Last month, I shared planning tips on how to avoid summer slide in academic skills.
But it’s summer, and we all want to relax!
It's time to take a break from being the teacher and telling the kids what to do.
Instead, be a student WITH your kids!
Explore something new alongside them for a change. With the right projects, they'll practice their skills at the same time.
Kids absolutely love it when they get to experience their parents or teachers as their fellow students. It means so much to them when they can help you learn something new!
If the end result isn’t as you'd hoped, take note of what to try differently when you're the teacher again later.
With the projects below, you and the kids can be students together, and they'll get the skills practice they need too.
1) Plant a summer garden. Researching, preparing, and planting a summer vegetable or herb garden requires reading, critical thinking, strategic planning, and organizational skills. Not only that, but after your vegetables are harvested, be sure to plan what you’ll do with your harvest so it won’t go to waste. You could even go organic and get into composting! There are all sorts of directions to take with gardening together. Visit the Sparkhouse Family Blog for directions on how to begin.
2) Create a travel journal together. Where will you go this summer? What adventures will you have? Chronicle them all with pictures, souvenirs, and written captions to remember your summer experiences. This can be a scrapbook, a diorama, or a memory box. Choosing what to include and how to describe it requires critical thinking and writing skills. Why one item over another? Which is most important and why?
3) Be pen pals. Will your kids go away for summer camp, a mission trip, or a visit to relatives? Promise to write to each other. Exchange stories — anecdotes — in writing about something interesting or funny that happened so that the reader can feel like they were there. Writing anecdotes requires descriptive and narrative writing skills practice.
4) Be movie critics together. When it’s too hot to be outside, there’s little that’s more enjoyable than a good summer movie. Vogue recently published a list of 20 “must see” summer movies for assorted ages of kids and young adults. After the movie, go to a cafe and have a Siskel and Ebert style discussion on the film. Two thumbs up or two thumbs down? And why exactly? This practices analytical skills and articulation as you dive down into what makes the movie great or less than great.
5) Take a class in your local community. Music? Photography? Watercolor? Help each other learn something new together. This will instill confidence and teach problem solving skills as you set the positive example for how to deal with the normal setbacks and failures that come with trying something brand new for the first time.
6) Summer reading lists should always be a mainstay! Read the books your kids read and discuss them together. As with the film discussions from #4, practice all sorts of critical analysis like identifying the purpose of the books, determining how the author(s) set up their novels to achieve their purpose, and how well the author accomplished it.
Try learning with your kids for a change of pace. You’ll love it!