Our homeschool summer session: a bridge to next year

Written by Kara Fleck

We are year-round homeschoolers, but when it’s summertime I like to move at a slower pace, keeping things light compared to the rest of the year.

In May and August we take the entire month off and I honestly don’t care if they never crack open a book.

Well, okay, I do care, but I’m not going to push it. This is their time off as much as mine and they can fill those days, or not, as they wish.

However, June and July are our summer session and we’ll fall back into our homeschool rhythm, although admittedly at a slower, more “the living is easy” kind of pace.

What does this look like? And what are our summer learning plans for this year?

In general it looks like late nights and late mornings as we turn off the alarm clock and don’t worry so much about a bedtime delayed by fireflies or spur of the moment bonfires with friends.

It looks like time outdoors and long walks and swimming balanced with field trips, library books, and some academic goals, including finishing up any studies from the previous school year.


A few years back I heard the term “bridge” applied as a way to transition from one grade to another. Keeping in mind that “grades” is a concept we float pretty loosely around here, I like to use this time to bridge from one grade to the next.

We finish up lessons from the previous year, firm up skills we are working on, and start to lay the groundwork for the year ahead.

Crossing the Bridge From:

8th grade to 9th grade (my 14-year-old)

  • American History – we’ve been taking our time this 8th grade year, heading down quite a few rabbit trails, as we are working our way through the book series A History of US. This will continue into the early part of her ninth grade. This will be the bulk of her summer session work.
  • Math – daily practice
  • Writing – I’m encouraging her to keep a journal this summer and she’s got a grammar workbook I want her to finish up.
  • Culinary study – she’s very interesting in cooking and loves to do it. I consider my job here to follow her lead and just keep resources and opportunities available to her.

3rd grade to 4th grade (my 9-year-old, who turns 10 in June)

  • World History – he’s got about a dozen chapters left in the book we’re using, so my goal is for us to finish the book. I’m also eager for a certain book coming out next month about giving your child the world through reading.
  • Math – daily math practice (he uses Teaching Textbooks)
  • Science and Nature Study – I’ve got some fun weather related projects using the book Whatever the Weather planned.
  • Writing – the Time Capsule journal from Gadanke
  • Harry Potter – right now this boy is into all things wizard all the time (whoever would have thought something would break up the Minecraft streak?) I received a Harry Potter themed Wizard School zine as a bonus a while back and I think we’re going to have some fun with that this summer as he continues to read his way through the books.

1st grade to 2nd grade (my 8-year-old)

  • Science and Nature Study – she’ll join in with my son and me, and probably my 4-year-old, for weather related projects
  • Language Arts – giving her as many natural opportunities as possible to write grocery lists, letters to friends and family, and playing word and letter games to build on the skills she developed this past school year.


We had a fun time observing DEAR day (Drop Everything And Read) with Sarah Mackenzie and so I plan to continue with the DEAR Day tradition throughout the summer, setting aside some time daily to spend reading both independently and together.

I considered a formal reading challenge, and that might still happen if something comes along that is tempting, but for now I think we will just settle on all the library books our arms can carry and see where the words take us.

Tell us in the comments- which obstacle do you find yourself most often getting hung up on?

About Kara

Kara is mother of four, a caregiver, and a striped sock knitter. Uncomplicated and unconventional, you can find her sharing simple living tips at K. Elizabeth Fleck.


  1. We do take the summer off but we still learn during that time, so I am grateful for this list because it gives me some ideas. I did not know of the Whatever the Weather book; that looks perfect to do this summer. Thank you for sharing these items!
    Kelly’s latest post: 3 Terrific Books for Curious, Nature Loving People

  2. We will be doing math pretty reguarly during the summer, but other than that, the kids are free. They honestly don’t need my help in the learning department because they’re always busy exploring outside, cooking (my 11 yr old is making pancakes for us as I write this), and finding new crafts to make. I do wish that we could do at least some unit studies this break, but my kids will protest that kids in school have the whole summer off, and theirs is already shorter, so I’ll let it slide. We start again in the beginning of July, and I’m looking forward to it. 🙂
    Shelly’s latest post: Why We Use a Homeschool Routine Instead of a Schedule

  3. Chauntaine Kidder says:

    We are scheduled to have school until the 17th of June. As of May 20th, we have started to change from our regular studies to more hands on science activities, lots of reading, spelling, and really focusing on math facts. The first three weeks in June will also be filled with VBS and “summer camp” in the mornings. It has been nice to switch things up!
    I wanted to let you know that I am hosting a Summer Reading Challenge through Usborne Books & More. My kids are currently doing one with a few other homeschoolers and they are loving it. I really like how the kids are able to pick out their own Usborne books at the end of the challenge and that it can go along with any other reading challenge that you may be involved with at your local library! If you are interested in receiving a packet of information, please e-mail me at cjennelle52@yahoo.com.

  4. I love the visual of bridging the gap between the levels of learning. And we too, are continuing our organized learning through the summer. For us, that looks like History read-alouds (from Beautiful Feet Books) and math. They practice writing in their history notebooks and we participate in our library’s summer reading challenge.

    I’m with you on the easier pace for the summer months. 🙂
    Cara@TheHomeLearner’s latest post: Bullet Journal Quick Start Guide

  5. I really love to see other people’s plans for summer learning. I will have my grandsons for several entire weeks this summer and always like to make sure I have plenty of “potential activities” planned that will be fun for the grands as well as enriching. Of course, pretty much anything children will do during the summer are learning experiences. However as a retired public school teacher, I can’t help but get inspired when I am introduced to new resources. Time Capsule and Whatever the Weather look very intriguing and fun. I also will encourage the boys to join the Barnes and Noble reading challenge so they can earn a free book. I think the only obstacle I can think of for the summer is that there are so many opportunities for relaxation, fun and learning in the summer and so little time.
    Nancy’s latest post: In-home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams

  6. I think this year we’ll keep schooling until the oldest (in a public High School) is done at the end of June, then I’ll focus more on the littles, who tend to get pushed off to PlayDoh and crayons when the older ones demand so much of my energy. Plus library activities, classes and camps we don’t do during the year, lots of time outdoors…

    Or I’ll just tell the kids where I’ve hidden the “school” laptop (which apparently only exists for playing Minecraft/Roblox) and see who wins, Hunger Games style, the right to use it each day.
    Rebecca’s latest post: What it’s Like: A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool … In Poetry

  7. Cynthia says:

    Can you recommend some word and letter games for a 1st grader going into 2nd grade?

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