Find out how to beat back the homeschool summer slide and keep your kids learning all summer long with these FREE homeschool resources.
Parents dread it every year…
The kids have a nice summer off. You go to the pool, let them sleep in, and maybe take a vacation or two.
But then August comes around and it’s time to get back into your homeschool routine. You sit down to start diving into your new curriculum and it’s like your kid has forgotten everything.
Those last few months of battling with math concepts seem to have completely fallen out of their brain. And now instead of moving forward, you’re having to spend time reteaching them concepts you’ve already gone over.
The homeschool summer slide can be frustrating, but it’s not inevitable. With a little planning and some of these free homeschool resources, you can make sure you’re kids don’t fall behind over the summer while also making sure your kids (and you!) still get a much-needed break.
Let’s dive in!
I was compensated for my time reviewing the Homeschool Buyers Club and writing this post. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided.
What is the Summer Slide for Kids?
The summer slide is what happens when kids lose some of the knowledge they learned the previous year over summer break. According to Scholastic, “…children in 3rd to 5th grades also showed that students lost, on average, about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math during summer break.”
It’s a topic that comes up often in public schools, but homeschoolers are definitely not immune.
Oh yes! There is a homeschool summer slide too.
What is the Summer Slide for Parents?
The homeschool summer slide doesn’t just affect kids. As our children’s teachers, homeschooling parents have to deal with the effects of our kids losing some of their knowledge and skills over the summer too.
It’s not just that we have to spend a little extra time reviewing concepts with our kids at the beginning of the school year. The summer slide can also lead to parents feeling like they’re behind and scrambling to “catch up”.
Considering this is something that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for homeschool parents, it’s definitely not how you want to start off your school year.
But… for some families, taking a break over the summer is necessary. Both you and the kids need some time to slow down and recuperate before starting back up again in August.
What’s a homeschool mom to do?
How Do You Beat the Summer Slide?
The key to avoiding the homeschool summer slide is to find a balance between making sure your kids don’t lose too much ground over the summer while still being able to take that break. Take this time to explore all the fun ways to sneak a little learning in.
Especially if you’re family uses a more traditional homeschooling approach throughout the year, the summer is a great time to let your kids lead the way and try some new homeschooling methods and resources.
FREE Resources to Beat the Homeschool Summer Slide
Keeping your kids learning throughout the summer to avoid the homeschool summer slide doesn’t have to mean coughing up even more money on curriculum. There are tons of methods and free homeschool resources you can take advantage of over the break.
Here are some of our favorites:
One easy way to make sure your kids don’t get sucked into the homeschool summer slide is to school year-round. Instead of pushing to get your schoolwork finished by May, slow down a little and stretch it out through June and July.
You can try teaching only 3-4 days a week throughout the year or even taking more frequent breaks instead of one big one over the summer. Doing this doesn’t cost any extra money because you’re just using the same curriculum you’ve already paid for, and it takes a lot of pressure off you and your child to “finish” by a certain date.
Keep up with current events
These websites offer kid-friendly news articles on a variety of topics that are perfect for sparking discussions. You can use these articles to help your kids practice their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills while still staying up-to-date on what’s happening in the world around them.
They might also spark some interesting projects or rabbit trails to go down.
Hit the library
One of my all-time favorite ways to beat the homeschool summer slide is to hit the library. It’s a fabulous free resource full of books and local activities.
Not only can your child pick up some fun books to keep up their reading skills, but also be sure to take advantage of any summer programs the library might be offering. These can often include free concerts, classes, and other activities that help your kids explore new interests and meet other homeschoolers in the area.
You can also check to see if your library offers any online resources like Hoopla or Overdrive that you can access from home. This is a great way to get books without even having to leave the house!
Explore curriculum free trials
Another smart way to help your kids avoid the summer slide is to explore free trials of different curriculums. This is a win-win for both you and your child.
Your child gets to stay current with the knowledge you spent all last year working so hard to teach them while you get to try different curriculums out for free to see whether or not you want to invest in them in the future.
Honestly, it’s one of my favorite ways to keep the kids busy over the summer.
One of the best ways to try out curriculums for free is to sign up for Homeschool Buyers Club.
Homeschool Buyers Club is a website where you can get access to homeschool curricula at a deep discount. Over the summer, they are offering free trials on some top-notch curriculums.
Here’s a list of the curriculums you can try out for free:
- Thinkwell Free Trial
- Reading Skills Assessment Ongoing
- HomeSchoolPiano Trial
- Code Avengers Free Trial
- Kids Guitar Academy Trial
- Mr. Henry’s Music World Freebie
- Nessy.com Free Trial
- Mark Kistler Art Lessons
- Creta Class 7 Day Trial
- Math Mammoth PDFs
- Reading Eggs
- Smile and Learn
- History Alive Grades 6-12
- History Alive Grades 1-6
- Vocabulary Quest
- Dynamic Earth Learning (Aquaponics Course)
Head to the Homeschool Buyers Club website to take advantage of one of these free trials.
