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    Sum Sum SummerTerm

    April 2, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    I always thought that, since we homeschool, we would year-round school. You know, live a life of learning and all that jazz. However, last year it became very evident that it was time to mix it up a bit. At the time, I was gigantic and pregnant and this, combined with the triple-digit temps and an upcoming move just wasn’t conducive to academics.

    I’m not pregnant this year, but I’ve got the itch to mix it up again.

    And, if I can get our garden under control {we apparently have some sort of a fungus out there attacking our seedlings}, we are going to have a harvest on our hands in July. This means we should be canning rather than cramming.


    I started dreaming of a SummerTerm. I learned from our term break last week that a week of no plans simply doesn’t work with little ones. We all drove each other crazy, and it didn’t help that three out of four babies had a bit of a cold.

    Filling in the Gaps

    What is SummerTerm? Well, if I could describe my goal, it would be to fill in the gaps. We won’t have Ambleside readings, so we will have extra time every day. I haven’t decided if we will do a full Circle Time. I am leaning toward a simple daily Bible reading together, with perhaps a bit of singing, but nothing fancy. This would leave a lot of space in our days.

    By filling in the gaps, I mean rounding out their education. On top of just trying to fit in all the things I think make for a good education {academically speaking}, I have also had a new baby to care for. This has made me tight on time. An example of a side effect of this is that, for the past seven months, the children have not really been helping in the kitchen.

    Anyone who is inexperienced at something goes more slowly. Any task takes longer when we are learning. This isn’t something peculiar to children. Knowing this, I pretty much kicked everyone out so that I could fly through the kitchen and get a soup in the kettle in thirty minutes flat.

    This made for a decent dinner, but a poor education.

    And we’ve had gaps all over throughout the year, I think.

    How to Discover the Gaps

    Last night, Si and I had about an hour alone at Starbucks. We ordered what we assume will be our last hot chocolate of the season and we sat outside in the breeze and read a chapter from Teaching the Trivium. I had forgotten how much I love this book. The chapter we read is actually available as an online essay on the Bluedorn’s website: Ten Things to do with Your Child Before Age Ten.

    This list of ten things is a list I plan to revisit during Term Three every year. It is a concise list of what is most important in the proper education of young children. {The book has other lists for other ages, by the way.}

    Sum Sum Summer Plans

    So now I have spoken with the children. I have discussed with Si. I have fluffed my brain a bit by thinking alone. And I have a short list of some possibilities:

    • Weekly lunch with Daddy at the office
    • Enroll E. in swim school {umm…for those of you who actually know us in real life, this is a surprise so please don’t say anything about it}
    • Weekly painting day
    • Go swimming at the homes of various relatives who own pools, focusing on practicing swimming skills
    • Field trips
    • Once per week, bake alone with one child, teaching them the kitchen skills they are ready and able to learn
    • Assign children each one night to help make dinner, again working on kitchen skills and use of kitchen tools, one goal being that E. will know how to make one simple meal alone by summer’s end
    • Teach each child a new chore, having as a goal older children handing at least one chore down to younger children by the end of summer
    • Continue with basics a few days per week {copywork and spelling especially for E., learning letter and number symbols for A., playing with puzzles and learning shapes/colors for Q.}
    • Have more friends over
    • Visit relatives
    • Work in our garden together
    • Look for service projects that all of the children can participate in
    • Read aloud
    • Mommy wants to have a book club–if you are local, would you be interested?
    • More time spent doing crafts

    What are you doing this summer? Have you started planning yet?

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  • Reply Homeschool Planning Season Helps| Everyday Snapshots June 2, 2017 at 10:19 am

    […] Sum-Sum-Summer Term post was helpful to me as I came up with a plan to keep us focused during our summer […]

  • Reply Brandy April 5, 2009 at 2:22 am


    One more comment like that and I will tell everyone who you are! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Anonymous April 4, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Brandy, I think you should make the neighbors rock candy. I hear it is great this time of year?

