I need summer break.

I need time to sit in the sunshine, reading books, and drinking sweet tea.  

I need to close my calendar and stop thinking about lesson plans for a couple months.

My goal for my kids is to have a classic 80’s childhood, which happens to work out great with my desire to sit and read outside.

The summer is a wonderful time for my kids to engage in learning, and amazingly, I don’t need to involve myself much at all.  

Here’s what we do (lazily) to keep learning alive during the summer:

  1.  Lemonade stands.  My kids plan them, gather supplies for them, and run them themselves.  They’re learning money management, independence (walking up to Walmart to buy supplies), negotiation skills (who gets how much of the profit), and people skills (talking to their customers).
  2. 4-H. Because we spend the first half of summer preparing for the county fair, my kids dive deep into subjects they’re interested in during the summer and made presentations about them.  This year, I’ve got kids doing needle arts, learning about the layers of the ocean, researching jewelweed and making salve, learning about stray cats in our community, painting, and more.  They learn about perfectionism, speaking to a judge, and budgeting their time.
  3. Performing arts.  There are so many great opportunities for kids to get involved in theater during the summer.  My kids have participated in both 4-H and community theater. I really love the friendships they form with the other kids.  They learn about working together as a team, acceptance of people with varying abilities, and line memorization. 
  4. Boredom.  It’s inevitable that parents will hear “I’m bored” coming from their kid’s mouths at some point during the summer.  Am I right?! Boredom, you guys, can be a beautiful thing. I know it sounds crazy, but when kids get to the point of extreme boredom, wonderful things start happening.  They get creative. They play in the yard with their siblings. They read. They might even *gasp* clean their rooms!
  5. Playing in the neighborhood.  If you happen to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, you know that the neighborhood kids will occupy your kids summer.  It’s great to have built in playmates. Your kids will learn so much from them: understanding different family types, conflict resolution, and teamwork.   
  6. Reading.  On hot days, when it’s even too hot to go to the beach, sitting in the air conditioning and reading is perfect.  No air conditioning at home? No problem! Libraries are air conditioned, and they’re a great change of scenery.  
  7. Camps.  There are a myriad of camp options throughout Minnesota.  They offer a chance for kids to explore new topics, or dig deeper into topics they’re really interested in.  While some camps are very expensive, there are many affordable (or free!) camps if you search for them. 
  8. Getting out in the great outdoors.  One of my favorite things to do with my kids in the summer, is get them out into nature.  Just being in the woods or in a creek, connects kids with the earth in a way that will stick with them throughout their lives.  
  9. State parks, museums, and historic sites.  Minnesota is rich with state parks, museums, and historical sites.  Don’t forget to bring in your proof of homeschooling when you go to museums, as you can get a discount on memberships!  If you are looking for free options, check websites for free days, or check out the smARTpass program that provides free access to museums, theater opportunities, and more.
  10. Pools and beaches.  Swimming is a super important life skill.  Here in Minnesota, there’s no shortage of pools and beaches!  Get out there, stay cool, and teach your kids to swim!

 

What do you do to keep learning alive during the summer?