I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

We'll be pulling the plug on the 2019-2020 school year very soon. We'll pack the books away, take the annual last-day photo on the front stoop, and fill out the end-of-school interviews.

Typically, we celebrate summer break by taking a day trip to someplace fun and educational like a logging encampment or a science center. But with everything closed due to the global pandemic, I've formulated Plan B: a first-day-of-summer basket.

I've gathered a few items that I bought on clearance at the close of last summer, some fun treats that I usually only buy on special occasions, and a handful of necessary things that I'd probably have to buy throughout the summer anyway--sunblock, new beach towels, fixin's for s'mores, bags of candy, water balloons, frisbees, water pistols, bubbles, colorful drinking straws, etc. and have shoved them all inside a basket. I'll present this bushel-o'-fun to my kids the morning of our last day and help them welcome summer!

Later that afternoon, we'll head to the neighborhood ice cream shop and order our favorite flavors To Go.

Admittedly, I haven't tied up every loose end of the school year, but I've no plan to. That's not my way. I'm a firm believer that nothing will bleed a homeschool quite like slogging through worksheets and textbooks through the summer, especially for those of us who live in the near tundra and only experience nice, outdoorsy type weather for seven seconds each year.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Nope. I never feel obligated to force my kids to finish a workbook or complete a curriculum. If they can make it through 75% of what I had planned to do, I stamp "done" on the whole thing and move on.

But that doesn't mean that our learning stops completely.

It just means that during the glorious days of summer, we take a more relaxed, delight-directed approach to homeschool. We use the slower days to enjoy some of the extras of learning that we sometimes don't have time for during the fall and winter months.

Here's what our gentle schooling will look like this summer.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

Morning Time Light

In addition to our own personal devotions, we'll start each summer weekday with a light version of our Morning Time. We'll read one excerpt from The Book for Children four times a week and maybe sing a few hymns. On Fridays, however, I’ll assign one of my kids a verse to study. I’ll write the reference on a notecard along with the following 4 questions and expect him/her to be prepared to share their answers with the rest of the family the following week: (2 WHATs and 2 HOWs)

  • WHAT is the verse?
  • WHAT does it mean?
  • HOW have you lived or not lived out this verse in your life? (Share a personal story.)
  • HOW can we apply this verse to our lives?
Since beginning these simple Friday devos about a month ago, I've seen how having an opportunity to lead a spiritual discussion has really helped them each grow in their comfort level in sharing their faith. It's been a great way for me to disciple them towards discipling others.

Read Alones

At the close of our Morning Time, I'll set our 15-minute reading timer and encourage everyone to read whatever book they happen to be reading for pleasure at the moment. They'll obviously read alone at other times, but this intentional block of time will ensure that reading happens at least once a day.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

Read Alouds

As always, we'll gather 'round after lunch--on the couch, outside on a blanket, in hammocks in the woods--and share a chapter of our current read aloud. Be sure to check back to learn what we're reading each month.

Tree Nature Study

Since we're buried under several feet of snow during much of the school year, it's often difficult to do any kind of up-close nature study. So, we usually save these for summer. We pick one specific nature topic to focus on for the entire three months and learn about it gently through exploration and a small stack of living books. This year, we've selected trees as our summertime theme.

I hope to read the following books:
Nature All Around: Trees

In addition, we'll carry our state-specific tree field guide with us as we go exploring in the woods once-a-week. We'll make bark rubbings to add to our nature journals and take leaf samples to make a DIY Pocket Leaf Guide

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

Game Schooling

Who needs to drill-and-kill with worksheets and flashcards through the summer? Board games can be used to review many of the basic skills and knowledge needed for math, grammar, history, and Bible. So, when it's raining or when it's just too hot to be outside, we'll pick one of our favorites and spend a few minutes playing together. 

In addition to the ones on this list, some games we'll be sure to drag out from the game closet are:

Individual Interests


I'll continue to work my way through the Storied Mom Reading Challenge, take online violin lessons from Violin Lab, and plan for the next school year using my Brave Homeschool Planner.  

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

My Kids

Like she's done for the past three years, my daughter will be working at a Bible camp for most of the summer.

My oldest son will continue to do grunt labor at various fixer-uppers for a friend who owns a contracting company.

His younger brother hopes to keep honing his writing craft by continuing to add to his Story Writer's Idea Journal.

A creator and innovator by nature, my fourth-born has aspirations of hosting a few pottery sales at the end of our driveway. He's been making pottery all spring and hopes to earn a few dollars and learn some entrepreneurial skills.

Gentle Schooling for Summer 2020 #homeschooling #cmhomeschoolers

My youngest got a drum set for his birthday and when he's not down at the creek collecting crawdads with his big brothers, he'll no doubt be "treating" us to hours of music.

That's it. Those are my uncomplicated plans for the next few months. Barbeques and bike rides, swimming pools and popsicles on the porch--I'm hoping to empty our days of hustle and help us all enjoy the slower pace of gentle schooling for summer.


  1. Our state-mandated 180 days is complete tomorrow! Our zoo has just reopened after the virus, but its by reservation only! So I booked us all tickets (surprise!) and their daddy is getting off early to join us! Woo hoo for the sweet days of summer... watching ants crawl, catching lightning bugs, visiting grandparents, and eating Popsicles on the front porch!!

    1. Ooooo...a trip to the zoo would be so great right now! That's definitely a homeschool mom win. I hope you have fun.

  2. I have my daughter still doing some math and reading and spelling but only about 30 minutes per day. The rest of the time we are outside learning about nature and enjoying the weather. On rainy days we have been watching educational shows on youtube and netflix. Our city has super high levels of covid so dont really feel comfortable doing playdates yet.

  3. Hi Jamie,
    I was wondering if you use a guide for your kid's personal devotions?