Blog Contributor, Faith, Family, Homeschooling, Spiritual

Sometimes, Summertime’s for School

I was raised in a Baptist home, later attending a variety of Pentecostal and non-denominational churches in my adulthood. I was 25 when my husband attended a conference and brought home the idea of Torah. As we went step by step, little bit by little bit, adjusting our ways to take breaks from work and school became a big obstacle. Which days must we take off? What do we tell our boss/clients? How do we adjust the school year? We have come a long way and now cheerfully put in for time off and extend our breaks to allow for recovery days. Homeschooling has allowed my family the freedom to fully embrace an observant lifestyle. We don’t have to be concerned for school breaks, taking absences, or the influence of the secular holidays celebrated in the American school system.

In many ways, homeschooling has enabled our observant lifestyle. It has given us the freedom to learn about prayer, Torah, halacha and so much more without the worry of when will we get this all done.

Because we school year round, our school days seem to be over by noon. This allows for outside the house activities, vegging, and focusing on other studies. During the summer schedule we tend to do our non-school activities in the morning, then as the sun beats down upon us mercilessly and we question the sanity of living here we retreat to the cool, dark sanctuary of central air and do our school work for the day.

We emerge from the icebox of our home only for necessary evening activities, like grocery shopping, visiting Grandma on Sunday afternoons, and procuring icey beverages from the local drive-in.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, summer here in South Texas is brutal! I used to give the kids a summer break when we lived in Kentucky and the summer was contained to a few months, and the neighborhood kids were all out of school, and trying to keep five young children focused on serious book learning was impossible. Since we have lived in Texas (again!) we school year round. Summer is not a season here as it is a way of life, with natives remarking that we have two seasons hot and hotter.

I’ve always tried to play up our situation. So we focus on not going to over crowded locales, not having to deal with the oppressive heat, and of course our one major nod to the summer time…our season passes to a local water park (which we attend first thing in the morning and only stay till it gets crowded). We look forward to winter break when we can visit parks, museums, and places of interest.

Each year we take significant breaks from school for the holidays. In the fall just as our public school friends are buckling down we are taking an extended break for the High Holidays, followed swiftly by Sukkot. In the winter we cheat and take a large break around the week of Hanukkah. In the spring we break to allow for cleaning/Pesach/recovery and just before summer a short break for Shavuot.

This school year schedule allows us to focus on the holidays and give them the proper attention and preparation they deserve. Summertime for most families is filled with activities and camps and VBS and all sorts of things that need to be crammed into the 75 days of Summer Break. For our family and for most observant families, summertime can be a time of rest and relaxation. For our transplanted South Texas family this means hiding from the sun, doing our school work, and longing for cooler days.

CHIME IN: What do your {homeschool} summers look like? Share in the comments!

1 thought on “Sometimes, Summertime’s for School”

  1. We lived in E. NM for 8 years and we did a schedule very similar to yours! Now that we are in the far north, it’s reversed- haha. Interesting how weather affects our homeschool schedules!

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