I love teaching my children! I guess this is why I am finishing up a degree to be a teacher! During the summer I try to make things as educational and fun, for my kids, as I can. So, I come up with as many fun ways of learning during the summer as I can. I also make a list up of what things I really want to teach my children, in addition to just keeping up with their normal studies.
Here is my list of Mommy Summer School:
1. Teach my children the “other” subjects that I feel are important. I try to do one of these things each day. My list is Sewing, Manners, Photography/Videography, Crafting, Fixing (Home repair, bike repair, etc), Baking/Cooking, Outdoor Information (gardening, places, plants, “green” topics), Astronomy, and Sports.
2. Go to the library. I pick books for them and they pick books. We usually check out about 45 books a week. Make sure to participate in summer reading programs at your local library!
3. Read Mommy choice books for 30 minutes a day. We are avid readers and so they will read a lot more during the day but the other times are all free choice reading. I make up a new “book nook” corner every summer to entice them into more reading. This year it is beanbags in the corner by 2 bookcases. I would love to put up a tent but my house is too tiny.
4. Writing for 30 minutes a day. They can choose what writing they do. We are writing a family book where we pass the book from person to person and each person adds as much to the story as they would like. We have no plan for the book and anyone can add anything they want, as long as it makes sense in the story. We will end the book at the end of the summer. 2 of my kids are writing their own stories as well. Write up a family newspaper. Each of my kids has decorated their own book to use as a journal. I also made and printed up journal starters. This is a question or journal prompt at the top. Then, there is space for their answer and a drawing to illustrate. We also are writing letters to friends and family members and mailing them snail mail style. Who doesn’t love getting something in the mail?
5. Family newspaper. I am paying my kids $1 per newspaper that they write. The newspapers are something my kids started on their own. They include cartoons, ads, coupons, articles about our family life, etc. I love them!
6. Science Fun. I have put science experiment books on hold all summer long to give my kids plenty of new ideas to choose from. Some of the experiments that we do will take all summer long!
7. Fun educational games. I pull out a few things each day. They tend to automatically gravitate towards whatever I put out. One example would be flour in a cookie sheet, with a list of spelling words next to it. My kids then write their spelling words into the flour with their fingers. They LOVE this. I try to pull out games that will help my kids work on the skills they need help with and those that they enjoy the most!
8. Fun worksheets and workbooks. I have bought workbooks (and printed free fun worksheets) for each of my kids for the year the came out of and the year ahead. I let them choose what they want to do in these.
9. Educational Computer Games. I have a list of online games for my kids to have fun with (like Starfall). I just put the game up on the computer and they jump right on it! I have to drag them off of these. I do limit computer playing to about 30 minutes twice a week. This also includes fun educational apps I have on my IPad, and they have on their DS’s or electronic reading programs.
10. Keeping up with the news. I get the newspaper every day and I go online to get my news every day. During the summer I have the kids do these things with me. It is a great way to pick and choose what we read, as opposed the the nightly news on TV where they might show things I don’t want my kids to see. Plus, I think the TV news tends to be negative. I don’t view the world as a negative thing and so I always search out the positive stories, as well, for my children! Keeping up with the news obviously is great to open their minds to what is going on in the world. It also helps my children be thankful for what they have (we live in Phx, no flooding, no wars, no tornadoes, etc) and to have empathy for those that are having hard things happen to them. And I let my kids try to do the soduku puzzles, crossword puzzles, read the comics, etc. Every few days I have my kids go and highlight specific things throughout the paper or do newspaper hunts (where I read through it first then come up with questions for them to find the answers to by reading through the paper).
I’d love to hear what other people do to keep their children’s brains moving during the summer! So what are your plans? What do you do to educate or teach your children?