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Taking a Summer Break without Taking a Brain Break

We find ourselves in the midst of summer. For us, summer offers a much-anticipated break from our usual routine. The weather begins to warm just as our endurance for schoolwork is wearing thin. We start the countdown to days full of play and rest. This year, for the first two weeks of our summer break, we did just that—we played and rested. Unscheduled downtime was just what we needed—for two weeks. Then it started to feel staid and I became a bit concerned about what we would lose if we did not continue to practice. Plus, I really believe learning is not just for our school time, but for all time. I thought about what is important to our family and I designed a simple plan to ensure our summer break was not also a brain break.


1. Read and write every day. We are nearly finished reading Anne of Green Gables together. During rest time, my oldest child has been plowing through animal books and chapter books while my younger children are listening to A Bear Called Paddington. I think we will read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer next.


Since my children are young, handwriting is a relatively new skill. Correct pencil grip was a big deal for one of my guys and in those short two weeks, it had already begun to slip. They each complete a few pages of handwriting in a simple workbook daily. My children like this, because it is a fun change from their normal work. I like it because it requires no preplanning on my part. After talking with my mom recently, I learned my Grammy did the same thing with my mom and my aunts during the summer—tried and true.


2. Memorize a Bible verse each week. My children participate in Awana Clubs, so they have been memorizing verses throughout the year. They completed their books for the year, so we are now using their extra books to learn new verses during the summer.


3. Study nature by spending time outside. I am seizing every opportunity to experience the wonder of God's creation with my children. This includes enjoying time in our own backyard garden, visiting local parks with friends, taking note of plants, flowers, and bugs everywhere, and frequently adding observations in our creation journal. My oldest child recently found what he thinks was a common earwig on his shirt while playing in our front yard and we also recently discovered—inside our home—a winged insect that we still cannot identify!


4. Travel and explore. Traveling is one of our favorite ways to use our free time. We just experienced a great day trip: visiting the Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches in Historic Philadelphia.


5. Be physical. Go swimming, play baseball, ride bikes, and generally run around. The exercise is great, but my favorite part is seeing my children develop. Their imagination and gross motor skills develop right alongside their confidence. How can this growth not translate to the schoolroom?



I also worked with my children as they made their summer must-do list. Even at their young ages, they possess definite ideas about what constitutes summer. A few of the items from their short list include: ice cream, mini golf, and a day at the shore. I am really excited about all that our summer break will be.


How about you? How is your family intentional about your summer?

CATEGORIES: Articles, Classical Christian Education, Homeschooling Life

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