Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Learning While On Summer Break!

As the school year comes to a close, I am more excited than the kids to get a summer break. I love homeschooling and all that it offers, but I have to admit that it is very draining. Summer vacation gives all of us time to recharge, to take a mental break, and it gives me time to plan for the upcoming school year. Being a big reader of homeschooling blogs and threads, I see many fellow homeschoolers who school year round. I applaud them, I really do! I can see the benefits of year round school. I still don't think that it is for us, however. I would rather take a break, but include some leisure, educational work, and activities just to keep the mind sharp. If you are like me and don't desire to school all year long, but still want to prevent the kid's brains from turning to complete mush for 3 months, what can you do? Below are some ideas to keep the kids learning while enjoying a break.

1. Watch Netflix, PBS, or the History Channel. There are so many great educational videos for kids on Netflix, and the History Channel always has something interesting to offer. "The Magic School Bus" teaches science in a fun way. You can also find documentaries on the Vikings, The Civil War, Julius Caesar, The Byzantine Empire etc. on television. Ask questions when it is over, if you want to truly make it a lesson.

2. Go to the Zoo or Museum. The kids will love a trip to the zoo or museum and will probably forget that they are learning. If it makes you feel better, print out a scavenger hunt and make it a learning activity. For the older kids, have them write a prompt..."What I Enjoyed Most on Our Trip to the Zoo or Museum!".

3. Go to the park or play outside. Yes, outside play is educational and healthy. Learn a new sport, play an organized game with family and friends, or catch fireflies.

4. Cook! Have the kids follow a recipe and create a creative dish. Following directions and measuring the ingredients are great ways to learn while having fun.

5. Workbooks. There is really nothing "fun" about workbooks per se, but you can do a page or two when they are bored. Always purchase workbooks for the upcoming grade level (unless they need to go back and review). To make this a little more fun, let them write on a dry erase board instead of the workbook! If you really want to win the parent award, let them write on the windows or glass doors with dry erase markers (it wipes right off).

6. Puzzles, board games, and coloring books. I know these seem a little old fashion, but they are still great ways to beat boredom and stimulate the mind. Make it a puzzle or coloring contest!

7. Build something! Whether it is Legos, blocks, play dough, or cardboard boxes, be creative and build a masterpiece.

8. Computer Games. The internet has many online educational, fun websites. You can even learn Chess online. Better yet, learn coding and build your very own video game!

9.  Read! Get the kids involved in a library reading program. Let the kids choose their favorite books and get prizes for reading. This is a great way to build a love for reading and learning.

10. Spend family time. Enjoying time together not only teaches socialization skills, builds character, and teaches values, but you are also making memories in the process.

11. Learn a new language or practice what you have learned. Practice your foreign language skills by speaking it in the house. Say hello, ask for something to eat, say good bye, give each other french names, etc. I promise that this will be fun!

There are many more things that I could list, but you get the idea. If you incorporate these into your day during the summer, not only will you have fun, you will also be learning in the process.

Have a great summer!