Summer Homeschool Schedule for Learning

Do We Homeschool Year-Round? Our Summer Learning Routine


It’s summer vacation for most of us in the United States. For many parents, that means figuring out ways to occupy the kiddos.

I’m quickly becoming a mom-group junkie, especially when it comes to homeschool groups. Since summer schedules seem to be a hot topic, I figured I’d go ahead and write a post detailing what a tentative summer schedule looks like in the Anderson household and how we incorporate learning.

But first, I owe you a quick update.

As most of you know we live in Georgia, which means summer break started in May. So far, our boys have enjoyed weekly VBS’s, sports camp, swimming lessons, summer movie screenings, community events, playdates, and more. This is probably one of the busiest summers in our entire homeschool career. Most importantly, our boys are learning things that textbooks can’t teach. Things like how to be a team player, respond to mean kids, meet new friends, and grow in self-confidence.

While summer break is the perfect time to take advantage of all the social opportunities it has to offer, many new homeschooling parents beg the question; How do I prepare my children for the next academic year?

There’s no right answer to this question but let me present you with a few studies. Consider this study that reveals students lose a significant amount of knowledge in reading, math, and spelling during summer. This learning loss accumulates over time leading to a regression in academic proficiency, which we all refer to as the summer slide.

There’s no denying that taking a substantial break from academics poses the risk for children to forget key learning concepts. For this reason, you’ll find that the average curriculum incorporates a review of previously learned material for the first few lessons. Therefore, summer learning loss is already accounted for.

However, if you’re like me and want your children to build fluency during summer, incorporating learning into your summer routine doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are some ideas for how you can encourage your child to continue flourishing during summer months.


1. Implement a family reading time.

In our home, I implemented what I like to call a “reading hour.” During this time, everyone grabs something to read, their favorite snack, and hangs out in the family room reading together silently. Afterward, everyone can discuss what they’ve read. For children who aren’t readers yet, try read-alouds or let them listen to an audiobook with headphones on. For struggling readers, research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing.


2. Make fluency practice easy.

If you don’t mind screens, installing apps like Prodigy, Elephant Learning, Reading Eggs, Epic, and more, can turn tablet time into fun fluency practice. Learning apps are not only a nice break from worksheets, but they also make incorporating summer learning easier on parents by allowing them to create academic goals and track progress. While some of these apps aren’t free, there are a ton of free ones available for download. Some apps even come with a free trial, so take advantage.


3. Focus on learning a new skill.

In our home, we carve out some time to encourage our boys to learn something new. We not only want them to retain what they’ve learned, but also increase what they know. Learning new skills sharpens their brains and builds confidence. Some great ideas we’ve tried are:

  • Following drawing tutorials
  • Learning how to play a new song on the keyboard
  • Learning to code a video game
  • Following dance tutorials
  • Learning life skills like tying shoelaces, riding a bicycle, swimming, etc.


4. Enter a contest and win money for college.

I’m excited to share this opportunity with you all. is holding a Limitless Learners Contest for a chance for six students to earn $500 toward college and $1000 to donate to their elementary school or local library. There are no strings attached. All your child/ren must do is this:

Describe a time when you were having so much fun, you didn’t realize you were learning something new!

Kindergartners may draw or paint a picture to reflect their answer, while older kids can write a short story, poem, or even a comic strip. Deadline is October 31, 2019, but why not utilize summer break to sharpen your child’s writing skills and craft a winning response? See details, here.


5. Implement a reward system.

I’m a believer in incentives. In our home, screen time is a big deal, so I use that to my advantage. This summer, learning how to spell new words will grant my boys an allotment of precious Minecraft time. Of course, I had to make it fun by printing out this list of key Minecraft terms. I told my boys if they’re going to be playing the game, they need to know the spelling and definition of each term. The result? Over 40 words learned in just one week for my 9-year-old. My 6-year-old also learned 15 new words.


