Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Continuous Learning

We do not homeschool year-round.  My children came from an institutional school environment and we still follow a schedule that allows for a flexible summer break.

We don't follow a curriculum during our summer break, but I do make sure our children are still learning. Here are some things we are doing this summer:

1) Puzzles

We especially like geography-oriented puzzles, which are a great learning tool and helps to cement some of the map skills we have worked on.

2)  Library Programs

Most public libraries have fun summer reading programs where kids can earn prizes and participate in activities.  My oldest is looking forward to being one of the volunteer summer helpers in a couple of years.

3)  Accidental Learning

I am a big fan of leaving things lying around for children to stumble upon.  We have summer magazines and interesting reading material scattered about the house where I frequently find a small face behind the pages when it gets hot outside.

4)  Unassigned Reading

I let my children choose books at a used curriculum sale (they chose the Narnia series and several of the first Magic Treehouse books).  They are having so much fun reading through them on their own.

5)  Reading Together

One of the cornerstones of our family's educational style is reading out loud together.  We do this continuously during the school year from our curriculum, and we enjoy it so much we keep going during the summer.  Often we revisit favorite books from previous school years.

6)  Summer Classes

Summer Recreation Programs offer lots of fun, short-term classes for kids.  My children chose not to take classes this year - my older two instead asked to learn touch-typing and my youngest wants to begin cursive handwriting.  I'm going to "let" them do these things. (wink, wink)

7)  Healthy Television

I think TV can have a great place in family routine.  Like anything else, it can also be used to excess.  During the summer my children are most susceptible to wasting their time watching junk-food-for-the-brain.  I work hard to stick to PBS, nature shows, documentaries or age-appropriate (and family-friendly) movies.  I like allowing them extra screen time in the summer, but I want to feel good about what they are watching.

If you take a summer break, what are the things your family incorporates for continuous learning?

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