Did you know that on average students lose two months of reading skills during the summer break? If this cycle were to continue, the gap of learning by the ninth grade could be significant. As homeschoolers we have even more flexibility to keep the summer learning going with our children at home. It doesn’t have to be a chore or “like school” to bridge the gap between school years.
Continued summer learning can be simple and fun!
Here are some easy to implement activities that I’ve found to keep the learning fun and simple all summer long:
1. Plant a garden. Everything from planning the plots, seeds, and schedule, to making delicious recipes from your bounty can be a great summer learning experience. (If you don’t have space for a garden, you could go picking — like at a strawberry patch — and make a meal out of it.)
2. Plan a trip. This could be camping, a road trip, or even an adventure in your own town. To make it interactive your kids could plan out the budget, go shopping for any food in advance, and even map out the course you will take.
3. Make nature observation and journaling a part of your weekly routine. The concept of specific nature observation activities is that any skill you want to get good at, you have to practice the different parts that make it up to be proficient at it. One way to be a proficient nature observer is to have a “sit spot” that is your very own. You can have your child pick a sit spot, explore it with a magnifying glass and binoculars, map it, and incorporate their findings into their nature journal. You could also use nature to create (boats for the lake out of natural materials, forts, etc) during your daily nature observation time.
4. Find some summer bridge books. Maybe you love the idea of having a small amount of structured learning at the beginning of the day, and then using the rest of the day to play, play, play? There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. We like these Summer Bridge Activity Books that often include summer game activities, stickers, flashcards, and more. They are a fun way to keep the learning going, while enforcing any skill sets that you want your child to keep during the summer months.
6. Geocaching. Finding and creating a cache is a great way to get outside while utilizing some great mathematic and problem solving skills at the same time. We enjoy using the IOS App “Cachly” for finding local caches.
7. The Jr. Ranger Badge Program. This program is available in most state parks as well as national parks. Kids around ages 5-13 can participate by answering questions and discovering what rangers may do at that particular site. There are also some “at home” programs available along with more info at https://www.nps.gov/kids/jrrangers.cfm.
8. Read, Read, Read. Bring books everywhere you go: the backyard, the beach, the park, everywhere. Summer is also a neat time to prolong family worships and do extra reading and Bible study time, as you may not be able to spend as much time during the school year. Bonus: what a great time to experience God’s love through His creation firsthand!
9. Quality family time and rest. Enjoy the season of rest and fellowship! Many times just sharing experiences together as a family can boost learning and connection. Summer is a great time to kick back and spend quality time with those you love.
Whatever you choose to do to boost summer learning, remember that it can be fun and easy to keep up the learning during those summer months.