Education is a Life

Summer Learning, by Lynn

Please welcome our newest writer, Lynn!  She is a home educator in the UK and has lots of good thoughts to share. 

Ah, summer time…and the livin’ is easy…

Or not, as the case may be in our household. Personally I struggle with the lack of routine. I have a nine-year-old daughter, who will rise around 5 am so she can watch children’s television, and a twelve year old who will stay in bed until lunch time. This does not always make for an easy routine, for this routine-loving mother!

For various reasons, schooling year ‘round is not an option for us (though I really wish it was!), so here are the tips I have for keeping the learning going as the heat rises.

  1. Have flexible expectations for each day

It’s summer, I know. All the neighbourhood children are free & playing outdoors. Unfortunately, that does not mean the chore fairy comes & takes care of the household! There are still dishes to wash, clothes to launder, and mud that piles up on the floor. (I am English; we have mud in all seasons!)

Everyone still has their own chores to do and animals to care for. I also tend to use the summer break to ‘spring clean’ so all is lovely and fresh for ‘back to school’ come September, so the girls are occasionally roped into that too.

If we decide to spend a day at the pond, then of course, all this can go out of the window, but otherwise, there are chores to be done. I am sure this must count as home economics, too!

  1. Always have a good book planned.

I always buy the girls a new book to read over the long summer days and evenings. Their own choice, not a book from my overflowing list. I also choose a family ‘read aloud’ too. Something fun, that we can laze in the garden and enjoy together.

  1. Put up a new map on the wall.

Replace your tired out map with a new one…be it a world map, map of your country or locality, even a historical map. Something different to catch the eyes as people go by.

  1. Set up a weekly activity basket.

I love this one! It is as exciting for me to plan, as for the girls to do. Simply have a basket in a prominent place filled with related activities. Change it out as often as you wish, or when it no longer generates interest.

Here are some ideas to inspire you:

* Butterfly Hunting

– A butterfly net

– An observation pot. You can buy lovely ones with a magnifying glass built into the lid, but a simple yoghurt pot will do; just be sure to poke holes into the lid.

– A local field guide or a sticker book like this one, where you add stickers once you have seen each butterfly:

* Prism Play

– A couple of prisms (glass works better, but acrylic will be safer if you have a kindergarten and younger crowd.)

– Sheets of both black & white paper.

– Pencils or crayons in the colours of the rainbow

– A couple of kid-safe mirrors

– Some great science books such as these:

First Science Library: Light & Dark: 16 Easy-to-follow Experiments for Learning Fun. Find out About Rainbows, Reflections, Refraction!

 Mirrors: Finding about the Properties of Light

* Summer Journaling

– A lovely fresh journal

– A new pen

– Some fun stickers

This may entice your most reluctant child to do some writing. Pre-writers can draw pictures instead.

* A new game

Always a winner, games are a great way to have children enjoy maths.

Fractions Pizza game

Math Wars Card Games: Addition/Subtraction or Multiplication – Simple, but great fun!

Magic Cauldron

Hunt around; you will find games of all kinds covering all aspects of the curriculum and pleasing to all ages.

* A Jigsaw puzzle

– There are fabulous jigsaws these days, based on many themes: outer space, historical times, the Periodic Table. They can also be picked up very cheaply from local charity (thrift) shops.

 * Handcrafts

-Knitting needles & yarn, a cross stitch sampler, the materials to make books…the world is your oyster this summer!

I hope you can glean a little something from these ideas. Remember to have fun, enjoy the break, and make memories!


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