We are deep into summer mode right now. The days are hot and lazy, perfect for curling up with a good book or spending afternoons in the backyard catching frogs and worms. It is also birthday season around here – my three eldest children all have birthdays within a week of each other. We have cake up to our ears!
My youngest finally learned how to ride a bike – with her motor delays, she had a tough time figuring out the pedals, but suddenly, she was ready. I was so proud to see her take one more little step toward independence.
My older children have spent quite a lot of time working on their hobbies – practicing their instruments, drawing, making videos (my oldest teen and her friend are creating their own youtube channel), and writing.
But just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean I don’t try to sneak in some educational pursuits. I keep up our read-aloud habit all summer long – mainly so that I don’t lose the skill. There’s nothing worse than having a sore throat for the first several weeks back. I try to choose a book that I think all of my older children can enjoy. Right now we are reading Lord of the Flies.
I haven’t read it since I was about 14, and I remember it making quite an impression on me. So I thought it might start some interesting discussions. We’re also reading from Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare. I like to keep it simple over the summer – just some literature and poetry. I also have a couple of books going with my six-year-old – she’s on a Japanese kick right now. Probably because her big sister is obsessed with all things Japan. 😉
We’re also working on writing skills – I’m doing a bit of writing bootcamp with my twins. They have always struggled a bit with writing, so I’m taking the summer to really work at refining that skill. I give them a writing assignment each week and then we go through the writing process – Monday we choose a topic and gather information, Tuesday we work at creating an outline, Wednesday we write our first draft, and then we take Thursday and Friday to revise and edit and polish their paper.
These assignments are one page or less – so far they’ve written about their favorite hobby, the New Horizon’s Pluto fly-by, and Work Ethic (a topic we’ve been discussing quite a bit lately). This week I’ll be assigning them a paper telling all about themselves. Other topics I have in mind: review your favorite book, tell about your future career, write fan-fic about your favorite movie or television show, and write out a scene from your latest Dungeons and Dragons game (they’re in a D&D club at our local library).
I also have a big stack of DVDs from HHMI that I want to get through – if you’ve never heard of them, they have tons of science educational materials that they give away to educators for free. Just be sure that you sign up as an educator. They have a lot of great material that would go very well with my Darwin and Evolution and Prehistory unit studies.
What does summer learning look like at your house?
Are you looking for something fun and educational to do with your children this summer? My Unit Studies fit the bill – swim with sharks, spend a few weeks at Hogwarts with Harry, go on an adventure with Bilbo and Gandalf, or explore life in Prehistoric times!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.