Whether you consider yourself a homeschooler or an unschooler… or somewhere in between, you know that the Summer is FULL of educational opportunities. So guess what? The learning never stops! Take advantage of the beautiful days, nature, extra time, and travels… and consider it SCHOOL!
Learning opportunities through the summer are organic, meaning they naturally happen. All you have to do is take advantage of them. It’s pretty easy to facilitate this kind of learning, because kids naturally LOVE the summertime and aren’t resistant to exploring it.
Trees & Flowers – You’re taking a walk, and your child points at an unusual tree. BINGO! Allow your child to draw or take picture of the tree. Then use either the internet or the library to look up the name of the tree and interesting facts about it. Read a book or watch videos/movies about them.
History/Cultures – “Mom, I’m hungry. There’s nothing to eat.” Sounds like a learning opportunity! Look up a fun recipe from a different culture, and prepare it. Look up and discuss the culture, its people, language, geography, religion, and more. Read books or watch movies/videos about this culture.
Butterflies – They are everywhere during the summer months. Find some milkweed (or other plants that caterpillars like to live on). Create a homemade “observatory” (like a large pickle jar with netting over the top), and watch this amazing take place throughout the summer. Again, take pictures or draw them, and use the internet and library for great books about them.
Birds – Create a bird watching journal – The SKY is the limit (get it? Lol)! All you need is a field guide (many are available free online) and a notebook. Add pictures (photographs, clipart, drawings) and interesting facts that you learn. Use the library or internet to find fascinating information to include in your journal. You may also want to make edible treats for your bird friends. There are many recipes online, but one of my favorites is this: Just take a pine cone, and cover it in a thin layer of peanut butter and then roll it in birdseed. Then hang the pine cone on a in a tree with some string. Sit back and watch the birds snack on your creation! This is a great time to snap some awesome photographs for your journal!
Frogs – Many local parks have small ponds, and that is perfect for this activity. Let your child use a net to scoop up a few tadpoles, and take them home. Set up a small aquarium, and let the learning begin! Allow your student to draw pictures or take photographs of each stage of the tadpole’s growth. It’s amazing to watch this transformation happen right before your eyes. Use the internet or library to find more information about this process.
Music – Does your student love a particular band or music group? Let him do some research on the group and make a journal of the findings. Where is each member from? What languages do they speak? What other accomplishments have they had? What countries have they visited? What instruments do they play? What are their favorite foods? What religion are they? Do they have pets? The list could go on and on. Your student can learn so much by researching someone that he is interested in. You may be surprised what he will learn along the way!
Zoos – These are obvious places to learn during the summer, but take it a step further by having your student create a diorama or journal about the adventure. Look up information about the native countries for each animal, and let your student explore those countries and their other animals online or through books.
Museums & Markers – These are also obvious places to learn. Remember that when a student has the opportunity to actually TOUCH something from history or to STAND in an exact location where a historical event took place, then he is MUCH more likely to be interested and commit it to memory. Take advantage of those roadside signs that you see along any trip that you take. It will only take a few minutes to stop and check it out… and your will be so very glad you did.
Lapbooking - It’s a FUN way to document what your student is learning in ANY subject. It’s especially good for challenging subjects because it breaks up the challenging topic into “bite-sized” pieces that are much easier to understand. Booklets in a variety of colors and shapes also help to keep the student’s attention. Summer would be a great time to try this learning technique!
There are SO many ways to learn in the summertime. Just be on the lookout, and don’t limit yourself. Absolutely ANYTHING can become “school” but doesn’t have to LOOK like school. Allowing your student to create journals as keepsakes of this learning is important, because he will look back on it for years to come… and every time he does, he is reviewing and cementing the information into his memory even more.