The classic ‘summer break’ is fast approaching! Parents, grandparents, and kids are all counting days and waiting for the ‘end’ of the school year. But, not always for homeschoolers. Let’s face it, sometimes our ‘end’ of school is postponed, delayed, or stretched well beyond the traditional start of summer, learning never really stops. Here, I’d like to take a little of your time to talk about ways to ‘weave’ educational opportunities into your summer fun.
One of the main opportunities available during the traditional summer season is, pardon the redundant name, summer camp. Long a right of passage, summer camps offer a huge range of enrichment opportunities and great flexibility in scheduling. . There are day, over nights, science, horse, outdoor, aquatic and much more, there’s really a camp to suit just about any interest. Depending on your location and budget, you can find a variety of options to meet the interest of your students. My children enjoy our local 4H day camps. They have a summer schedule of a variety of opportunities for us to consider. In the past, they have learned about insects, videography, hiking, cooking, and science. These camps are inexpensive (sometimes free) and local. 4H is located in all 50 United States and multiple countries so be sure to check out what is available in your area. In our area the local parks and recreation department, the aquarium, and even several of the churches also offer fun and educational day camp opportunities.
The summer also brings a multitude of opportunities for free reading incentive programs. If your child needs encouragement to keep reading or if you are just looking for ways to keep things exciting, they can sign up for one or more of these great programs and be rewarded for their reading efforts. Many local libraries have their own reading programs during the summer. Our local library even offers some fun reading events to go along with their incentive program. Barnes and Nobles offers a program where kids in grades 1-6 can earn a free book, Half Price Books offers a program for children 14 and under, and Books a Million has a program with incentive prizes. One of the ones that is most attractive to many children is Six Flags amusement park’s Read to Succeed, their summer reading program that allows you to earn a free ticket to the park!
Sometimes our school year gets hectic and we have a hard time completing the electives that we have chosen for the year. Summer can be a great time spend time catching up on those. It’s easy to keep the electives fun and interesting, without having the weight of a full academic calendar on everyone. You can block some time to finish those courses that you have started or find fun summer programs to cover the same goals. For example, if you have not spent as much time on art as you had hoped you can find fun summer art programs through your local arts council, Micheal’s craft store, an art museum, other local organisation or even online.
Summer can also be a great time to let students explore their interests and hobbies through independent projects. Without the time constraints of trying to get multiple subjects completed each day, they can explore their interests and spend hours learning about whatever topics interest them the most. My son is looking forward to taking a couple of online beekeeping classes as well as reading a few books on beekeeping this summer. He has been studying this throughout the year, but will be able to be more intensive with his focus over the summer. My daughter wants to spend extra time practicing her violin so that she can progress to the next level by the end of summer.
I hope this post gives you some fresh ideas for weaving education into your summer fun! A big thank you to Dawn Peluso of Schoolin’ Swag for writing this article.