5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Learning This SummerJul 16th, 2011 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Homeschooling Tips
List of 5 ways engaging your kids in learning during the summer
It’s been called the summer brain-drain – that two-month period of time in which kids seem to magically forget everything they ever learned in school. How bad is it? In most schools, teachers need to spend the first month re-teaching material that the students forgot over the summer! As a homeschooling parent, you don’t want your children forgetting everything they’ve learned and losing those good study habits they (and you) have spent so long building. How can you keep the kids learning this summer?
Summer needs to be fun. The kids worked hard all year in school, and they’ve earned some warm, sunny weather and lazy days.
Having a few “learning” activities will help fill the downtime between other events during the day or when the weather turns nasty. Beyond that, summer offers the opportunity for the whole family to get in on the learning! Here are five ways to keep the kids’ brains in shape while the rest of their body is getting tons of exercise this summer:
1. The Great Outdoors
Nature starts in the backyard, or at the nearby park. You can tie outdoor activities to a learning opportunity right in your own backyard! Have your child help you in the garden, and combine this activity with a short intro course on ecology. This can be especially valuable if your child will be studying a related field next year. Design outdoor activities that compliment their studies. But also let them have some “me” time…many of the things kids like to do serve as great (and sometimes untraditional) learning activities.
2. Building a Sense of Responsibility
Nothing builds character more than helping others. There are many volunteer opportunities for the whole family, from cleaning up a neighborhood eyesore to donating time in a soup kitchen. Giving the kids some real-life responsibilities keeps them from becoming self-focused and indifferent. Giving back to the community is possible with children of all ages. The young ones make great assistants at soup kitchens and at senior centers. As they grown into their teens, they can tutor others who need help, or volunteer to work in adult literacy programs. Talk with your children about their local community, and what kind of change they’d like to effect.
3. Experience Culture
Museums, historical sites, theatre, music…it’s all great for kids’ minds! Pair cultural visits with your child’s interests and upcoming studies. Check out the calendar or events web pages for local museums and venues to find what will be coming to your region.
Reading is fun! It’s great if you can get the kids to read daily. While getting them interested in new subjects is important, let them also read what they love. Summer Reading Clubs exist online and at many local libraries. Some even offer prizes to incentivize children. Local librarians are a wealth of knowledge that can help you determine appropriate grade-level books as well as purely fun stuff for the kids.
5. Play a Role Around the House
Summer is a great time to get the kids to help out around the house. While the younger ones can learn valuable lessons about finance with a good old-fashioned lemonade stand, older kids can support Mom and Dad around the house with scheduling, budgeting and chores. Trust us, having them help makes your life easier, too!
Try to make summer fun, but also use it as a two-month educational opportunity to keep your kids mentally sharp and ready for school.
What do you do to keep the kids on track when summer weather distracts them?
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