Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy
At my house, we’ve decided to take a “summer break” this year—or at least that’s what we’re telling our kids. When they’re off their regular school schedule (you know, the one where they start their school days with math at 9:00 a.m.), it feels like summer vacation.
Here’s what they don’t know: my husband and I are very intentional about providing great content so they are learning all the time—even while they’re on “break.”
We stock our home with what they need to keep learning all summer long. School may technically be out of session, but that’s no reason to put their education on hold.
Here are our favorite tips and tricks for building a content-rich environment.
Stock your shelves.
Kids who have access to good books improve their reading skills over the summer months; kids with no access regress.
Fill your personal shelves with great books on a wide range of topics, being sure to include both easy and challenging reads.
Hit the library.
We adore our public library and visit it year-round. The summer is a great time to get familiar with your local branch.
Not sure what to check out once you’re there? Try this idea from Susan Wise Bauer.
When she was growing up, her mom required her to check out at least one book in these four categories during their weekly library visits:
- a story
- a book of poetry
- a biography
- a book about how to do something.
The kids weren’t required to read all their library books, but Susan said that as the week wore on and she finished the books she was most excited about, she might actually read the poetry book just because it was there.
My family loves audiobooks for lazy summer afternoons—or any time the kids want to hear a story but mom needs a break.
We’ve long been fans of Jim Weiss’s storytelling recordings on topics ranging from the Lewis and Clark exploration to Greek mythology to Shakespeare. I just found out a huge collection of his work is available on Spotify, for free.
I loaded up my phone with great stories (and Story of the World, also narrated by Weiss, and our Latin review), bought a $30 BlueTooth speaker, and told my kids our car trips are about to get more interesting.
I love to listen to audiobooks when I’m running, gardening, or doing the dishes—and I think it’s good for my kids to see their mom loves a good story, too.
Read out loud.
Audiobooks are great, but I prefer to read to my kids myself—especially when they’re in their pjs.
Or for a change of pace at bedtime, try the appropriately named Bedtime Math, a free service that delivers delightfully wacky word problems straight to your inbox.
Play, play, play.
Kids learn through play, so make the most of it.
Summer’s a great time to explore science experiments, building projects, purposeful LEGO play, and other STEM-oriented toys, games, and books.
Be a great model.
Read to your kids—but let your kids catch you reading for your own sake.
Talk to them about what they’re learning. Take the family bookstore-browsing, just for fun. Show them you value learning.
They’ll notice. Kids are smart like that.
How do you plan to keep your kids learning this summer?