Summer! We all look forward to it all year. Now it’s here and you might be thinking of the fall semester and possibly wondering if you shouldn’t just keep doing school work through the summer?
- What if they forget all that they’ve learned in the past year?
- What if I will have SUCH a hard time getting them back to do school work when summer ends?
- What if I could get a head start on some school work for next semester, so we can be more relaxed during the year?
- Or should we all just take a nice long break?!
There are no easy answers for these questions, because it will be different for each homeschooling family. There are some universal things that you could consider though if you would like to keep the educational juices flowing. Here are some summer ideas, some of which we’ve been doing this summer.
1. Go on many fieldtrips during the summer and plan ahead a few days so you can study a bit about where you’re heading. The great thing about the internet is that you can easily google any place you’re heading to and immediately find some fun activities, even lesson plans or just some information about the place, some history etc. That way you can know a bit about the place before even getting there. You can know where to go and what there is to see and then, while on the fieldtrip, you can re-enforce it in your children’s minds. This could be day trips, short road trips or long road trips. For example, if you’re going to go visit family in a different city or state, see what is nearby to go explore, or better yet all the way there, you can do frequent stops at interesting destinations, if you’re driving.
If, for example, you are going to the beach for the day, you can look up some Science topics related to the beach or marine biology.
The bottom line is that we are always learning and whether it is summer and we are officially “doing school” or not, your children can still be learning every day. It just takes a bit of a brain adjustment on our part to focus a bit more on the educational side of things and some effort to read up a bit about the topic before hand as well as some planning, but it’s well worth it!
2. Something else you might want to consider for the summer is using some games as part of your day. Children learn so much through playing games. Not only do they learn good sportsmanship, even in the games that aren’t designed to be strictly educational, but they can also learn a lot of skills while playing games. For example, playing Addition bingo re-enforces and retains addition facts over the summer. Of course there are a myriad of games on the market for perfecting some Math & money skills e.g. Zeus on the Loose, Sum Swamp, Shut the Box, Monopoly, Cashflow for Kids, Making Cents, Numbers Sequence, and many more.
We can also keep language skills sharpened over the summer with games like Scrabble, Pick Two, Lingo, etc.
If you want some review of Science concepts, there are games like Life Cycle, Power Surge and more.
For Social Studies, you might want to review States and Capitals with States & Capital Sequence or Landmarks Bingo.
For Critical Thinking and Pattern Recognition, we love Square Up, Blokus, Chess, Checkers, etc.
There are also a myriad of computer games available for all these areas of study and for all different levels. There are even free online sites that have games for kids to play to reinforce skills for example Starfall.com.
Don’t forget the game systems like the Wii and DS, which now have some great games like Big Brain Academy or a series of Brain Quest games. We also got Dance Dance Revolution for those hot days where you just can’t bear to exercise outside.
Learning can be fun with games at any time of the year, but for a change of pace in the summer, it is a perfect solution.
You can even institute a weekly game day with friends.
3. If none of these options sound too enticing to you, you might want to go to your local library and everyone checks out some great books and then you can start a daily reading time for an hour or more a day or if your kids don’t love reading, maybe start with 20 minutes and build up their stamina for reading. It can be such a relaxing activity! The reading time can even be done on the beach or near a pool to make it even more relaxing. To get one of my children excited about reading, we went to Starbucks, got a drink and sat and read there.
4. If you never have time in the semester to teach your children life skills like cooking or cleaning, the summer might be a great time! Who knows, come fall, you might be out of your cooking duties!
5. Get some good exercise habits established while you have the time! Summer is the perfect time to swim and work on skills in the pool, plus early morning and late afternoon bike rides or tennis games or even just a nice long walk can do wonders for reducing stress and helping you relax this summer. Where we live in Southern California, it is much too hot during the middle of the day to do much else outside, but in some parts of California, where it doesn’t get as hot, you might be able to think of some other active fun during your day.
6. If you prefer to keep up with some worksheets, there are many summer bridge activity books available at the book stores as well as teaching supply stores.
7. If you still feel like there is nothing above for you to implement, maybe you can consider educational TV programs/DVD’s. There are many educational channels like the History channel, Animal Planet and many more on TV and libraries have hundreds of educational DVD’s. Some of my favorites are produced by Schlessinger Media.
I hope that you found this useful and if you have any other suggestions, feel free to email them to me