During summer vacation, we all appreciate a brief break from rigorous studies and the routines of homeschooling. It can be a beautiful time of family vacations, relaxing summer evenings, and quality time together. Summer can also be an overwhelming time filled with trips, visits, camps, and activities.
Whether you feel a need for slowing down or for re-introducing directed activities, here are some practical ideas from our MODG consultants for how to take advantage of these months away from your normal school-time routines.
As one of our consultants said, “Most of all remember to catch your breath and have fun!"
- Don’t stop reading! Encourage your children to read a few books that you choose, along with others of their choice. Prizes help make it more enticing! Some reading time also provides a little restful break for active children. Reading aloud together is also valuable—find good classics that everyone will love. The bond you create will last a lifetime.
- Delve into “hands on” art projects, especially longer and messier projects. Introduce your children to new supplies, such as oil pastels, acrylics, charcoal; or a new way to use them, like painting mini figures. A new hobby may be born!
- Plan a summer-themed unit study. Read Misty of Chincoteague and study island ponies and the seashore. Read books about lighthouses and learn how the keepers were heroes and heroines saving lives. Visit a lighthouse if possible. Pull out Robert McCloskey books and have fun! Blueberries for Sal is a perfect lead into a blueberry unit. Pick berries and make some recipes with blueberries. Cook some down to make paint and paint pictures with it. Most of all remember to catch your breath and have fun!
- Play games that use math skills. There are pizza and pie versions that help with fractions and some that require earning and adding money. Baking together is a great science experiment and also can help students with multiplying or dividing if you double or half a recipe. And then you have a treat to share!
- Set up a simple home altar with a statue of Our Lady. Invite the children to bring Mary treasures they find outside or while on vacation trips: pretty rocks, wild flowers, shells, beach glass, pine cones, feathers, etc.
- If you do academic work during the summer, keep it stress-free and fun. Summer is an ideal time for following the natural interests of your child. Go to the library and choose books about some subject the kids want to learn a little more about. They can share with the family any fun facts they learned.
- Start nature journals for the summer. Draw simple sketches of flowers and trees in your yard, and identify them. John Muir Laws is a family friendly website all about keeping a nature journal.
- Over the summer have “Mondays with Mom”. Each child gets a turn on a Monday with Mom. Let the child choose the activity. Do something fun together and get to know each other better.
- Taking a family car trip? Listen to audio books along the way! MODG’s history syllabi for middle schoolers have some great book ideas.
- Teach your little kids how to do new household chores. After a summer of practicing, it’s easier to add them into your school day schedule. Have each child think of a few of their favorite meals, and help them learn to cook as many of them as they are able!
- Make a family consecration to St. Joseph!
- Play board games and strategy games like Backgammon, Chess, Sequence, Monopoly, Quirkle, Set, etc. These are good brain exercisers and also provide fun bonding time with family members.
- Help your children learn to play the penny whistle or ukulele from free online videos or have them take swing dancing lessons.
- Consider downloading a nature app like Seek. When you are on your summer hikes, take a picture of any plant or bug or animal and the app will help you identify it. This is a neat way to learn about native plants and delve into ecosystems in general.
- Have a backyard camping night or a backyard family or neighborhood movie night! Go stargazing! Explore state or national parks together as a family. Attend outdoor theatre productions like Shakespeare in the Park.
- Encourage your children to learn a new hobby like crocheting, knitting, or embroidery. They can learn from Klutz books or beginners books available at the local library or from videos on YouTube. It may be the beginning of a lifelong hobby! Listen to audiobooks at the same time - classics or books from MODG history reading lists. This can be a great way to have fun while getting through some of the upcoming fall's more challenging reading assignments at the same time!
Thank you to our consultants for these great ideas for creating lasting summer memories with our children!