6. Develop the whole child.

Some parents focus solely on academics and unknowingly neglect other skills equally important for ensuring a child’s potential for learning, growth, and wellbeing. Outside cognitive development, other skills that should be challenged and developed are physical, social, emotional, and creative skills. In our home, we’ve also added spirituality to the list. How does this whole child approach play into academics? In short, research suggests children who are emotionally and physically healthy are higher academic achievers. But did we really need research to know that? Summer is the perfect time to check in on your child’s socio-emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Some books to read with your kiddos are:


If you need inspiration crafting a summer schedule, check out ours below. Keep in mind this schedule is always changing depending on what we do that day, but it comprises all the things we’d like to incorporate into our schedule when we’re at home. I love schedules for children not only because knowing what’s expected encourages positive behavior, but they also teach time management and responsibility.

Summer schedule for home school

What does your summer routine consist of? Let me know in the comment section!

10 Homeschool Mistakes

10 Mistakes That Almost Ruined Our Homeschool


The title of this post is a bit dramatic, but let’s roll with it, shall we?

If you’re just joining me, I’m Nike (nee-kay), a third-year homeschool mom of two energetic boys, ages 4 and 8. Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I share my passion for faith, family, and homeschool!

I love when moms share their homeschool “hiccups,” so I’ll go ahead and share mine today. Here are ten things that proved to be unhealthy for our homeschool. I’ll spare you the long intro and get right to it!

1. Doubt.

For me, doubt can stem from the insecurity that we may have made the wrong decision for our family. This insecurity is at its peak during the trying moments of homeschool. You know, when my boys refuse to complete assignments, complain about not seeing their friends, or are just completely uncooperative. I have to remind myself during these moments that all callings in life have their fair share of trials, and just because things are tough doesn’t mean we made the wrong decision. In fact, tough moments are an opportunity to gain perseverance and grow in faith.

2. Unclear expectations.

I found out very quickly that it’s impossible to successfully manage our homeschool without effectively communicating to my family what’s expected of them. This was especially true when it came to delegating roles to my husband. When we were just starting out as a homeschooling family, I carried the bulk of the burden until I realized I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed my husband to know how to assist me, and I needed my children to know exactly what I expected out of them to make this homeschool journey successful.

3. Lack of routine.

Routines are important in our homeschool because my children thrive better when they know what to expect. Although I’ve always been adamant about routines, there were moments when we fell off and those moments were tough on everyone.

4. Being unrealistic.

Everyone has their own struggle in this area. Mine was expecting that my boys will catch on quickly to learning new concepts ALL the time. When they didn’t catch on quickly enough, I most certainly struggled in the patience department. I had to learn how to slow down. After all, one of the perks to homeschool IS being able to slow down when needed. And, even as intelligent as they are, I had to learn that they, like most kids, have areas of weakness that need extra attention.

5. Too much socialization.

I never in my wildest dreams thought my boys would get too much socialization as homeschool kids, but they most certainly did. Between extracurricular classes, playdates, fieldtrips, parties, taekwondo, and family road-trips, I had to scale back tremendously to ensure there was enough time for formal learning. While I value providing my children with social opportunities, I had to realize that it couldn’t be at the cost of their education.

6. Too little socialization.

And, of course, there were the days when we didn’t belong to any homeschool groups or co-ops and struggled to get any social interaction with children my boys’ age. Not having that community made homeschool feel lonelier—mostly for me, though. My kids were 5 and 2, so they were at the age where they didn’t really notice much. But too little socialization for momma was no Bueno.

7. Peer pressure.

Peer pressure in adulthood DOES exist. It looks a little something like this: ALL the moms in your group use a certain type of curriculum and uphold it as the holy-grail to which no other curriculum can compare. Or, those lovely mom chats where moms try and one-up each other on how early their child learned to do this or that. Yep, it got to me. I admit it. And I did feel the pressure to use the curriculum everyone else was using and to teach my kids what everyone else was teaching theirs. Thankfully, that ship has sailed and I’m wiser now. Putting pressure on my family to be like another family certainly caused unnecessary stress on our homeschool.

8. Trying to prove myself.

Anyone ever take a million pictures of your kids with other kids to prove to your disapproving family members that your homeschool kids have a social life? Or, pop-quiz your kids in front of family members to prove they’re learning just as well as any other kid? I’ll raise my hand on that one. It took two years to build the confidence to realize that I didn’t have to prove anything or answer to anyone when it came to our family life.

