Education Through Summer Activity
“Life is learning and learning is life.”
I know many home school families try hard to live this philosophy. I find this is particularly easy to do during the summertime. Why? Because our family is busy living and learning. Counting up the days of scheduled activity vs. the unscheduled days, we end up with about half and half. Yep – 50% of our summertime is already scheduled and planned. And there are so many benefits to these activities! These are benefits that are only available through these types of activities. This summer, my girls will do the following:
- Vacation Bible School
- dance recital
- Church camp sponsored locally
- mission trip
- leadership camp
- church camp in another state AND
- a visit to the mountains.
So, what are the benefits?
Serving Others – Since this is the example Jesus set for us, this should be our first priority. Whether at leadership camp, where service projects are the main focus of the week, or on the mission trip where the goal is to do whatever the children’s home needs done, the girls are serving others with their summer time.
Bible Learning – Whether in planning for their role as puppeteers at Vacation Bible School or attending camp, the girls learn about God’s word and His will. Our teens write the puppet scripts for VBS so two of the girls will be involved in planning for those nights. They will also do the puppet performances during VBS. The other is still a participant in VBS so she will be learning about the patriarchs each night of VBS. At their two camps, each day will have multiple Bible lessons and devotional times. These will help the girls learn more about God and encourage them in their lives. The leadership camp is also a church run program and so there will be much learning there about God.
Responsibility – Whether in leadership roles or as a part of a team, the girls have responsibilities. They have to live up to those responsibilities. Yes, they have responsibilities at home but having someone else hold them to requirements is a great point of learning. If they forget to do something for dance, it affects others and their overall performance. If something is ignored on the mission trip, other adults will be holding the girls accountable for it.
Teamwork – Working together with others is an invaluable skill. Learning to work with others in a variety of situations and unexpected situations is necessary. On the mission trip, there is no telling what the children’s home will ask the girls to do. It may be painting or pulling weeds, playing games with the children living there or clearing out an old storage area. Each of these times will require the girls to work with others that they may know or may not and in situations where they may have to learn on the fly. This is experience that will serve them well in life.
Flexibility – Not knowing what is going to be required forces the need for flexibility. This flexibility is a helpful. They must be able to adapt to whatever is thrown their way in life. There is great benefit in experiencing this early and repeatedly in education and activities.
Other skills may include typical areas of learning. When we are in the mountains, we often go for hikes. During these, we study the plant life and learn about the effects of forest fires on the land. My parents were affected by the Little Bear Fire in New Mexico a few years ago so the girls get to see first-hand how fire affects all parts of life. We study the flowers. We go to local museums to learn history. We read books and listen to audio books. Practice on sign language and violin is doesn’t stop in the summer, because, well, “you snooze, you lose” is totally true of these skills.
These are just a few of the skills that summer learning opportunities provide. So when you think about all the things your children are doing this summer, don’t forget to evaluate the educational value. (A lot of that depends on the state you are homeschooling in so check your requirements.) I am able to count each of these weeks as full school – from the physical work done to the service provided. Keep track and before you know it, your summer months will show a tremendous amount of education tucked into daily opportunity.
Blessings, Lori, At Home.
A big thank you to Lori of At Home: where life happens for writing this article.