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School vacation doesn’t mean a vacation from learning. As a matter of fact it is impossible to STOP a child from learning. That’s what kids do. They learn from their parents, they learn at school, they learn from books, they learn from their peers, and they learn from play.
Three months is a long time for children to go without any structured instruction. I see two kinds of kids by the end of the summer: One group is bored to the max. The others are so over-programmed they feel like they haven’t had a vacation at all.
Strive for a happy medium. Give your children the opportunity to attend summer classes, day camp, or sports instruction. But be sure they have plenty of time to learn and do things on their own.
Summer is the perfect time to encourage hobbies which kids do on their own like collecting bugs, or writing to pen pals, or studying dinosaurs. But it’s also a good time to work along side their parents to learn some grownup stuff like cooking or carpentry.
Planning a family vacation? Let the kids map the route, calculate what gas will cost, and learn a bit about the locations to be visited.
Thinking about a big project you’ve been putting off forever like labeling old family photos or sorting recipes? Involve the kids. They can learn about Great Grandpa and his farm and realize you have to read and know how to measure in order to make a pie.
Even though it’s summer remember the library is still open. A wise mother I know asks her children to read one book of their choice every week and write a short report. This replaces those summer reading lists we got when I was a girl.
Summer is a good time to start a family book group. Each person reads aloud from a favorite book and then you talk about the book. Alternatively try a family story-telling time when each person tells a story. You can have themes like telling the most scary story or telling a story that takes place on another planet.
The idea is to see that all these activities are fun. And even when you are part of the fun let the children figure things out on their own rather than be taught.
Two final suggestions: Don’t let such summer learning cut too deeply into do-nothing time. Don’t let summer equal unlimited TV watching. TV rules are in effect all year long.
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