9. Zero me-time.

I’m home with my kids all day every day so I’m going to need some me-time. And, no, I don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, it was my decision to stay home and homeschool my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to feel tired, annoyed, overwhelmed, or in need of some time alone. Doesn’t mean I hate homeschool. Doesn’t mean I hate my kids. It just means I need to recharge—ALONE! It’s called self-care. When I don’t get me-time everyone and everything in the house suffers—especially our homeschool.

10. Too many curricula.

For our family, it can’t be all about learning from textbooks. There’s a whole world out there that my boys need to explore and learn from—something that textbooks can never teach. The world is our classroom! We can learn about plants and animals, U.S. states, and some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but experiencing them for ourselves will always hold more weight than memorizing facts.


That concludes my list of homeschool “hiccups.” Do you have any? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Day in the Life of homeschool Preschool and Kindergarten

A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old | Teaching Preschool

One of the common challenges in homeschool families is finding the time to teach younger children when so much time is dedicated to helping their older siblings with assignments.

I have a four-year-old and a second-grader and, let me tell you, it’s tough! Even tougher for my friends with four children or more. Preschoolers often like to fight for your attention when they see you giving so much of it to their siblings. I’m here to tell you, that’s not such a bad thing and you can use this attention-seeking to your advantage.

When your preschooler sees that learning seems to get and keep your attention, they’re more likely to want to be included in whatever learning their older siblings have going on. At least this was the case for me. I know it’s tempting to let younger children go off and do their own thing, but try adding small assignments to their routine that help them feel like a “big kid.” You may find you have a little more peace during your homeschool hours.

So, here is my day in the life of my four-year-old on any given homeschool day. This glimpse into our world illustrates how I manage to balance time between my two boys. As a side note, you may notice on my blog that I refer to my four-year-old as a preschooler and kindergartner interchangeably. That’s because according to his age he is technically in preschool, but he’s acquiring many skills that meet kindergarten requirements in our state.

A Homeschool Day-in-the-Life of My 4-Year-Old

8:30 am: Devotional

Let’s start with devotional. We’re currently using Our Daily Bread for kids, which we love. The daily devotionals are short, sweet, and to the point. They also are a great inspiration to delve into the Word of God. Both kids enjoy me reading aloud and will sit quietly and attentively while I do so. In previous years, I made activities for my boys to do while I read the Bible aloud. Some days, my preschooler is just not into sitting still so he goes off and plays with his toys, which is totally allowed.  That leads us to…

Tip One: Let your little ones have off days. We all have days when we’re just not feeling something. Allowing them to choose something else to do instead shows that you understand and respect their feelings. It also reduces the likelihood of your little one making a scene which can cause disruption and set the tone for the rest of the day, making it difficult for you to maintain the patience needed to work with your older children.

Our Daily Bread Devotional for Children
My children love Our Daily Bread Devotional for Kids.

9:00 am: Basic Skills Fluency Practice

This is my second-grader’s designated reading time. Since I have him read aloud to me, I need this time to be pretty quiet. This is when I break out my preschooler’s favorite activities. We use the Hooked-on Phonics Fundamentals workbook, which is full of educational cut and paste activities that keep my preschooler busy and happy. During this time, my little one practices fluency with basic skills like letters, phonics, numbers, counting, shapes, and more. He is also engaging those fine motor skills necessary for handwriting. So…

Tip Two: Have independent activities on hand. Give your little ones activities you know they can do on their own to help build confidence, independence, and fluency while you take time to work with older children.

Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.
Preschool and kindergarten basic skills fluency practice.

9:30 am: Reading Fluency Practice

My preschooler and I practice reading fluency while my second-grader works independently on to his spelling curriculum. We are using the Hooked-on Phonics curriculum and are supplementing with Bob Books. Hooked on Phonics has its own set of starter books, but he seems to like the Bob Books more. We borrowed our Bob Books from the local library and are allowed to have them for 6 weeks at a time. We spend no more than 15 minutes practicing reading. Another 15 minutes is dedicated to storybook read-alouds.

Tip Three: Schedule one-on-one learning time with your little one when older kids have independent work. 

