As we roll into the last few weeks of the school year, it’s time to turn our hearts and minds to that time of great freedom: summer vacation. Of course, this freedom, like any other, must be used wisely. So here are a few tips to help you guide your children through 2-3 months of non-school time:
1) Think about what you need to do over the summer. Needs are easy to identify: does Jimmy need to brush up on his essay skills for the upcoming ACT? Does Allie need to practice her math facts? It’s a good idea to spend at least a little time several days a week working on the “needs” subjects. Not only will your children increase their proficiencies, but it will go a long way towards taking the stress out of difficult subjects.
2)Brainstorm about what you really want to learn. Kids might learn about the planets and solar system in school, but do they have any idea how to find constellations in your night sky? Have they drawn the moon….from their own observations? Ask your children what they would like to learn about and then locate materials to aid them. Of course, a visit to the library can help start them on their way (and build library skills since they will have to locate resources on their own).
3)Get out! Outside, that is. Making learning fun is not hard. Catch up on your biology facts while catching frogs at the local pond. Hike through the forest and identify plants and trees. Visit the arboretum to do watercolor paintings of the willows. Go on rock treasure hunts at the forest preserve.
4)Stay inside….for awhile. Free museum days are fast disappearing. However, while the big city museums may be out of your range, there are usually dozens of local museums that are worth a look. Plus, local landmarks are sure to generate a buzz of interest in your home team.
Of course, leave some days for doing nothing. While my children have learned to never say “I’m bored!” (I hand the offender the broom and dust pan), one way to get kids to engage in creative activities or brainstorming is to let them be bored.
Hope you have a great summer full of fun and learning!