Summer is traditionally a time of rest and relaxation from the grueling school year schedule. Many families find the summer months pass quickly. Self-motivated children find ways to stay busy and learn more casually; the rest of us find our children have too much free time on their hands. Honestly, I doubt I am the only mom who cringed when she heard the words, “Mom! I’m bored!” Not guaranteed to completely erase summer boredom, these 3 summer hacks are a great way to guide children into learning!
Homeschool Summer Hack #1: Reading
Join a Summer Reading Program! Opinions vary about the significance of rewarding our children for reading, and this is a personal decision. My family found summer reading programs a wonderful motivation and not only because of the cheesy (or not so cheesy) prizes. Summer reading programs motivated us to prioritize our weekly trip to the library as well as seek out hidden treasures at local yard sales. Opportunities for summer reading programs abound. Here are a few that we took part in over the years: local library, Pizza Hut Book It, Six Flags Read to Succeed, and our local Christian and chain bookstores. No matter which you choose to join, allow children to select and read the books they are interested in and not ones you select or that are tied to your history, science or other subject studies. Reading ownership happens when children are free to choose books of interest. Families may wish to predetermine books that are suitable to read and share with children before heading out to your book source. Help children discover the importance of reading for fun and learning.
Homeschool Summer Hack #2: Gardening
Another great learning opportunity and homeschool hack is to plant a Square Foot Garden. It is completely fine to plant other types of gardens; Square Foot Gardening has a well deserved reputation for easy care and a successful harvest (both of which are necessary to engage children in gardening). Gardens are wonderful outdoor activities that reinforce science and help children eat healthier. Encourage children to select the vegetables they want to grow. Older children can research soil types, sun and shade requirements, water requirements and harvest times. Younger children may require more help with this activity, but will be fascinated with the seed to harvest growth. This project is not just limited to families with large yards. Live in an apartment? Grow a garden on your patio or deck in planters. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce and other salad greens, potatoes and various herbs are wonderful options for container gardening. Eat healthy this summer by growing your own food. You may be surprised to see your picky eater enjoy something they nurtured and grew.
Homeschool Summer Hack #3: Treasure Hunt!
Join (or create) a Science or History Treasure Hunt. The inspiration for this comes from a Science Treasure Hunt that was hosted in our area by the local museum. Children are given a passport type booklet with various locations to visit and answers brief questions. At the end of summer, a Science themed party was held. A quick web search will reveal if a Science Treasure Hunt is available in your area. Not able to find one? While not ideal for all families, there are numerous online science scavenger hunts available, including this one at Education World. Time permitting; create a treasure hunt experience for children, selecting a variety of locations to visit. One summer, rather than taking part in our local event, I created a History Treasure Hunt which my children loved. Beginning with our state tourism office, we requested brochures on historical sites throughout our state. Looking through the brochures, my children picked 6 different locations to visit. One day a week during the summer, we would pack lunches and spend the day at the historical site. This is also a fabulous pre-vacation activity: contact the tourism office for your planned trip. Shelf the dull textbooks and let children experience science and history!