Organizing Your Child’s Summer Learning

 

Summer is about swimming pools, popsicles, and lazy afternoons. It is about chasing fireflies, hiking in the woods, and playing with cousins. Summer is about lax bedtimes and slow mornings. But, summer is still about learning, growing, and processing. We strongly support unstructured play and learning without pressure. Summer is for fun, for play, and for rest, but it is also for education.

Learning during the summer doesn’t involve schools and tests and assessments. But, kids learn as you hike through the woods and point out edible plants or as you count the steps up to the library door. They learn as you make your own playdough and bake cookies in the kitchen. Math, science, language, and history are all around us and a part of the regular inputs that influence children. As parents and adults, we can direct that learning while still keeping it fun and interesting. Some different ideas for organizing learning include:

  1. Pick a theme for the day. You might pick spiders and then select books from the library about them, crawl under the porch and try to identify a few, or go out and photograph spider webs in the morning dew. You might pick addition and count everything in your house and make cookies using the measurements as math. You might pick an important person in history and look up facts about them online, put on a play about their life, or go play games outdoors that they might have played as a kid. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Read. Summer is great for taking advantage of your local library. Take one morning a week to stock up on books and then head for ice cream afterwards. Have a reading picnic outdoors. Pick one book to read aloud as a family. 
  3. Write. Write a family memory book. Keep a summer journal. Write poems in chalk on your driveway. Write a family recipe book or write letters to old friends that live far away. Find a pen pal. Write a letter to the editor about a civic issue.
  4. History. Visit a retirement home and talk to the residents about history. Ask them about some major events they lived through. Ask them what was their favorite decade. Interview your grandparents on tape about their personal history and how it fits with the history of your country. Follow up but learning about these events at the library.
  5. Science. Make a recipe, bake a cake, try to make a cake without a recipe! Do some research to figure out what baking powder does and how it is different from baking soda. Collect bugs. Make a volcano. Go on an archeological dig in your back yard.

And, don’t forget to process. Talk about what you learned during the day during your family meal. Keep a summer journal. Keep a wall of fame with artwork and writing projects proudly displayed.

Although, with all that said, your kids will learn even if you never think of the word education for an entire three months. That is the beauty of being a kid, right? 

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