It’s definitely worth signing up for Homeschool Buyers Club (beyond the free trials of curriculum) simply for the discounts you can get on the regular curriculum you were already planning on buying.
They have discounts up to 87% on some of the curriculums they offer. Plus, you get 3 free gifts with any order. (Free and gifts are some of my favorite words, so you already know I’m signed up! Lol)
- FREE Printable Dinosaur Word Search for Kids
- FREE Printable Homeschool Book Log – Reading Log for Kids
- FREE Christmas Alphabet Printable Worksheets for Preschool & Kindergarten
- Editable Homeschool Schedule Template – 15+ Free Printables
- Is Elephango Worth It? Online Homeschool Review
Keep a nature journal
Another fun way to beat back the homeschool summer slide is to keep a nature journal. Take the kids outside a few days a week and have them write, draw, and take notes on whatever they observe.
You could then take your journals to the library and try to find books to learn more about the things you observed or take them on a field trip to a nearby nature center. Nature journals are also a great way to work on those writing and observation skills.
This is a super easy activity that doesn’t cost anything but time, and it’s one the kids will love too!
Write letters to extended family members
A unique way to help beat back the homeschool summer slide and sneak in some more of those writing and language arts lessons is to have your kids write letters to extended family members. Each week you can pick a new family member and write them a letter.
Family members who live farther away often love getting letters in the mail. Your kids will get some writing practice and it’s a great way to connect with family members who don’t live close by.
Plus, they’ll often write back, which can be exciting when your kids start getting letters in the mail.
Start a family garden
A really hands-on way to help beat the homeschool summer slide is to start a family garden. Now, this might sound like it’s just digging in the dirt, but there are so many ways to sneak learning in.
Have your child help research how to start the garden. You can hit the library and look up books on backyard gardens.
Then have your kids help you plan out what all is needed. How many of each vegetable will you be planting? How much room do they all need? Where in your backyard is everything going to go? How far apart should the rows be for each plant?
Not only will they be practicing math, reading, writing, and problem-solving skills, but it will all be in a natural process that speaks to how children learn best.
Play free learning games online
For those days when you have zero energy to put toward teaching your kids, an easy option is to let your kids play free learning games online. Websites like ABCya, Khan Academy Kids, and Turtle Diary are fabulous resources for beating back the homeschool summer slide.
Your kids will be entertained, they’ll be secretly reinforcing those skills you know they’ll need for the upcoming year, and you get the chance to sit back and enjoy some of your summer vacation.
A win-win all around.
Take a virtual field trip
A good way to avoid the homeschool summer slide without spending any money is to take a virtual field trip. Hop on the computer and explore new places without having to worry about buying tickets for the whole crew or getting out in the heat.
There are all sorts of places you can visit online. Some popular ones include:
- American Museum of Natural History
- National Zoo
- Google Arts and Culture
- San Diego Zoo live animal cams
Learn a foreign language
They offer free foreign language lessons. You can also find free printables and resources online to help you get started. Learning a new language is a great way to boost brain power, plus it can be a lot of fun.
Make up your own mad libs
My last suggestion for how to void the homeschool summer slide is to make up your own mad libs. I’ve done this activity with my kids, and I can’t tell you how much fun it is.
Although you can find free ones to fill out online, it’s a lot more fun to make them up on your own. Have your kids write out a quick paragraph. Then erase a few of the nouns, adjectives, or verbs in each sentence.
Then take turns filling in the blanks with all sorts of crazy words. Once you’re done, read the story out loud. It’s guaranteed to get some laughs while also working on plenty of reading and language arts skills.
Avoid the Homeschool Summer Slide, but Make Sure You Don’t Do Too Much!
I hope I’ve given you a good list of free resources and activities to help you beat back the homeschool summer slide. But I do want to caution you to make sure that you don’t do too much.
It’s easy as homeschool moms to feel a lot of pressure to make sure our kids don’t fall behind, but it’s important to take a step back and remember that summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation.
So, while it’s great to beat the homeschool summer slide, make sure you don’t put so much pressure on yourself (or your kids) that you lose sight of what summer is all about – taking a break!
Conclusion to How to Beat Back the Homeschool Summer Slide
There are so many great ways to beat back the homeschool summer slide without spending any money. With a little creativity and effort, you can keep your kids learning all summer long.
And don’t forget to take advantage of the free curriculum trials from Homeschool Buyers Club. Whether you use them to get a jump-start on next year or to ‘try before you buy’ with that curriculum you’ve been eyeing, they’re a great way to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer!
What are your favorite ways to beat back the homeschool summer slide? Let us know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Pinterest for more homeschooling tips and advice!
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Candice is a mom of 3 who has been homeschooling since 2013. She has an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Studies and cares deeply about helping other parents get the information and resources they need to help them homeschool their children with confidence.