Wow, how is it even possible that we are approaching the middle of July? Didn’t school JUST let out for summer like a week ago? I couldn’t believe it when I glanced at my calendar today and realized that we are exactly halfway through our summer break here in Texas. The first few weeks were eaten up quickly with sports camps, swimming, and just overall taking it easy; however, I really want the last leg of our summer to be productive for the boys. I want to make sure they’re prepared for next school year and that all the wonderful things they learned last year haven’t been drained from their brains. But because it IS summer “vacation” time, I also don’t want to be the mean Mom who made her kids do “summer school.”
We have had lots of fun this summer, including attending our town fireworks show, but we need to also make sure that we read the books from our school summer reading list and find some other “learning activities.” I decided to do a little Internet search for ways to make summer learning fun so that the boys would retain what they already learned, as well as have a foundation for the next school year. I came across some great ideas and thought I’d share them with you all:
- Try to find out what subjects your kids will be studying next year and plan a mini-vacation around a couple topics. For example, my eighth grader will be studying U.S. History, so we might take a trip up the George Bush Presidential Library and check out the exhibit of George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress that is currently on display there.
- Send the kids to “Virtual Summer Camp” on those rainy or unbearably hot days. Common Sense Media has a really neat web site that rates and reviews different apps, games, and web sites for kids, all with a cool summer camp theme. Check it out at: CommonSenseMedia.org/summer-learning-guide
- To keep their writing skills fluent, have them keep a travel diary or journal of any family trips you take, whether it’s a week at the beach or just a couple of days at grandma’s house. Take it a step further, and have them create a short play based on their writings that they can perform for family and friends.
- Have them document their summer in photographs. Maybe take one photo per day that sums up what that day was like. Then, they can collect all the photos and preserve their memories by creating a scrapbook with an online site like Shutterfly or Snapfish.
- If you want to keep their math skills fresh, while also showing them how math can be used in the real world, sign them up for one of the various workshops at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. Learning how to build a birdhouse involves more than just cutting and gluing pieces of wood; you’d be surprised how much math skills come into play!
The most important thing to remember when scheduling summer learning is that they ARE still kids. Make sure to leave time for free play, unscheduled activities, and lots of fun in the sun. Before you know it, that big yellow bus will be pulling up in front of your house, ready to take your kiddos off to another exciting school year!