Seven summer ideas for a better homeschool year

Ah, summer. The time for swimming pools, cookouts, camp, and getting your house in order. Yep. I said that last one.

It is tempting to shut down during the summer and only focus on fun (actually, it is really good to do quite a bit of that) but summer is also a great time to focus on doing some of the things that get pushed aside during the school year.

Kids in pool with great summer plans

Actually, summer is a great time to work on a few simple things that will allow you to have a much better school year come fall. Here are seven simple things you can do that will put you a step ahead when you start your school year again.

1. Make a summer plan

Yep, I said that. Making a summer plan allows you to keep your sanity when those hot, bored days stretch out before you.

Making a summer plan allows you to keep your sanity when those hot, bored days stretch out before youClick to Tweet

You can use my summer planning pages to do just that. If you spend your days in chaos, you can’t make the most of your summer. The handy chore charts and “I’m bored” lists will also help you easily keep the kids in order as well.

You can put all of your summer materials in your handy Summer Binder and stay fully organized and on top of things this summer.

2. Get your meals in order

The school year sucks so much out of you. Always on the go and checking off the boxes, you rarely have the extra time to spend on getting your systems set up.

Now is the perfect time to focus on getting systems in place that will help you to soar once your school year starts back up. Put Your Meal Plan on Autopilot is the way to create an easy, flexible meal plan based on meals your family loves. Eliminate decision fatigue once and for all this summer!

3. Get your school room organized

Summer Ideas for A Better Homeschool Year Pam Barnhill Homeschool SolutionsPull everything out, throw things away, ditch or store old curriculum, and catalog the books. When you sit down to do your planning or get ready to start the new school year, you will appreciate all the hard work you did to get ready. Look at

Look at issues you might be having and see if you can figure out possible solutions. If you need some inspiration, here is my homeschool room redo from a few years ago and Jessica’s more recent one as well.

Need someone to hold your hand? We’ve got you covered with this handy ebook that makes getting your room in order easy and inspiring.

4. Avoid the summer slump (but in a fun way)

Our favorite way to stay on top of skills in the summer is by using a fun app like Dreambox or Reflex. The kids don’t mind spending a few minutes each day keeping their skills sharp with fun games and they take no prep from me.

Another sneaky fun thing to do is strew reading materials about that are educational but so much fun they don’t care. Or play a game together, combining exciting challenges with learning. My kids love all of these and never complain about “learning” with them.

 Vacation Fun Mad Libs Summer Fun Mad Libs Junior Life of Fred–Apples Life of Fred: Fractions Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series) Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out (Bedtime Math Series) Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal (Bedtime Math Series) Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks) Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks) Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks) Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks) Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks) Scrambled States Bananagrams Speed! – Multiplication Game

5. Read, read, read

Everyone can enjoy the extra time in the summer to read. You can read aloud to them — you don’t even have to do funny voices — or get them in our Summer Reading Program so they can read on their own.

Schedule a reading session for a lazy morning in PJs, one in the hot afternoon, and one right between baths and that later bedtime to calm everyone down. Nope, three sessions a day are not too many and you have the time in summer.

Catch up on your own reading. As Susan Wise Bauer reminds us, it is important to our children’s education that we continue our own. And we also deserve the opportunity to get lost in a good book every now and again.

You can see how you might be reading wrong here (slow down, it’s not a race) and some suggestions from an older reading list here or some current team favorites below.

 Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of EducationBeauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space RaceHidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford NovelSomewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel In the Company of Others (The Mitford Years)In the Company of Others (The Mitford Years) Seeking God: The Way of St. BenedictSeeking God: The Way of St. Benedict A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and MeA Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great BooksOn Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books Revelations of Divine Love (Short Text and Long Text)Revelations of Divine Love (Short Text and Long Text)

6. Get a good morning routine going

Take the time now to build a morning routine that works for you. Working on it now will make it a habit so when the school year starts you can slide right into easy days.

Put Your Mornings on Autopilot will help you to build a flexible morning routine that gets any day off to a great start.

7. Work on habits with your kids

Speaking of easy days and good habits, summer is the perfect time to focus on obedience, cleanliness, and other habits. Brandy tells us why these are so important.

Build these now for a better school year tomorrow. Here is how you do it.

Get Organized for Summer with Kids Binder Summer Ideas for A Better Homeschool Year Pam Barnhill Homeschool Solutions

So download your free summer planning pages and start planning a fun summer, but also one that will put you ahead when you start school in the fall. What will you add to your plan?

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  • Catharina says:

    Great post! Lovely ideas.

    Too bad we still have 9 weeks to go, sigh.
    And a summer break of only 6 weeks.

    You Americans have it good 🙂

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      6 Weeks! Boo!! (That is what I usually take myself. This year it will go longer because my July schedule is busy, but then I am schooling a little longer into May than I normally do to compensate.)

  • KimberlyinKY says:

    I will be using your planning pages this summer…had already put Mystie’s courses at the very top of my reading mountain pile! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Kelly Westerman says:

    We started our summer a little early when we wrapped up CC because all of my kids are little…and because I’m nesting. And I figured I’d spread the rest of our content out across the summer, because no one wants to be outside in Oklahoma in the afternoon anyway.

    A couple months ago you inspired us to develop a morning time and it has been so refreshing! Even my two year old loves telling me what we’re going to do in the morning …visit the garden, read the bible, sing the timeline, read a book, draw a picture. We do what we love first and longest. We do a lot of reading and a LOT of art and we’re spending just a few minutes a day on skills development like math and writing. I’m loving the low pressure opportunity to focus on a few weak areas and to make it fun. I’m hoping that our diligence to do just a few minutes a day will pay off next year when we dive back in… and I have a newborn.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Yay Morning Time. And yes, we take shorter summers due to the heat. October and March are much better times to take a break here. Happy nesting and congratulations!

  • Kristi says:

    Thank you! I haven’t heard of either of those math apps you mentioned. I couldn’t find them on the I-tunes store. Are they just on a webpage?

    Thank you!

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Yes, Kristi. We use them on the web, though I THINK Dreambox has an ipad version.

  • Emma says:

    I’m in the UK, so we won’t actually finish until July, starting again in September. These ideas and planners will be great to use then. I have one kid in particular who struggles with no routine, so after a couple of weeks break I’m always glad to have some ideas and things to do! Thank you 🙂

  • Maureen says:

    I bought your Morning Routine a long time ago. Now I just bought your Plan Your Year and Morning Basket, gosh I love these! Thank-you for the summer printables….I know I’ll be using them!
    Thank-you for all you Do!
    I absolutely adore your blog, Plan Your Year, and Morning Basket!
    Pam, you Rock!
    So happy I found you again!
    I can tell our homeschool has joy again just in a few days!!!
    Cheers!

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Maureen! You made my day. Loving that you have a joyful homeschool. Thank YOU so much.

  • Sara says:

    I’m so on board with this. We still have 5 weeks left, but having a plan gives us something to look forward to! And your summer reading list looks Ah-mazing! and strangely similar to mine, just swap the space trilogy for some Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

  • Kelly Cook says:

    We haven’t done school since the end of January. My husband had a major health emergency and though he’s now been home for 2 months, I’ve struggled to get any kind of routine in place. We’ll need to do something academic just to relearn what’s been forgotten.

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