Note: This post is sponsored by, and written in collaboration with, Leavenworth Virtual School.
Teachers spend weeks every Fall reviewing and re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer months. This can have a cumulative effect year after year, and result in a long-term impact on their overall performance in school.
Now we are not talking about pulling out their workbooks to practice math equations or studying how to diagram a sentence. As your family sets out on summer fun and adventures, it’s the perfect time to remind them that learning can happen anywhere and at any time – not just in a “classroom” environment. And it can actually be fun! The summer months offer a great time to explore interests that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional school curriculum.
Leavenworth Virtual School suggests the following 5 tips to make summer learning fun and keep your student’s minds fresh and alert during summer vacation so they can get a jump on their studies in the Fall. Check out the list below of ideas and get ready to have fun and learn at the same time!
- What’s the plan?
Make up a family calendar, decorate it, and fill it in with fun activities. Hopefully it will look a lot less busy than the school-year calendar. Have them chime in with outings they are looking forward to, like vacation, 4th of July, birthdays, etc. When they see how many days they have to enjoy the summer, they can get excited about filling them with stimulating activities.
- Road trip, anyone?
You have probably seen everything there is to see in your town. Plan a short road trip to a destination an hour or two away. Visit an unusual landmark or try a new lake. Instead of relying on GPS, ask your kids to figure out different routes on a map. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Some of the best sights are found off the beaten path. Ask them to point out signs along the way and play the License Plate game instead of watching a DVD or playing on a tablet in the backseat.
- What’s cooking?
A great exercise to involve all the senses is to get the whole family involved with cooking a great healthy meal. First, research an interesting recipe. Have the kids help plan out the shopping list and budget. Teach them about nutrition and good eating habits. In the kitchen, they can help measure ingredients and mix things up. A funny chef hat or apron can get them in the mood.
- Who’s up for a good book?
Make trips to the library a weekly affair. In addition to required summer reading, encourage reading for fun. Find out what activities the library has to offer, like clubs for comic book fans or afternoons for crafting. There are tons of free events to take advantage of just at your local public library.
- Ready for a culture shock?
Field trips aren’t just for the school year. Take your kids to a local museum or plan to travel to a national one. Don’t forget that small museums also have a lot to offer. Check out their website ahead of time to get them excited about the excursion – take a virtual tour if the website offers one.
While you’re at the museum, turn the trip into a treasure hunt by trying to find those paintings or objects in the museum you viewed online. Look for interactive exhibits and for periods of history that your child has already studied in school. This is a great idea on a rainy or super-hot day.
Summer vacation can be either a learning wasteland or a learning paradise. The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games, but with a little ingenuity and planning, the summer can be transformed into a time to stretch the mind, explore new hobbies, learn about responsibility and reinforce skills learned during the school year. If your child enjoys learning outside the classroom, a virtual school might be the right fit for your family.