The following post is from Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers:
It’s almost here – summer break! It’s the time of year most of us look forward to for all the fun, outdoor activities and a break from school. Even those who homeschool year round often enjoy a lighter load during the summer months.
Though we look forward to a break from the normal routine, many families thrive on maintaining some semblance of normal. Homeschooling families know that learning never stops.
Well, that’s what we like to say, anyway. I’ll be honest – summer at my house usually consists of too much TV-watching and video-game playing. I’m okay with that, though. We take a fairly short summer break and my kids like the mental downtime.
Okay, I tried to sound like a good homeschool mom. The truth is, I like the mental downtime, too! That being said, I know that many families like to make sure that there is plenty of summer learning going on during the school break. So, I’ve got some suggestions for some low-key ways to make sure that summer learning is happening.
The warm summer months can be a great time for some field trips – either the extended variety or local points of interest. If you’re a homeschool family who will be traveling this summer, I probably don’t have to remind you to look for opportunities to explore points of interest during your travels.
One of our most memorable field trips – a visit to St. Augustine, Florida – was the result of a couple of extra nights’ stay and a detour on the way home from our “real” vacation destination.
Some ideas of places to explore include:
- Historic sites
- Wildlife reserves
- Museums (especially the living history museums)
- Places that you’ve read about or seen on TV
It’s also fun to explore all those local spots that may get overlooked because they’re so familiar to you. A stay-cation can provide fantastic, frugal learning opportunities.
There is a summer camp for just about everything these days. Day camps can provide learning opportunities for the kids and
a break planning time for mom. What are your kids’ interests? Ideas to consider include:
- Sports – archery, bowling, swimming, gymnastics
- Hobbies – art, photography, dance, drama, writing
- Animals – zoos, aquariums, horses
- Clubs – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls
I’m certain there are countless others. What camps do your kids enjoy?
Summer also makes a wonderful time to try interest-led learning. Let your kids take charge of their summer learning by following their interests. Pick up some great books and videos from the library. Watch documentaries. Delve into hands-on projects. Let them look to YouTube for tutorials on everything from learning to play an instrument to taking up crochet.
Unit studies can also provide a wonderful opportunity for interest-led learning for kids (or parents) who need a bit more framework. Let the kids choose the topic and a quick Google search will usually result in lots of great resources for exploring the topic without doing all the legwork.
Most libraries offer summer reading programs. You can also check with local bookstores. If you can’t find a summer reading program, create your own!
Do the extras
You know all those things that tend to fall by the wayside during the school year? Summer is a great time to do them! Some ideas include:
- Hands-on projects
- Science experiments – Did you get behind during the school year? Catch up!
- Nature study
- Poetry study
- Creative writing and/or journaling
- P. E. – Seriously, get outside and get active! (Take advantage of the early morning hours when it’s cooler and be sure to hydrate.)
Summer is also a wonderful time to focus on life skills. Teach your kids to:
- Clean the bathrooms
- Wash their clothes
- Change the oil or a flat tire
- Make their beds
Taking the time to focus on new skills for each of your children while you have more free time can go a long way toward making your next school year go more smoothly. You’ll have competent help getting household chores completed once school is in full swing.
There are lots of ways to squeeze in some summer learning in fun, painless ways. What are some of your suggestions?
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photo credit pixabay
|Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.|
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