We welcome Jen Steed of Happy Little Homemaker to TAN Homeschool.
My husband & I are big proponents of living real life in both our home & schooling.To us, it makes perfect sense to “do school” all year round, including summer. Whether you homeschool or not, here are 5 ways we like to incorporate learning into our summer while still having time to catch up with grandparents, relatives and spur-of-the-moment playdates!
While not the most fun thing we do, I always start with the basics. Every summer, we do a summer bridge workbook as well as some extra work in whatever subject we have been struggling with.
It only takes 10-15 minutes a day to keep a subject “fresh.” Last year, we worked on catching up on math. This year, the “extra” is cursive. She will really need to have that skill next year as more writing is required.
Find a set of worksheets, lab guide, book, computer program or whatever the student needs to keep that knowledge in front of them during the summer. It doesn’t need to be daily but it should be frequent enough that it’s not forgotten.
A few months ago, a British man wrote an article where he requested that parents stop reading aloud to their children. Apparently, children who are read aloud to for as little as 15 minutes per day are given an advantage as much as sending a child to an elite private school. And this is true for children of ALL ages, not just the little ones.
Luckily, it’s the easiest way to sneak in learning :). If you have little ones, it won’t be quiet. If have older ones, there may be some protesting, but find an awesome book and spend 15 minutes reading as a family.
- Find a time. I like to tie mine to food; it keeps their mouths busy & they eat 100 times a day anyway.
- Find a book. We are reading from The Book House and The Story of the Bible right now. If you need suggestions, check out Mater Amabilis for great book lists.
- Be persistent. Nothing new comes easy. If it is hard at first keep going. If it’s still hard, try a different time or book. The Read Aloud Revival has great resources, an awesome Facebook group for ideas and help to make it a reality.
Live the Liturgical Year
Something about summer just makes me want to celebrate. Other than Independence Day & Flag Day, there isn’t much to celebrate. Or is there?
Perhaps you can make an extra effort to live the liturgical year during the summer months.
- First Fridays. Follow up with donuts or even ice cream after Mass. Repeat.
- Feast Days & Solemnities. CatholicAllYear has a great printable graphic of the major feasts and Marian celebrations, too.
- Saints Days. On my blog, I share a saint picture book each month along with a handful of food and craft ideas.
If you have older kids, you could put THEM in charge of coming up with ideas for a feast or saints day. You could even bookmark pre-approved pin boards for saint feast day ideas.
Games & More
Another way I incorporate learning into summer is to use games and other fun “tools” I never remember to get out during the school year. Here are a few of our favorite summer learning tools for extra hot or rainy days.
- Card & Board Games. You can reinforce everything from religion to math to geography with a game. The family plays together, learns and you can find a ton for free online.
- Puzzle Books. Highlights is one of my favorite places for educational and fun puzzle books. My oldest ADORES the geography kits—Top Secret Adventures and Which Way USA?. They also make and sell bundles of Highlights puzzle books at discount through Homeschool Buyers Co-op on a regular basis.
- Educational Toys. We aren’t huge technology fans for our kids, but we do love the Leapster brand of games for car trips and have a handful of apps on our phone for things like long doctor visits.
Our crew also has a ton of fun with Hot Dots & Hot Dot Jr You can get sets of the pen & books by grade level as well as boxes of cards on a myriad of subjects including math, language arts,and science.
Thirst for Knowledge Projects
Summer is also a fabulous time to explore any burning desires for exploration. What are your kids interested in?
Do they want to start a business? Cook? Explore a new art medium? Learn an instrument? I urge you to say, “yes” to those kind of learning requests whenever possible.
So far this summer, my girls have started a fairy garden and planted an herb garden all on their own. Now that grandma is back from Florida, sewing lessons will begin soon, too.
How about you? Do have family summer learning projects or traditions?
If you have any questions or would like to share your own stories, photos and ideas with us, please feel free to leave a comment below or write to us via email or social media. Don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!
About Jen Steed