Hooked on Phonics Reading Curriculum for Preschool
Hooked on Phonics is our curriculum of choice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:00 am: Handwriting Practice 

My preschooler practices handwriting while my second-grader and I delve into his language arts lesson.  I love dry-erase books for handwriting practice because children can practice as much as they’d like without accumulating paper waste. The books we love for handwriting practice are the Kindergarten dry-erase workbook and the Sight Word workbook. I taught my preschooler how to follow the arrows, and to always write from left to right to ensure he’s writing letters, numbers, and words properly. Now, he can pretty much work on his own. Therefore…

Tip Four: Train your little one to work independently during homeschool off-hours. On weekends or when all your older children have completed their homeschool assignments, take just a little time to train your younger children to work more independently on key skills. This may take time and patience but is well worth the investment when you find yourself running from kid to kid during busy homeschool hours.

Handwriting Practice for preschool and kindergarten.
Independent handwriting practice for preschool and kindergarten.

10:30 am:  Everyone takes a snack break at this point.

11:00 am: Geography

My boys do geography together. We use a curriculum base called Beginning Geography and supplement with YouTube videos, library books, hands-on-learning, and kinesthetic activities. This is a great time of day because my preschooler really looks forward to it. He may not understand everything we learn about, but he enjoys doing the corresponding activities.

If you’re wondering how I teach two grade-levels one subject, here’s an example:

This week we’re learning about reading directions on a map using a compass rose. My main objective is for my preschooler to understand that north is up, south is down, east is to his right and west is to his left. Aside from looking at real maps I had on hand, we watched a Youtube video that explained what compasses were used for and how to use them.  To challenge my oldest son, he watched a documentary on the history of the compass rose. Later, we made our own compasses using supplies I had on hand. Then we played a kinesthetic activity where the boys had to jump toward the direction I shouted out. It was so much fun and something both grade-levels could enjoy.

Tip Five: Don’t be afraid to include your little ones in on the lessons. This is especially true if the age gap isn’t that wide between older siblings. In my case, I can use a curriculum base designed for grades k-2 and it’ll work for both of my boys. Last year, we used a science curriculum designed for first and second graders and my preschooler was able to do all of the lessons and experiments with us. Children are sponges at this age. You’ll be surprised by what they pick up on.

Geography for preschool and early elementary
A kinesthetic game for learning directions: Jump to your North, South, East, and West.

12:00 pm: Science

Both my boys also learn science together. This year, we are really loving interactive science notebooks. This is actually my preschooler’s favorite part of the day because he loves cut-and-paste activities. Whenever we finish a lesson, he often asks if we can do another one. I use the same supplemental method for science that I do for geography. We read books, do fun activities, and include hands-on learning and experiments whenever possible. That points us to…

Tip Six: Interactive notebooks are a win for everybody. You can find free or low-cost interactive notebook lessons just about anywhere, for any grade, and any subject! This works especially if you have children with larger age gaps. Everyone can sit around the table with all their supplies and work on their interactive notebooks. Works for us!

Interactive science notebooks for preschool and kindergarten.
Interactive science notebooks are great for preschool and kindergarten.

1:00 pm: Lunch and Recess

2:00 pm: Math

I save math for the end of the day because it’s my boys’ strongest subject. Plus, it’s also a subject that my second-grader can do on his own unless he’s learning a new concept. I like to work one-on-one with my preschooler on the days when my second-grader isn’t learning a new concept. We use math link cubes to practice addition and subtraction. We also practice number sequencing and counting to 20, 30, and beyond. Every now and then we’ll go over basic and 3-dimensional shapes, but he pretty much has that information stored in his brain.

Additionally, I try a variety of hands-on activities that I just make up myself. Matching number quantity to the numerical value is one of the activities we do often, and we can use just about anything we have on hand to do it. I also make use of our addition and subtraction flashcards and have my preschooler use cubes to determine the sum or difference. So…

Tip Seven: Save your little one’s strongest subject for the end of the school day to cut down on frustration. If you happen to need to sneak away to teach your older children new concepts, you can start the younger ones off and they can hold their own until you return.

Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.
Math practice ideas for preschool and kindergarten.


Our school day typically ends around three in the afternoon. This is not an everyday schedule as we have fieldtrip days, co-op days, and playdate days pretty regularly. This is, however, the schedule we fall back on to keep us on track.

