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 2022

Building a stone tower by the lake

We've pulled the plug on the 2021-2022 school year. We took our last day of school photo, went on a celebratory field trip with our co-op to a local Veteran Historic Center, filled out our last-day interviews, and enjoyed a few scoops at a favorite ice cream shop.

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The next day, to launch into summer, I presented my boys with a first-day-of-summer basket--a collection of treats that I'd probably buy at some point throughout the summer anyway but which seem more magical when compiled together and presented on the first day of their break.

First-day-of-summer basket

In our basket this year:

  • 2 beach towels to replace the ones that we lost last summer
  • ingredients for s'mores
  • a new frisbee for the beach
  • a new set of headphones
  • popcorn to take to Friday night Movies in the Park
  • ice cream toppings
  • a certificate to go to our favorite local ice cream shop
  • 100 Days of Adventure- a book of boredom buster ideas
  • Blackwater Ben- a new read aloud
  • popsicles
  • fun drinking straws
I wanted to add water balloons, but my town apparently has a shortage of them.

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 2022 #homeschool #summerbucket

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 homeschooling. 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 like making a homemade piƱata and learning how to play Four Square. (How have I not taught my kids this 1980s childhood favorite yet?!)

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

last day of school photo


Morning Time Lite

In addition to our own personal devotions, we'll start each summer weekday with a lite version of our Morning Time that will include the following:

Read Alone

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.

Read Aloud

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. We'll start by finishing the last two books of the Chronicles of Narnia and then begin Blackwater Ben. Be sure to check back to learn what we're reading each month.


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:


Along with our once-a-month service at the local soup kitchen, the older three boys and I plan to volunteer for our church's weeklong Vacation Bible School. In the past, they have helped with games and crafts and I've organized the skits. 

Hawk Mountain Ranger school

Super Boy- 11th grade

Construction Job

Four days a week, my oldest son will be working with a family friend who flips old houses for a living. He'll do some basic construction and grunt work around the job site. 

Civil Air Patrol Events

He's enrolled in some elite training classes/schools with CAP this summer that include:
  • Red Cross CPR training
  • a weeklong Advanced Leadership Course- He'll be one of the team instructors.
  • a weeklong stay at Hawk Mountain Ranger School in Pennsylvania- He'll be receiving medic training. 

teen typing on a computer

Blonde Warrior- 9th grade


My middle son will join his older sister at the Christian camp she works for to volunteer for the Servant With a Task program. For two weeks, he'll be doing dishes, cleaning toilets, and doing general grunt work alongside some of his best friends. 

Mechanic Apprenticeship

Years ago, my husband and I decided that each one of our kids has to apprentice in a trade before leaving our home. Even if they have hopes to attend college and/or have an office job somewhere, learning a trade will open doors of ministry, side-hustle income, and/or save them money when they can do a job themselves instead of hiring it out to someone else.

Our oldest two kids have both done apprenticeships and now it is our middle son's turn. He has a desire to learn some basic mechanic skills. So, he's linked arms with a homeschool dad in our church to help him with some light car repair/maintenance work throughout the summer. He will be helping to install two engines, among other things. 

Work on a Novel

He's been writing a high fantasy. He hopes to have large chunks of time throughout the summer to continue working on it.

boy digging in the dirt

Greased Lightning- 8th grade

Folk Art/Skills Classes

As an avid outdoorsman and tinkerer, my fourth-born is excited to take the following classes from local artisans this summer:
  • a day-long fly fishing class from Parks & Rec
  • a 4-week canoe paddle making class at a local folk school
  • a few day-long forging/smithing lessons from the members of a local forging/blacksmith community

Create a Worm Farm

After watching a few YouTube videos, he hopes to make a worm farm that will fuel his fishing hobby through the season. 

boy and his stamp collection

The Dude- 5th grade


Three nights a week will find my youngest son down the street at the ball field pitching for his team, the Cubs. My husband is the assistant coach this year which will give the two of them some extra time together.  

Curate a Stamp Collection

My middle son started a stamp collection years ago and has officially passed the torch on to his little brother. My youngest has been camped at the project table for the last couple of days sorting and soaking. (PRO TIP: Soak an envelope or the stamp corner of an envelope in warm water and the stamp will lift from the page. Set the stamp aside to dry and it can then be inserted into a stamp collection book.) He's planning on asking a few of our retired neighbors if they'll save stamps for him.


At ten, he's still young enough to participate in our church's VBS. Next year, he'll join his older brothers and me as a volunteer. 

father and son in baseball uniform

That's it. Those are my delight-directed plans for the next few months. We have no major trips planned. Instead, we'll squeeze in lots of barbeques and bike rides, trips to the beach and hikes in the woods.

In addition to speaking at the HEAV and AFHE conferences and launching my next book (due to hit shelves on September 6th), I'll be waging a one-woman war on our schedules, emptying our days of hustle and helping us all enjoy the slower pace of gentle schooling for summer.

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