Oh yeah… ice cream sandwiches… aren’t they amazing? I think they rank up there with apple pie as America’s summer time dessert. Perfect for an afternoon on the porch with friends. Not only do we love them as they are, but we love them created into even better desserts. Layers of ice cream sandwiches and cool whip or pudding. We love them store bought, and we love them home made… Oh my, so YES – I’m all for celebrating this holiday, you know – – just for the kids!
Summer… I look forward to it all year. I know, I am supposed to be the mature one around here. Yet, I think I look forward to the more relaxed lifestyle that we lead during the summer than the kids do. It is just a much needed break that really renews and invigorates me. If it wasn’t for a bit of time off in the summer, homeschooling in the fall would be impossible.
Even though I like to take a break in the summer, I still try to keep the kids learning. Their little minds are so active and really are constantly learning in some way. Why not maximize on their cognitive interests? I try to organize several websites that I want the children to visit over the summer break to catch up on math or vocabulary. To make it as simple as possible, I add them to my favorites bar so all the kids have to do is click on each site I want them to visit. These sites range in interest from vocabulary games to math and science fun. The kids usually have a great time playing and taking a break from the heat… while I sit back with a contented smile knowing that they really are learning through all that laughter!
Yes, we are… most homeschoolers are asking the big question right now. Should we homeschool during the summer or not? Well, personally… I need a summer break. Yet, for my kiddos I know that they need to give their brains a bit of a workout during the summer or when we start up officially in the fall… it will be a very. very. bad. day.
So, even though I plan on requiring a little brain work this summer… it won’t be alot and hopefully my kids won’t be forced to rebel!
1) Each morning, I plan to have them start the day with some lessons in Time4Learning Summer. Once they completed about six lessons (2 in each math, LA, and 1 in science and 1 in history). The lessons are typically funny and engaging and the time really flies by for the kids.
2) We’ll use Spelling City for their summer learning program that also includes fun games and interesting vocabulary lists.
Don’t you just love the summer time? I sure do! I enjoy the freedom we have to do a little more “sight seeing.” In fact, each year we make it a goal that we see something new and interesting. Often, these events are historically based. This can really come in handy for the homeschool family. You see, you can always count days that are spent on field trips as learning days. To make the most of your experience try these three tips.
1)Prepare the kiddos in advance. If it is some pretty significant place you might want to take a little time before you visit to read some books about the history behind that location. You may also want to use it as a springboard for a unit study. You can have loads of fun creating free wordsearch puzzles and even unscramble games.
2) Take your time while you are there. If you see things that you studied about – be sure to point out their significance. Ask your kiddos questions, and allow them to take it all in at their own pace.
3) Finally, when you return home take a day to remember the amazing things that you saw. It’s always great to use these events as creative writing prompts. My kids always write profusely when we return from field trips.
In our last post we talked about summer learning. Yes, we are joining the ranks of those that homeschool all year round. As a former teacher, there is something in me that just “balks” at that idea. My mind, my body, and my soul need the summer break!!!!!! Uh – hem… excuse that…
Anywayssss… it looks like we will be doing Summer School – Lite Edition. As I mentioned before each of the younger kiddos need a few specific areas worked on, and our highschool daughter has a few areas that we neglected this year.
We have tried to incorporate “dual enrollment” with our highschoolers, and have begun this as well with our oldest daughter. They are doing dual enrollment with a local Bible College that I work with. By the time she graduates, she will have an Associate of Arts degree in Bible. This doesn’t really assist her with credits or course load when she enrolls in university, however, it does prepare her for how college courses are given and what is expected and required. We are a dedicated Christian family, and since our daughters are attending state institutions, we want to make sure that they are rooted and grounded in their faith. During these highschool dual enrollment courses, it is a great time for them to take inventory of what they really believe, study it out, and take a stand for it.
Dual Enrollment also acts as a “Wow” factor with the university and – as with her sister- they eagerly grant acceptance into their program. Of course, in this Associate’s degree there are other courses besides Bible that are required including such things as a world history highschool course, Biology, Physical Science, English Comp., and Speech. Though she takes the course from the college, it actually counts as her requirements on her highschool transcript. Ahhh… the beauty of dual enrollment!
Have you used dual enrollment with any of your homeschool students?
