This post is from our contributing sponsor Time4Learning.
The last thing many children want over the summer is school work. It’s natural, they’ve just finished up a whole school year and feel tired. Keeping them busy learning falls on your shoulders — but you’re certainly not alone. New and veteran homeschooling parents have been creating different ways to keep their children motivated for years.
So, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many things that will stimulate your child’s imagination and keep their brain focused. For example, one homeschooling mom told me that her biggest ally during the summer months is the outdoors. She and a few other homeschooling friends have turned their local parks, and even their own yards, into outdoor classrooms!
A Garden is a Wealth of Knowledge
Planting a garden may seem mundane, but if you break down the parts that go into creating a living space, you might be surprised. Children can track the growth of plants and flowers — and even create charts that measure their growth. A simple Google search will provide you with the charts. But there’s much more, children can:
- Dissect plants
- Increase their vocabulary by learning about the parts of a flower. For example: petal, stem, and pistil.
- Create a garden log
- Observe and record the different insects that make the garden home.
- Grow their own food and help create recipes for eating cucumber, tomatoes, and more.
Creating a garden not only keeps your child’s brain active, it provides skill building in math, science, and vocabulary. It also exercises their bodies as well. And all this learning happens outside — beyond the ordinary classroom.
Many children already own a laptop, tablet or smartphone. If you or your child have one, use it as an educational tool this summer. Because laptops are portable, your child can bring it to the park, on field trips, or on vacation and continue learning as you travel.
The best online programs are used during the summer to sharpen your children’s skills, retain what they’ve learned, catch up on topics they haven’t learned yet, and get a head start on next year’s studies. Most online programs offer:
- Interactive, multimedia lessons to teach standards-based curricula.
- Different grade levels in different subjects for each child.
- Access to a grade above and below in each subject, allowing them to review or move ahead at will.
- Alternative explanations, so if a student answers a question incorrectly, the activity explains it in a different way.
- Automated systems that grade lessons and track the progress making record keeping simple.
- Detailed reporting for portfolio usage and parental support.
- Entirely web-based programs, with nothing additional to purchase.
- Affordable membership.
Online learning brings the world to your child. If they don’t know the meaning of a word, they can look it up, if a concept confuses them, they can do an online search, or even YouTube for a video explanation with your supervision. The computer has become an integral part of life. Take advantage and your children will experience engaging lessons, immediate feedback, and individual online learning lessons that fit your child’s needs.
Summer Field Trips
As you’re wrapping up the homeschool year, take a few moments and jot down some interesting field trip ideas. The ideas are nearly endless. There are the usual field trips such as visiting the local museum, park, or zoo. But if you really focus, you may come up with some different ideas that will fascinate your children. For example, try visiting local businesses, such as a bakery, bank, jewelry repair store, or pet store. Coordinate your trip first with a manager so your children get the proper attention.
Another cool trip that parents and children enjoy is visiting a local TV station. You get the behind the scenes action, learn how scripts are created for TV personalities, and how the weather is predicted through the use of radar and other high tech equipment.
Make the World Your Classroom
Leaving the home and experiencing real-world events and activities will expand your children’s knowledge. It also gives them insight on how people make a living and how they contribute everyday, not only to their employer but also their community. So, keep your child’s brain busy this summer by enjoying what’s waiting for you outside the classroom!