Summer Homeschooling:

5 Ways to Not Waste Your Summer!

Water Ballon Quote

If only this was all that had to happen…

Although huge water balloon fights are an awesome and a pivotal part of any summer there other ways you can make sure that your summer is not wasted. We all know that summer’s need to be fun. Kid’s need a break and a time to just be kids without wondering if they are “supposed” to be learning or not. The warm weather also allows families to get outside, take trips, enjoy the water, have water balloon fights, enjoy slip-n-slides in the backyard and everything else that makes summer awesome. We want you to have that, but we also want your kids to keep their minds active too.

With these five ideas we hope to provide you with ways where you can balance your summer between pure family fun and opportunities to learn.

1. Summer Reading Lists or Challenges.

Summer Reading List

“A good book is an event in my life.” Stendhal

This is a long understood idea, but sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. Summer reading lists are easy for kids that love to read. Give them a list of classic books or more popular books. You can give them some voice in which books appear in the list or make the list yourself. If your child loves to read they won’t need any convincing or a reward. Summer can’t be spent entirely outside so this is a great way to keep them learning and stimulated. There are so many lists to choose from! Make sure you explore all your options for books your child should read.

If you child is not an AVID reader this may seem challenging or not worth the time. There are a lot of kids that are much more excited about climbing trees, swimming, playing sports or fishing and it can seem daunting to make your child sit down and read. In this situation we recommend that you’re not so demanding that you make their summer miserable for them! Summer is the perfect time for them to be outside. With that being said reading is still important and really valuable. We would recommend that you make the list smaller and more manageable, and then create a reward system. For however many books they read they get a certain reward: ice cream, day with mom/dad, more time in the pool or at a lake etc. Your goal is to foster a love for reading and you will not foster a love for reading by shoving it down your kid’s throats. On the other hand if you encourage them to read by rewarding it you may soon see that they will discover what a joy it is to read!

2. Family Vacations Involving History or Culture.

Summertime is always the time to travel. Families around the country are planning their long weekends, day-trips and even the epic family road trips. We do not want to tell you HOW to vacation but we would like to point out that there are ways to use vacation to stimulate your kids educationally in such a way that it doesn’t feel like school!

One of the best ways to do that is to plan to visit museums, national parks or historic sites during your vacation. Your kids will see new things and learn about history and culture while also enjoying time together as a family and making memories. Another way to approach this is to be a part of some local or even national cultural experiences. If you live near a big city these happen all the time. In larger cities there tends to be a lot of cultural diversity and because of that festivals abound celebrating different cultures.

3. Shorter Unit or Nature Studies.

Short unit studies are a great way to take a relaxed approach to doing some school work. You could spend 3 weeks doing a nature study. You could spend 4 weeks covering a very specific historical time or event. It also gives you the opportunity to experience something you wouldn’t have time for during the year. This is a no pressure (on your or your kids!) way to do some real school sprinkled into your summer.

4. Teach Practical Skills and Life Skills

father-son-shaving

Shaving is a life skill, but only for those that have hair. 

Homeschooling has a huge advantage over public schooling in that homeschool students can help their families and parents on a daily basis by being productive and learning hands-on skills that will enable them to succeed in real life and in the future. Cooking or doing laundry, changing the oil, mowing the lawn, gardening, cleaning around the house, woodwork, basic repairs and so much more! There are always more skills to learn. This opportunity expands even more in the Summer. As Mom and Dad you can focus on teaching your kids to be productive, to problem-solve, to be well-rounded people through the learning of life skills. Summer is perfect for this.

5. Make Memories! (The most important!)

The most important thing about summer is that it becomes about family and making memories. If you don’t finish your reading list (who does??) and you don’t go on that epic educational vacation but you laughed a lot, spent a lot of time together, and made a lot of memories, you have succeeded!

You can only do so much and sometimes we, and our kids, need that epic summer of absolute fun! You are in the perfect position as a parent to sense what your family needs. Come up with a game plan as a couple. Figure out what you want to do, and if you need to bail out on it halfway through your summer, do it. Have a summer full of fun and memories.