I’d like to end this post by saying there will be a day when none of this advice works. Take heart, it happens to the best of us. I will say that each semester gets easier. Before our winter break, it was much harder to keep my preschooler engaged and occupied. After winter break, things seemed more manageable. Your family will live if you do away with curricula for a moment to meet the physical, educational, emotional and social needs of your younger children. A break from monotony is always a great idea!

Now it’s your turn: How do you balance homeschool with your children? Give us some ideas that have worked for your family in the comments below!

Need more ideas for preschool? Check out these posts:

Toddler Genius | YouTube Channels That Made My Toddler Smarter

Tot-School Tuesdays | Preschool Addition Facts

Tot-School Tuesdays | Number Matching & Sequencing

Tot-School Tuesdays | “I Can Count” Busy Box

Free Resources for Preschool

Balancing Work and Homeschool

My Mommy Routine | Balancing Work and Homeschool

Nike, how on earth do you find time to run a business as a homeschool mom? Inquiring minds want to know, so here it is! A detailed schedule chronicling how I manage to steal increments of time to work my business during my homeschool days. The secret? VERY early mornings! It’s either wake up early, or sacrifice that sacred time.

I know, fellow mom. You’re probably tired, have more kids than me, and an infant to boot. But trust me when I say that waking up several hours before your family will do your household some good. Even better? You get “me time” to work on your passion, health, business, or whatever it is you’ve been craving to get done. So do it! It’ll feel good. If you don’t know where to start, check out my mommy morning routine below.

My Mommy Routine 

Balancing Work and Homeschool


This is basically my “me” time. It’s a time to study, pray, and meditate to get my mind, body, and spirit ready to take on the day. Contrary to what other mommas may tell you, these practices do NOT guarantee perfect days. They do, however, place you in the mental space to make better decisions, increase productivity, and extend love and grace to others. A new mommy tip I’ve been practicing is placing “action verses” onto the mirror above my bathroom sink. They are the first thing I see in the morning and I like to recite them aloud before I begin my devotional. I call them “action verses” because I don’t just want to memorize them, I want to live them! Below, I share one of my favorite action verses. If you aren’t a Christian, try motivational quotes!

6:00-6:30 am—FUELING MYSELF.

If I’m going to stay awake, I need some energy. During this time, I like to prepare myself a “pre-breakfast” and eat while I check my agenda for the day, as well as respond to any important business emails. What do I eat? It depends on the season. Lately, I’ve been loving a spinach, pineapple, and blueberry smoothie. When I’m not in the mood for a smoothie, I’ll make a yogurt parfait topped with banana walnut granola. And on those mornings when I just want refined carbs, I’ll simply have a bagel and cream cheese—but usually regret it because the energy from these foods lack longevity.

6:30-7:00 am—GETTING DRESSED.

Now it’s time to get ready for the day. I won’t pretend that I get dressed every day. Believe me, I’m working on it. But this time-frame is simply my little window of opportunity to spruce-up in peace. And, trust me, a half hour is plenty time for me! My hair is usually no-fuss because of my simple hair routine—which consists of flat twists that literally take less than five minutes to take down and style. If you’re not a black woman, you may be lost! For my non-sistah’s, flat twists would be equivalent to plaiting your hair at night and taking the plaits down in the morning to achieve effortless waves. Sometimes, I also tie my hair back with a chic head wrap. Other things that help me save time in the morning are showering and laying my clothes out the night before, as well as perfecting a simple fifteen-minute makeup routine.

7:00-8:00 am—WORK TIME.

This is my first available hour to work on my business. Anything absolutely pressing is done during this hour. This is usually the time I like to create my first drafts for products. Recently, however, I’ve been recreating and editing my vision and mission statements, as well as business proposals. It’s only an hour block of time, but over the course of an entire month it equates to 28-hours. My second available hour (or two hours!) is during the afternoons when my kids have quiet time. Finally, my last hour of opportunity is usually between 7 and 8 during the evenings when my husband helps the kids get ready for bed. That’s a total of 112 hours a month dedicated to my business if I play my cards right.


