As the end of the traditional school year is upon us, there is excitement in the air. It seems as though whether your a structured classic education homeschooler, a die-hard unschooler, or somewhere in between, the feeling of summer brings about anticipation. Every where you look there are exciting programs for the young and old. From online adult reading groups to local park summer camps, everyone can participate in something exciting. So whether you “book” you kids solid through the summer months, or lay around the house from June to September, why not have fun learning at the same time?
As we have progressed toward becoming more of a learning lifestyle family, we have eliminated the traditional summer break. Sure, we do less of the dreaded stuff the kids grumble about, but I have yet to see great results from letting their minds go to mush. Children are such creatures of habit, that nearly three months of no learning makes starting back up in the fall a nightmare. Besides, it’s a great opportunity for trying new things out. Ever wonder how much you might enjoy a less structured learning plan? Now’s the time.
One of the ways that we have encouraged a love for learning is to tell the kids to find something to do with their time, without playing with their mindless toys. (These are the toys that take little to no imagination or thinking. You know, action figures.) When our kids are done with their chores, and we have completed any formal learning time as a family, they may pick to play with educational toys, or look through learning books from our home library. I know it sounds kind of silly, but that’s really all you have to do. Letting kids be kids allows them to explore and learn.
Over the years, we have accumulated a collection of various books and resources on a wide assortment of subjects. (WARNING: Many moms have gone a little overboard while trying to create an interesting library for their kids.) I try to be selective in what we get, even if it is free or very cheap. I want to make sure it is not against God or His principles, and I don’t want to clutter up my home.
If you really don’t want to run the risk of cluttering up your home, visit your local library. We have discovered a new love for checking out the children’s non-fiction section. We basically walk up and down the rows, letting the kids grab several books that look interesting to them. Gone are the days when we only checked-out fiction books. Surprisingly enough, although a little reluctant at the start, they quickly warmed up to finding informational books to check-out. When given the opportunity and proper resources kids find learning to be a ton of fun!
So, without saying that you have to necessarily change your whole homeschooling philosophy this summer, maybe you should give a relaxed learning approach a try. Even if you typically love a structured teaching environment, there’s no better time than the summer to let everyone have a little more fun. And why not learn at the same time?