Have you ever wanted to include some homeschooling lessons into your summer break, but didn’t know how to embark on this adventure without the kids thinking you were ruining their summer? Enter the term “Funschooling”! My definition of the word funschooling is turning everyday activities and adventures into a homeschooling lesson. I am going to share with you some ways that we like to incorporate funschooling into our summer days.
This is an activity that my husband likes to plan with the kids. It involves using a GPS device to enter coordinates to the location of a “cache”, a hidden treasure. These geocaches are found all over the United States and the world with over 1 million listed on geocaching web sites. You drive to the location and then walk to the exact location and look for a little treasure box. Once you find the cache, you sign the logbook found within and you can take a treasure from the box and add one of your own for the next treasure hunter to find. We usually use small trinkets like coins, bracelets, stickers, pins, etc. When we get back home, we log onto our favorite geocaching website and log our find. This helps us keep track of the ones we have already found. This activity is a great way to get outdoors in the summer and have some fun together as a family or with friends. You can teach a geography lesson to the kids before you leave explaining latitude and longitude. You could turn the activity into a nature walk or take nature journals for sketching. Many times outdoor activities like these cause my kids to become curious about something they saw on the journey, which leads to more research when we get home.
– Geocaching Resources
This activity makes for a great educational opportunity. In our area we have an exotic animal rehabilitation center, a zoo, and a nature center that are within easy driving distance. The nature center and rehabilitation center offer free admission and present awesome opportunities for learning in a hands-on way. We have found that the employees love to engage with animal lovers and are happy to answer our questions. We have scheduled field trips and invited friends to go along and we have been able to enjoy lectures on many different topics related to animals and nature. We have also learned some helpful information about how to identify poisonous animals that live in our area such as spiders and snakes. This allows us to get up close and personal with many of the animals and plants we read about in our science texts and we are learning important life skills along the way. If you can’t get to one of these locations, we have found that animal cams are a very exciting way to see animals that you might never get to see otherwise. Check out the suggested webcams below.
– Zoo and Webcam Resources
- Get in the Kitchen –
Cook up a batch of playdough, bake cookies, make homemade bread, or do a science experiment. There are so many things that you can do in the kitchen. A quick Google search can give you a host of great ideas.
– Kitchen Resources
- Go to a Park or a Garden –
Grab a picnic basket and head outside for school time. Find a shady spot and read that great book your kids have been waiting for you to finish. Bring along the textbooks if you must, but remember that sometimes just a change of scenery can be all you need to infuse new life into your homeschool. Finish your school time with some physical education and let the kids run, play and enjoy the sunshine. Look around you for lessons you can find in nature. Examine bugs, collect rocks or leaves, chase butterflies.
– Nature Resources
There is no substitute for hands-on history. Connecting the dots by seeing the things you are reading about cements the information into your brain like nothing else. Whenever it is possible, I like to take my kids to places where they can see history come alive. Sometimes that is accomplished by visiting the sites and listening to tour guides or reading signs or placards. Other times it involves watching demonstrations of skills from days gone by.
I hope this list gets your wheels turning and helps you come up with some great ideas to turn your summer homeschool into a funschool! I hope you get inspired to think outside the box this summer and take advantage of all the fun this season has to offer.
Jennifer Allen can be found reading, blogging with her husband, homeschooling and sharing fun times with her family. She is a museum lover and tries to make every adventure an educational one. She is a second generation homeschooler and also is a registered nurse. You can read her conversations about life, homeschooling and saving money at Conversaving.com