Using Summer Camps As School Days

Depending on where you live, you might have to show for 180 days of school. Homeschoolers love their freedom, but most believe following the law of the land is extremely important. In Tennessee, we must turn in an attendance record with 180 days of school, made up of at least four hours of learning each.

Tunes and Tales cloggers and girl

My daughter wanted a picture with the cloggers from Tunes and Tales.

That’s right. No matter where you register – with your local school district or an umbrella school – you must keep a record of your school days every year. It’s really not that hard. Everywhere you register, they will hand you a form, so you don’t have to scour the internet for the best and most appropriate attendance sheet. 

You can fill it out daily, at the end of the month, or whenever. Some people I know just check off dates until they get to 180. Personally, I fill it out twice a year: once at the end of the first semester, during the Christmas holidays, and then at the end of the year. If I feel ambitious, I may check in with it three or four times but it’s not a time-consuming activity.

Sometimes parents who are thinking about homeschooling might be intimidated by the administration of the whole process. Don’t be. It’s not hard to homeschool. Record-keeping may not be your forte, but how hard can it be to check boxes on a form? And how long does it take? Five minutes?

What’s really exciting is that you start seeing learning opportunities in everything and then you relax. You got this. It’s very easy to get 180 days in between July and May.

This year, I realized that summer camps can be used as school days for the following school year, thus taking off the pressure I may be tempted to feel to “produce” 180 days of school. Not that we don’t have enough curriculum to come up with that amount of learning time.

But isn’t it nice to know we start school on Day 21? My children attended a 5-day String Camp, a 4-day Soccer Camp, and a 5-day Science Camp this summer. That’s 14 days right there. Then, one attended a 5-day Adventure Camp with lots of physical education activities, crafts, music and Bible education. The other one attended a 4-day Princess Camp with tumbling, music, crafts and dance lessons.

While our son was at Adventure Camp, we told our daughter she was in “Mommy Camp,” so she would not get too upset. Adventure Camp is for ages 7-9 and it was just too hard for her five-year-old mind to accept that she did not get to go. So I took her places around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg – lots of field trips – and then we read a lot, too. Could I count those days as school? Sure. Will I count those days? Nah. I will just consider them my memory-making days with her.

With all the daily reading and music practice that we do, one could argue every day of the summer vacation was “school day” but I will not go there. I will just consider 20 days of learning toward the next school year. This relieves me of the pressure to start this week or on August 1. We will probably start on the 15th.

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