest of the year — summer is a time for funschooling.


  1. Attend summer street fairs and festivals.
  2. Spend a day at the beach.
  3. Explore a local park.
  4. Enter in the county fair.
  5. Pick some fruit at a U-Pick farm.
  6. Picnic during an outdoor concert.
  7. Give your garden some loving.
  8. Hit all the local museums.
  9. Go on a camping or a weekend road trip.
  10. Take a hike.

How do you plan to funschool this summer?

About Amida

Amida is the mom to three darn kids. She used to stress about state standards and test scores but has since come to her senses and enjoys blogging about her family's journey into unschooling.


  1. I think we will always do a little math and of course fun reading…but aside from that our lives will be immersed in nature! Days at the many as possible…days in the local mountain streams, bringing along a blanket,umbrella and bunches of snacks,,,and endless days climbing trees,riding bikes,visiting every park possible……hey, that sounds a lot like our EVERYDAY DAYS RIGHT NOW!!!! Homeschooling is the BEST! YIPPEE….

  2. We take the summer off too!!! When I was new to homeschooling I would try and work through and finish anything unfinished… I have learned at the end of our 36 weeks we are done… finished. We work nine weeks on and one week for recovery until we are done. While we are loving school during school time by the end of our year we have had enough. We take the rest of the year off and just play. I think that during school time my kids are learning the discipline of sitting at a task, finish assigned work and doing stuff they may not love. During the summer they follow their passions and LEARN!!! Really learn. Build stuff, research stuff, explore stuff… Love it!!! The long break really helps them get into projects that a two or three week break between terms would never fit in… I am all for weeks of fresh air and fun, their is nothing like a whole heap of idle time to get our minds into gear for some action!!!
    Hope you have a great summer… I just love your seaweed sculpture!!!
    .-= se7en’s last blog: This Week (4 May 2010) at Se7en… =-.

  3. Tricia Ballad says:

    We school year-round (a few weeks on, a week or two off), because my kids self-destruct without that structure, but summer is definitely time for the fun stuff. We tend to focus on science and history and art – stuff that involves lots of field trips and projects that we never end up having time for during the regular school year.

    They each get to choose a topic they want to learn about over the summer. I provide the resources and get out of the way and let them explore.

    • Tricia, for those who school year-round, summer is also a great time to get experimental, try out different homeschooling approaches, and focus on some “fun” subjects that get pushed aside during the year. It is great when kids get to pick a topic they are passionate about and approach it in a way that makes sense to them. Good for you for giving yours that opportunity!
      .-= Amida’s last blog: Preparing to Funschool This Summer {Simple Homeschool} =-.

  4. I like the term “funschooling!” That’s what we do in the summer too. I find that *I* need a break from regular lessons as much as the kids do. This summer we plan on doing lots of gardening, going to the beach about a dozen times, having some picnics, going for bike rides, and generally spending a lot of time outside!
    .-= Laura @ Getting There’s last blog: More sprouting adventures. =-.

  5. What a timely post! We “only” do preschool at our house but I was wondering how to approach summer breaks in the future. ( I am using our preschooling time to learn.learn.learn about homeschooling for the future!) We live just a couple miles from the beach so we aim to spend lots of time learning about sand and surf this summer…

  6. The pressure is off during the summer because the public school kids are out. We can follow our passions without any worries about keeping up. It’s a great time for the outdoors and for relaxing with a book under a shade tree. Yay for warmth!

  7. We plan to do a bit of multiplication practice each day, as they are still not fully learned yet –
    We have a great place on the lake this summer so I think we will be having tons of company and lots of boat time, We’ve been waiting for it all winter!
    Camping, Museums, Tours, Fun!

  8. Angie, sounds like a plan! Have a great summer (math and all)!
    .-= Amida’s last blog: Preparing to Funschool This Summer {Simple Homeschool} =-.

  9. I think that to get the mortgage loans from banks you must present a firm reason. However, once I have got a college loan, just because I wanted to buy a bike.

  10. We like to take walks all over our hometown, try out all the walking tracks, walk across bridges and look down, see things from a different perspective, other than the car.
    Fatcat’s latest post: We interupt….

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