Summer is Natural for Learning
While the summer months offer lots of time for fun and creative play, learning doesn’t actually stop. Summer is natural for learning!
I strongly encourage homeschoolers to take a break from formal lessons for the summer. But use summertime as an opportunity for natural learning. It’s the perfect time for fields trips, following your children’s interests, visiting the library, or reading outdoors on a blanket in the shade.
So in this episode of the Art of Homeschooling podcast, I’ll share some simple ways to include natural learning in your summer rhythm. And I want to encourage you to set your intentions now so summer doesn’t slip away from you!
Relaxing into Summer Rhythms
At the end of the school year, it can be so helpful, reassuring, and inspiring to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished in the past year, before you slip into summer mode. It’s also a great time to sketch out your summer rhythm and set some intentions for summer learning and planning.
I’m in the middle of leading a group of homeschoolers through the Summer Reset this week (and it’s not too late to join in!). And one of the comments I hear most often is just how incredibly helpful it is to slow down and go through the practical steps of wrapping up one year, taking a break, and then preparing for the next. It sounds so simple, but this process requires some focus.
Often I see homeschool influencers make learning look so easy, so effortless. Like all you have to do is play with your kids, read tons of books, teach them to knit, bake sourdough, and voila, you have a literate child!
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to a social media fantasy. And don’t get discouraged. Teaching and learning are real work. (And I appreciate all that you do!)
Even if you didn’t accomplish everything you set out to do this past school year, it’s important to acknowledge ALL that was achieved. And find a simple way to celebrate that.
Next, look ahead to your summer and set some intentions for how you want your summer to go. Then relax into a rhythm with room for natural learning. Because summer is natural for learning.
What is it you want to focus on with your kiddos this summer?
- Learning a few key life skills?
- Reading practice?
- Writing skills?
- Math skills?
Research shows that the “summer slide” is a real concern. You’ve worked hard all year long to grow skills, develop capacities, and inspire creative thinking. During the summer, even though you’re letting go of formal lessons, you can still be intentional about practicing skills and following your child’s interests in learning and discovery.
Consider what we do as adults and lifelong learners. If we want to develop a new skill like baking bread or singing with a group, we practice. A lot. And if we’re curious about something, say genealogy or nutrition, we dive deep and immerse ourselves in it. For our kiddos, summertime offers a great opportunity for natural learning like this.
Here are a few suggestions for natural learning this summer!
#1: Summer Reading
Summertime is made for reading!
You can get inspiration from Beverly Cleary’s Drop Everything And Read idea. Perfect for hot summer afternoons!
Or sign up for your local library’s summer reading program where kids can track their reading hours, earn prizes, and connect with your community.
#2: Math Games
For math skills, practice once or twice a week by playing math games. A great starting place is the Games Masterclass inside the Inspired at Home community, where we have a library of over 30 masterclasses.
Writing practice can be as simple as sending postcards to relatives. Or maybe a cousin or friend would like to be a pen pal for the summer.
#4: Life Skills
For learning a myriad of life skills, I recommend the #LifeSkillsNow SUMMER CAMP (<<< that’s my referral link). The camp is 100% virtual, free and the workshops are bite-sized and actionable with over 90 online workshops for kids ages 5-18.
Organized by Katie at Kids Cook Real Foods, it all starts June 12th. You’ll find workshops on sewing, handling anxiety, cooking, careers, finances and so much more.
Summer is natural for learning life skills along with your kiddos to help them build confidence as they grow.
Remember These Magical Summers
Homeschooling is certainly not a job for the faint of heart.
You’re doing such important work in the world, my friend!
And in the words of my sweet mother-in-law, “a mother’s job is making memories.” Summer is a great time for soaking up the sun and making unforgettable memories. May we never forget these magical moments.
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