It is summertime for most of us. The books are closed, and summer break is here! As homeschoolers, we have luxury of understanding that learning can happen anytime, even during the summer. But, what does summer learning look like? Whatever you want it too! There are many ways to let the learning continue throughout the summer.
Let your children explore your backyard, or park if you don’t have a back yard. Let them find things in nature, like twigs, rocks, bugs, flowers or whatever else they find that is interesting. They can gather their items in a bucket or jar and take them home. Let them identify what they found, study it, and let it go back into nature.
Stay up late one night and watch the stars. See if you can find the big dipper or another constellation. Talk about the stars and why you can see them some nights and not others.
There is a fantastic program I found recently called Easy Peasy Homeschool. It is a free comprehensive homeschool curriculum and it is all online. They offer a once a week art lesson that my kids have really enjoyed!
Another good art idea for summer is to have a smorgasbord day. Gather all the art materials you have in your home and let the kids have a free day! See what kind of amazing creations they make J
Take your kids for a walk and let them gather a large rock. Bring it home and paint it. They can make an animal, a person, or another item of their choosing. Just make sure they wash it first!
Summer reading programs are in full force. Check your local library to see what they offer. Bookstores like Barnes and Noble also tend to offer summer reading programs throughout the summer. If you’re looking for book recommendations check out my Pinterest board for some great books!
With 4th of July coming up it is a great time to learn about American History. Check out some books from the library about our founding fathers. Another great resource for American History is Liberty Kids. You can get the complete series for a reasonable price on Amazon.
Talk about your local state history, and visit an area near you that you have never been to before. There are probably untapped resources within an hour or two from your home.
There are many ways to keep learning happening throughout the summer. Learning does not have to happen just during the school year, or only with a textbook. Summer learning can happen any time you want! Just make sure the kiddos don’t realize they are learning while having fun :)
Author: Misty Bailey
Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.
I don’t know about you, but we are almost through the school year. Yay! At the end of the school year it is a good idea to evaluate what worked, and what didn’t.
Here are three questions to ask yourself at the end of the school year. These questions will help you evaluate your school year, let you get a good idea of how it went, and what changes you may need to make.
- Are the kids enjoying school? Yes, homeschooling is still school and can’t always be fun, but are your kids enjoying themselves? At all? If not then you may need to talk to them and revaluate how your school year is going. If they are then woohoo! Keep on keeping on J .
- How is your routine? Are the days all the same length? Are some days longer or shorter than others? Take a look at your routine and see if any changes need to be made. We had the same school schedule for years, and I had NO intentions on changing it. Until. I had too. I realized that something with my routine was no longer working for my older children, so we tweaked it and things have been going much smoother. Routines are made to add structure to your day. They are not made to be a slave too. So, make your routine work for you if something seems off.
- How is the curriculum working? Do you love your curriculum? Do the kids enjoy it? If not, now is the perfect time to evaluate what is and isn’t working with the curriculum. Maybe look online, or ask a friend if you can try out something they have. Don’t purchase anything else without looking at it in person. You may be surprised that what you have isn’t that bad, or you may fall in love with something new. Once you have seen it, and maybe tried it out, make the purchase!
Semester revaluations are great for finding what is working and what is not working in your homeschool. It is a time to evaluate your day, your student’s enjoyment, and your curriculum. Don’t feel obligated to keep on the same way if something’s not working, try something new and start your next year off fresh!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
I have three kids, and each one has something they are passionate about! Unfortunately they are all passionate about different things, meaning this mom is pulled in three different directions ;)
As parents it doesn’t take llong to realize how different our kids are. They all have their own interests, their own style, and their own attention spans. One may love Math, the other may hate it! One may learn to read at 5, the other not till 7. There is not one perfect way for our children to learn. However, find something that interests your child, and they will make sure they LEARN more about it. Children learn best by learning about what interests them. This is why interest led learning is so important in our homeschools.
With interest led learning a child can find something he loves and go and LEARN about it. Here is an example: Let’s say your child has a desire to know more about dinosaurs. So, you take him to the library and get tons of books (real books, not textbooks) and you come home and read them together, or if your child is a reader he reads them. Then, you go on line and find a really neat Science experiment related to dinosaurs. You may make a dinosaur habitat filled with plastic dinosaurs, water, mountains and maybe even a volcano (which you later “erupt). Your child has learned Science, History, Vocabulary, Reading and maybe even some Math all while studying his own interests. This was all done with little to know real “teaching” from the home school parent. Instead your child was able to tap into their personal passion and study it.
Have you ever really wanted to learn something? How did you learn it? Did you take a class? Get a book? Look it up on the web? Once you set your mind to learn it you probably did it right? You found something you were interested in and you went for it! The same can be said for our children. Learning does not come from reading and taking a test. It comes from finding something you are interested in or passionate about and feeding that desire to learn. Testing, or telling a child what they have to know squelches that desire.
Homeschool parents, as we plan for next school year, let’s remember to take the time and ask our children what THEY want to learn next school year. Make plans to study something that interests your child. By doing this you will be giving them the opportunity to pursue their interests. You will be allowing them to learn because they want to, in turn helping them develop an internal satisfaction for learning. This will last a child a lifetime! And cannot be taught.
Do you want to make sure your child gets the best education they can? Do you want to ensure that your child has a head start in academics? If so, then the most important thing you can do for your child is read to them!
A study completed years ago title, “Becoming a Nation of Readers” found that “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading”. Research has also found that reading is an accrued skill. Meaning that the more you do it, the better you get at it.
Reading to a child at a young age encourages them to read later in life. It becomes a habit, it is engrained in them, and honestly it helps them to develop a love of literature.
So, what are the best read a louds for families? Here are a few of my favorites!
- The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
- Stuart Little by A.A. Milne
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Paddington by Michael Bond
These are just a few of some of our families favorite read a louds!
Is your homeschool child gifted? Most of us will say that all children have a gift. God gives each of us our own gift to use. But I’m talking about academically gifted. A gifted child may be very observant, curious and have excellent reasoning and problem solving skills. Socially, a gifted child will relate well with adults, may be oversensitive, a perfectionist and highly energetic. A gifted child may have an extensive vocabulary, be an early reader, and ask lots of questions. These are just a few traits of a gifted child. To read more, check out this site.
If you have a gifted child, you may be concerned that public school isn’t challenging enough for him. Many schools offer advanced classes, but sometimes it is not enough. Homeschooling a gifted child can seem overwhelming, and like a daunting task. How can you challenge him? How can you teach him? Here are some tips to help if you are interested in homeschooling a gifted child.
Know the Expectations for Grade Level
Most homeschool parents don’t worry about the grade on the front of the textbook, and that is fine. But, with a gifted child they may work 2-3 grade levels ahead. This could lead to not learning material necessary at a certain grade level. It is a good idea to have some sort of idea what is typically covered in a school year. Rebecca Rupp Learning year by Year is a great resource to have when it comes to knowing the expectations for each grade.
Recognize the Benefits of Homeschooling
For your gifted child, homeschooling can be a wonderful opportunity. The question “why” comes up a lot in a gifted child. The fact that they want to know “more” all the time can be seen as exhausting sometimes. However, with homeschooling your child has the opportunity to work at his own pace, to find out the answer “why” to all of his “more” requests. Through books, observations, experiments, and study the gifted child can be challenged, and will have the time and opportunity to learn as they go, without grade level limitations.
Recognize the Challenges
There are going to be challenges when it comes to homeschooling your gifted child, but don’t let that scare you! There are many resources available for homeschool parents of gifted children. Check out this link for some tips for curriculum, and a great list of support groups for families of gifted children.
Misty Bailey loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.