Tuesday, April 7, 2009

10 Ways to Sneak Some School In This Summer

We are counting down the days to summer break, are you? Some home school families continue schoolwork through the summer months. Some don't. Some seem as though they don't do school through the summer, but really they are. We are in the latter group. My girls are convinced that when June rolls around, they are on summer break, when in actuality, they are still learning. Shhh... don't let my secret out. How do I accomplish this?

1. I encourage my kids to explore their areas of interest. My oldest daughter spent last summer exploring photography by taking pictures. She also learned to manipulate pictures in Photoshop. My youngest read books and spent time outside with her animals and exploring nature.
Related post:
Too Busy Living to Start School

2. I help my kids develop their creative minds by doing art and craft projects together. Summer gives us an opportunity to do the art and craft projects we didn't get to through the school year. A few summers ago, my girls and I learned to make handcrafted jewelry with the intent of giving the items as gifts. From there, we started selling at craft fairs and now we have our own on-line handcrafted jewelry site, Kit and Caboodle Shop. The learning has progressed from developing a skill to learning business principles.
Related Post:
The Kit and Caboodle Shop.

3. I encourage summer sports. This summer the girls are planning to join the Parks and Recreation Department's summer volleyball league. It will give them the opportunity to learn team building skills, to work as a team player, and how to be a good sport.

4. We talk about current events around the dinner table. This has been a great way to get my kids interested in what is happening around them. It also opens the door to teach ethics and values by discussing the current world view and how that differs from a Biblical world view.

5. We make dessert together. My girls love sweets and are easily encouraged to help out in the kitchen if dessert is involved. Measuring ingredients helps them with math and when my children were younger, stirring, mixing and pouring was a good way to help develop their motor skills.

6. We go on nature walks. Observing nature creates a genuine sense of curiosity in how God's world works which leads to science exploration.

7. We plant a garden. There is so much to learn when planting a garden whether it be a flower or vegetable garden. When designing a flower garden, we've discussed focal points, color combinations, and other design principles to create a visually pleasing garden, what plants need to grow, flower varieties, perennials vs. annuals, evergreen vs. deciduous, how seeds germinate, how flowers reproduce. As for a vegetable garden, we've discussed vegetable varieties, growing seasons, how to estimate and measure distances between rows, plants and depth of seeds.

8. We visit an art gallery, museum or zoo. These are wonderful places to view new and interesting things. They are great learning resources that definitely don't seem like learning.

9. We travel to a new place. We usually take a summer vacation and we make a point to see and experience something new if it is somewhere we've been before, or visit a whole new part of the country.
Related Posts:
Home School Field Trip to Egypt, We're on Vacation, But Not From Learning

10. I let them play games. We like playing board games as a family during the heat of the summer. Playing games is a wonderful learning experience and depending on the game you play, your kids can learn many different things: Battleship for coordinates, chess and checkers for strategy and planning, scrabble for spelling and vocabulary, and the list goes on. Jena from Yarns of the Heart has a great post on playing video games (even through the regular school year).

I know there are more sneaky learning opportunities out there...will you share yours?


  1. I love to watch my daughter who is an Early Childhood teacher (by trade - now a stay at home Mom) with her 4 year old. Teaching all the time. But my favorite thing I love to watch is when he gets a hissy fit. She mearly says "Sorry Brady, you're my 350th kid"

  2. I love it when we have to chance to visit a place relevant to something studied during the school year. Last summer we visited the Anasazi ruins at Mesa Verde, Colorado. My daughter got to climb down into a Kiva. So cool!

  3. Liz, I remember my grandparents taking me to see the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings when I was around 8 years old. I still remember being there. I think experiencing our school lessons help "cement" the learning and make it come alive.

  4. Thank you for the tips. We will be doing homeschool through the summer this year due to our deschooling time, but, God willing, we will not be "in school" after this summer. However, after years of public school, I know that if they aren't learning, they get BORED!!!! This gives me some great ideas on how to handle the summers down the road to keep learning going, even if we aren't officially doing school.

  5. I really love your blog. You have so many positive things to say. I am all psyched up now for the summer, you have some great ideas that I will try use with my 3 kiddos, ages 6, 4 and 1.

  6. Hey, I saw you on Problogger and wanted to check out your blog.

    I don't home school, but love to read how others do it. I too like to continue learning in the summer with simple things like nature and crafts. Thanks for the great post - I really like your blog!


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