  • Reply Brandy April 4, 2009 at 3:23 am


    I would love to hear what service projects you end up doing. I actually thought about just calling our church and seeing if they had anything they needed done, or people needing meals or something like that. We also know families with babies due this summer and late spring, so we will try to deliver meals.

    One focus that isn’t exactly service, but is connected, was that we need to forge a better relationship with our neighbors. There is a language barrier there (many of them speak Spanish rather than English), but it isn’t impossible. I was thinking that on our baking days we could make double-batches and then take goodies to those folks living closest to us. We did that once in our old neighborhood and it totally transformed our relationship with those neighbors!

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 4, 2009 at 3:00 am

    My, it seems everyone is interested in SummerTerm!

    I’d love to hear any ideas you drum up for service projects. I’d like to take my kids to work in the local soup kitchen but they’re too young. I’ve thought about visiting the homebound, but I’m a little worried the kids might be too crazy, or get sick (though that’s less of a worry once we warm up a bit more).

    I think we’re going to have to spend lots of summer time out in the garden because Kansas Dad’s plans are very ambitious!

  • Reply Brandy April 3, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Glad I could help. πŸ˜‰ And congratulations on being 2/3 through your first year! I hope it has been a blessing for your family.

    If I end up doing the bookclub online, I will make sure and let you know. Of course, everyone is saying they want to do this without knowing what book I am planning to torture them with.

    Hahahahaha. πŸ™‚


    You know, May is looking better and better. We miss you. πŸ™‚ And Brea is local if you are willing to make the commute.

  • Reply Gracie April 3, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Yes! Please put that on your list! I am due for another visit. I was chatting with Kimmie the other day. Shannon and I might coming in May. I’ll definitely keep you posted!!!! πŸ™‚

    Human contact? That is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO overrated these days. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Wendi April 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Oh, I so wish that I was local – but I am in fact on the other side of the country πŸ™‚ I would love to join your real, live bookclub!

    Your summer plans look great! I loved your Christmas Term plans and we actually used many of your ideas in our own home this past Christmas.

  • Reply Sarabeth April 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks so much for posting about this. This is our first year homeschooling. We’re planning on doing year-round schooling, but I know we will all be needing some kind of break now and then. I just wasn’t sure what it would look like. You’ve given me some great ideas to get started with. It would be great if you could keep us posted as to how reality lines up with your hopes.

  • Reply Brandy April 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm


    I hope to read a similar post by you soon, then. πŸ™‚ Your 13-year-old sounds like my son!


    Um. If I keep having these problems with fungus, yours will be the only tomatoes I can this year. YIKES! So, yes. If we are in town when your harvest is ready, we would love a lesson in tomato paste. I have a pressure canner. Hope that is okay.

  • Reply Kimbrah April 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Count me in for the book club!!!!!! I have been wanting to join one forever! Great plans by the way. I may steal some of your ideas.

    May we also try to plan a canning party? We can share our wealth. I will have some Amish Paste tomatoes that will be itching to be canned into tomato paste, and I am willing to share. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Willa April 3, 2009 at 4:20 am

    I was trying to write a post something like this today, but couldn’t seem to organize my thoughts. I am glad you did since it made interesting reading!

    I was talking to my 13 year old today about summer. He wants to do some of the things we never seem to have time for — art, music, etc. He thinks we’ll have more space in the day for them then.

  • Reply Brandy April 3, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Well, I suppose I was looking for actual human contact in the form of people coming to my real, live house.

    However, if I don’t have any takers, then anyone in my neck of the Internet is “local” because we’ll do it online. Keep you posted! πŸ˜‰

    I forgot to put “beg Auntie Grace for a visit” on my list. What do you think? Should I add it?

  • Reply Gracie April 2, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    What exactly is “local” by your definition? πŸ™‚ I want to be part of your book club!!!!!!!!! πŸ™ Is Brea local?????

    I love your plans Bran!

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