Summer can mean just as much of a break for homeschooling moms as it does for their kids. We don’t face the same fear as school parents about having our kids home all the time suddenly. Yet just because school is out doesn’t mean that the learning is over. As homeschoolers, we know learning happens all the time, even when there aren’t any books involved. So here are my favourite summer learning ideas.
Join the Summer Reading Program at the Library
Most libraries host a summer reading program, which offer incentives to encourage kids to read. We’ve done this for the past two years. My girls love taking their book logs to the library to get stamped by the librarian. Even kids who aren’t reading yet can participate by having Mom or Dad read them stories.
Libraries often offer other summer programs, such as story times, book clubs, camp outs, and more. Check your local library for a schedule and plan to participate in a few events. Or just make a habit of dropping by the library once a week to find new books to read.
Play Board Games
We love playing board games and many are educational as well as fun. Sunshine recently covered coordinates in math, so I pulled out Battleships and played a game with her. Monopoly teaches about money, banking and interest. Sorry teaches counting. Scrabble teaches both word skills and math skills (calculating double and triple word and letter scores). Quirkle teaches patterns.
Most board games teach strategy, taking turns, and being a good sport. I have fond memories of playing card games and board games with family members growing up. Games often led to hilarious antics, forming family bonds as well as brain power. So if the kids are bored this summer, point to a board game—or teach them a new one.
Take a Field Trip
Summer is a great time to get out and explore your city. Some outdoor museums, like the Burnaby Village Museum here in Vancouver, are open only during the summer months. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting school done before going out for the day, so make it a day-trip. Or plan a longer vacation around your kids’ interests.
Take an Online Course
Summer is a great time to let your child pursue interests that may not fit into the regular school year. For example, your child could take online art classes or (during an election year) learn more about the presidential race. Techie Homeschool Mom offers a variety of online unit studies that children can follow at their own pace—keeping learning going during the summer!
Take a Hike
We’ve had fun this summer getting out on various family-friend hikes around greater Vancouver with some fellow homeschoolers. Going as a group helps the kids stay motivated (they’re less likely to whine in front of their friends!). If you live in areas where bears or other animals are a concern, groups are also safer. Plus, you can learn about new areas of the city by seeing where your friends like to hang out.
Enroll in a Day Camp
Sunshine has been doing summer day camps for years. These are a great way to get her involved in activities that are harder to do as homeschool students, like sports or theatre. This year, she is doing a sewing class and Lily is doing a pottery class. They’ll also do a musical theatre class together. They love trying new things and meeting new friends. I love having a bit of variety to our routine and more time to spend with their other sisters or with my writing.
Vancouver recreation centres offer a wide range of fun learning activities and day camps for all ages, at reasonable prices. To find other options, ask your fellow homeschoolers what they’re kids are doing. Watch for advertisements in your community or in the city rec guides. Or simply google “summer camps” with your city name.
Consider your kids’ strengths and interests, but also try to push them. Summer camps are a great way to try something new without having to commit to it for the long-term. Sign them up with a friend (preferably one nearby so you can arrange carpooling with the other mom!).
What are your favourite summer learning ideas? How do you keep learning going during the summer?
For more summer learning ideas, check out the Canadian Homeschooler.