We Took a Month off Before the School Year Ended!

Happy FriYAY friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for this weekend! A dear friend is having a baby shower, my kiddos are in Soccer Shots, and my birthday is officially ONE week away!

YAHOOOO!

I don’t know about you, but I live for a good birthday celebration! Lol

I’ll be brief because I know you’re all pretty busy. But in one of my last posts, I promised to share how we were able to take an entire month off from school BEFORE our school year ended!

You see, I don’t know if any of you are like me and watch the calendar like a hawk, but I’m always thinking of ways to get more bang for my buck so to speak when it comes to homeschooling. Whether it’s at a street festival, an impromptu hiking meet-up, or an outdoor concert, I’m always looking for ways to enhance our learning.

Three years ago, Curtis began taking the month of May off due to the need for more regular rhythms of rest. He’s a full-time pastor and as you can imagine, full-time ministry never stops. He’s really good about protecting our family time. But, in the past, we’ve been on vacation and a stray email may have snuck its way into his inbox. Or, we were out enjoying the town and a phone call deterred our plans. You never know, where there’s people, there’s always a need.

So, he began taking the entire month of May off for a sabbatical to reset and recharge. This was the first year I decided the kids and I would do the same. I really like the idea of everyone being off so we can come and go as we please and just enjoy much needed R&R.

In order to do this, I had to plan ahead.

Instead of beginning our school year in September like we typically do, we started in August. I wasn’t too thrilled about this prospect at first. I know there’s plenty of traditional school districts that start in August. There’s also other homeschoolers who school year round. I just know that’s not my calling. lol

But the idea of the entire fam being off together in May was so appealing, I was willing to embrace the uncomfortable notion of school in the summer.

We began with light studies in August. The days were hot and the sun was bright, so I didn’t want the kids to feel like they had to sit with their books and miss their Vitamin D for the day. So, we started bright and early each day. They’d jump on their reading, Language Arts, and math work. We’d spend the rest of our time exploring, enjoying the outdoors and having natural learning moments.

Since we were still in the thick of the pandemic, we weren’t doing any in-person hangouts but we had plenty of Zoom playdates and backyard and front yard play with one another.

As the school year progressed, things were pretty normal like they usually are. We participated in our virtual co-op each week for 24 weeks out of the school year. We took our usual holiday breaks, including two weeks for the Christmas holiday.

We did not however, take a Spring Break. I couldn’t see us taking a week off in April only to turn around and have the month of May off! There was no way my kids would get away with that! lol

We worked through some snow days as well, but those were definitely MUCH lighter!

In our state of New Jersey, homeschooling is regulated VERY loosely. There’s no reporting or required testing, or even any mandated days! So we have the freedom to school as we see fit. Of course I keep my eye on my kids’ levels in comparison to other children in their developmental stages. But I do not bind myself to feeling like they have to do everything kids in their “grade” or age are doing. If my kids are ahead or behind their peers in some way, I’m okay as long as they are progressing. I’d much rather my kids grasp the concepts instead of race through the pages of their textbooks just to say “we finished” by the time June hits.

It’s been a struggle for me sometimes to always be at peace about this if I’m honest. I know that I need to continue to practice some de-schooling principals and just ensure my kids are learning and continuing to foster a love of learning in them.

What we don’t finish, I say we will pick it up where we left off.

Once May ended, I continued our plan to work through June. June looks very similar to August in that it’s light and more easy going. I told my kids they could sleep as late as they wanted (they still rise pretty early though!). I also told them they can begin their work whenever they want, it just has to be done no later than 3pm. These kids would much rather work early in order to finish early. Most days, they start around 9 or 10am and are done in about an hour.

They are currently working on math and reading. Each of them finished their Language Arts books by May, so I’m not going to press them to start the next level in those series. They also finished their math books, but I would like them to continue with some math. They are currently doing their work on Reading Eggs and Math Seeds app, and with library books. I’m pretty happy with this as it will keep them fresh throughout the summer.

They will have the entire month of July off.

They need a break, as do I. And they’ll be traveling to visit family for part of the month.

So, this is how we managed to take an entire month of school off before the end of our school year!

What are you doing for your kids this summer?

Our church has a summer camp. We will only be sending them on trip days. Noelle just finished running track. Curt Curt and Nyla are doing Soccer Shots, which teaches the fundamentals and skills of soccer for younger children. Layla begins basketball camp next week.

Trust me, these kids WILL be busy this summer! Learning doesn’t only happen in books. I have to remind myself of this.

The more I let go of the traditional norms for “how” school “should” be done, the more enjoyable “school” will be for everybody…momma included!

Thanks for reading!

Blessings,

Courtney

P.S. I wanted to share some super super exciting news!!! As I previously stated, my birthday is next Friday, 7/2! Woot! Woot! lol

I decided to do something crazy to celebrate! lol I’m publishing another book! Forgiveness: An Adult Journal Supporting Your Journey to Freedom will officially be available on Amazon July 2nd!

BUT, if you can’t wait, it’s available for PRE-ORDER right now on THIS website!

You can order it here!

This book is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve worked, struggled, prayed and fought for freedom in the area of forgiveness my entire life! I’ve had many uphill victories as well as some long nights in my quest to forgive those who hurt me. This book is my way of coming alongside each person who feels similarly. I truly believe there is freedom in forgiveness. We don’t have to hold on to shame, guilt, anger, bitterness and defeat!

We can be free y’all! So, if you’d like to support this new endeavor, I’d love for you to share it next Friday 7/2. The more people sharing it and hopefully buying it, will help the Amazon algorithm. This will increase my book’s rankings, and hopefully lead to more lives being touched.

Here’s the cover and a few interior pictures. I designed it all myself! I’m super proud about that fact. This has been a labor of love and quite the learning experience to say the least. lol Thanks for always showing love and support!

With love,

C

 

Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

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