Okay, the kids are up and about by this time! Luckily, my husband fixes the boys’ breakfast and makes sure they do their morning assignments before our formal school day begins. This is usually the time I cook my real breakfast. What do I consider a real breakfast? Welp, I could literally have a spinach, egg, and cheese omelet served with toast EVERY day and not be mad about it. And I am not shy about the spinach, I pack it in there! If I happen to have leftover baked chicken in the fridge, it makes the omelet even better! I’d like to say I eat breakfast with the kiddos, but usually what happens is I grab my plate, take it upstairs to the office, and eat while I sneak in some extra time to work my business.

9:00-11:00 am—SCHOOL IS IN SESSION

(Family Devotional, Story Time, Math, Language Arts)

11:00-12 noon—BREAK TIME.

  1. This is the time we break for lunch and recess. I typically steal this time to work on my assignment for the day. Mondays are laundry day; Tuesdays are dedicated to the second draft of my blog post (first draft written on Saturdays); Wednesdays are my curriculum planning days, as well as days I do final edits on my blog post; Thursdays are my subsequent laundry days (got to tame the monster!); Lastly, Fridays are my meal planning days. I reserve Saturdays for family days and grocery shopping. Since we typically have family time during the mornings and early afternoons, later in the day is reserved for grocery shopping and blog writing (unless we take a day trip out of town).


(Science and Geography)

1:00-3:00 pm—QUIET TIME.

It’s finally quiet time! Sometimes my little one takes a nap, but most days he doesn’t. What do I do? I let him play (not so quietly) with his toys during the first hour so that my first-grader can focus on his daily reading. During the second hour, we have screen time. My first-grader reads a book a day for the opportunity to play a video game for an hour. My preschooler watches a show of his choice (his choices are limited to educational programs). On desperate days, I put on a movie or allow them to watch a playlist of Lego Building videos on YouTube (hey, I’m human!). It’s important for my boys to be occupied during this time so that I can steal an hour or two to work!


3:00-4:00 pm—SNACK TIME!

4:00-5:30 pm—DINNER PREP

(Unless I use the crockpot! In which case is more time for me to work!) As you’ve read prior, I usually plan our weekly meals on Fridays. A typical dinner rotation looks something like this: Mondays—spaghetti & broccoli; Tuesdays—leftovers; Wednesdays—beef stew & potatoes; Thursdays—leftovers; Fridays—chicken & veggie quesadillas; Saturdays—leftovers; Sundays—my MIL typically cooks dinner (gosh, I love her!)

5:30-6:00 pm—DINNER TIME!

6:00-7:00 pm—FAMILY CHORES.

You know, the typical stuff—loading the dishwasher, wiping down countertops, sweeping, vacuuming, and disinfecting bathrooms. Everyone gets involved. Teamwork makes the dream work!


They shower, brush their teeth, and all that good stuff. Hubby is usually in charge during this time, which means I have an hour to devote to work or whatever else I’ve got going on (like the mundane task of folding clothes)



Now it’s my turn to get ready for bed. I remove my makeup, shower, twist my hair, and workout. Yep, I work out during the evenings. Why? Because it just works for me. I spend about twenty minutes every day rotating between ab workouts, total body workouts, and deep breathing and stretching. I actually find it relaxing. It’s not much time, but the theme here is “every little bit counts.” It all adds up!

9:00-10:00 pm—DEVOTIONAL TIME!

What am I currently reading? Beautiful Already by Barbara Roose! I highly recommend this devotional. I will talk more about it in a later post.


Yep, on a perfect day this happens. For the most part, I’ve been sticking to it. But on a day like tonight, I won’t see my bed until 11 or 12. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.


Okay, Now that I’ve shared a typical day with you, let me throw out some disclaimers. Disclaimer #1, sometimes I have hiccups with my schedule. Disclaimer #2, we do spend time out of the house! It is usually during the mornings. When we return home, I simply resume the schedule. Disclaimer #3, my boys are not playing any organized sports this semester, but are involved in other extracurricular activities (like I stated before, those activities are typically during the morning/early afternoon and are worked into their schedule on the days that they have them).

Finally, as my last disclaimer, this post is not to boast about how “productive” or “organized” I am, but rather to share with those who may be interested in how I manage to work as a homeschool mom. I hope you’ve found this post helpful in developing your own homeschool mom “work schedule.” If you have other helpful tips you’d like to add, let us know down below!