Ok… it’s the 4th of July – why am I blogging???? Well, to wish you all a Happy Holiday, of course! Don’t you just love this holiday? A day to remember what a wonderful country we have, and how it has been blessed through the years to allow many people freedoms they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Yes, what do we want with second grade science curriculum on a day like today? Nothing, that’s for sure… so let’s celebrate and enjoy this holiday that honors the freedoms that we have!!
Do you dread making your children do anything during the summer? I do… I know they work very hard during the school year, and I like to let them have some carefree summer days full of play. Yet, on the other hand… I know that they need to be challenging their brain to keep from losing all the wonderful things that they learned last year.
So, this poses a problem. I know they need to do some summer homeschool, yet I also want them to enjoy time playing. Over the past few years I’ve found that if I set up their laptop’s browser bar with bookmarks for sites that I want them to visit each week – I can remind them to go do it… without having to watch over their shoulders. They can accomplish this task painlessly and all while having fun. You see, I try to choose sites that really incorporate alot of fun into their learning. A few of our favorite online summer school sites include:
Sure, we’ve talked about summer learning before… I think we all agree that our kiddos need to be challenged with some learning opportunities during the summer. Yet, the problem that still exists is how can we accomplish this without making the summer a time of war? My answer is simply… let’s be sneaky!
With six children I’ve often found it’s easier to go in the “back door” than to confront an issue head on. So, with my children I will encourage them to do something with a motive that I KNOW they will find interesting. For example, I might really want them to brush up on their reading vocabulary or use summer learning to catch up on difficult subjects yet, if I go in guns blazing they will groan and moan and definitely not want anything to do with learning. I have to be sneaky!
What I usually do is find the most interesting (translates – most entertaining) method of learning that I can find to motivate them to learn during the summer. Seriously, we are competing with the swimming pool, bicycles, and sports… it’s definitely got to be entertaining! When I do that I can get them to complete a few lessons each day with minimal effort. In my mind, this fulfills the daily mental challenge!
We’ve done similar to this plan every summer for the past two years. It has seemed to work well, and the kids are jumping right back in when we go full time in the fall. So, what do you do at your house to “sneak” in summer learning?
I know, most everyone looks at summer as time for a break. I know I sure do. However, at our house though we don’t do our regular workbooks and textbooks during the summer, we do incorporate some learning into our schedule. We have found the summer to be a great time for reading and catching up on those pesky subjects that just seemed to stump us during the winter.
We love to go to our local library and look up books on subjects that interested us during the year. The library has so much to offer! We also enjoy using various websites to help us catch up in areas that were troublesome. There are many great programs to choose from, but one of our favorites is Vocabulary and Spelling City. They have a great online summer program that really targets fluency and other aspects of reading. I usually find several great online educational sites that target my children’s specific weak areas, and then put them in the favorites on our browser bar. In this way, my children can freely choose between them when they get a chance to sit down at the computer.
This would work for any type of homeschooling family from unschoolers to military homeschoolers. I have found that this really comes in handy when we have a rainy day or when boredom strikes! Always have something fun and educational for your kids to do, and you’ll find that it keeps their brains active and they forget alot less of what they learned.
What do you do in the summer to challenge your children?
I think that is the biggest concern of most homeschooling parents… if I don’t school in the summer will my child lose what we have learned?
I have to agree it is a viable concern. Research has clearly shown that it is a fact. Without daily practice the skills that we have sharpened and honed in our children all year are left to get dull and dusty from disuse. This is a mjor reason why many homeschooling families just homeschool all year long. This keeps the kids on top of the skills that they have studied and worked so hard to gain.
But what about those that just don’t like doing school during the summer… (I have to raise my hands here!) I enjoy having a few months to rest, relax, and not stress about making my kids toe the line. So, how do I accomodate my needs while still keeping my kids sharp? Well, the best way I have found to do this is to use an online curriculum to give them a daily challenge. This summer we are using Time4Learning as well as an online homeschool spelling curriculum. This curriculum is free, and has many types of lists about various subject matter, that we use to review what they have learned over the course of the year. I typically set a time like an hour each day, and they are required to work on either online curriculum during this hour. I don’t have to keep track of our goals and objectives, nor do I have to record grades or keep up with paperwork. I am able to get the best of both world for me and my children with this method.
Let me know if you have any great ideas on how to keep your kids sharp during the summer.