Yup, it’s that time of year again – school’s out and the kiddos are home 24/7! Are we having fun yet? Some of you may even be fortunate enough to be planning some time away. But did you know that you can go on vacation AND use the time to provide an educational boost as well? Here are some tips to make sure they don’t “lose their heads” – or at least their brains – while out of school.
- Prepare ahead of time by doing research. Check the internet or write to the Chamber of Commerce and find interesting and educational places to visit at your destination. See if any of them correlate to your children’s interests, and you’ll be getting off to a great start!
- Use your vacation to study a specific them or topic. One year a friend of ours planned their summer travels around historic and notable places around the state. After their kids had already spent the year learning about these locals in books, they were super excited to get some hands-on and real-life experiences, as these historic sites became real to them!
- Always include a journal or diary assignment of some sort. Even non-writers can dictate a few thoughts for you to write down, and anyone can illustrate or add pictures from flyers or postcards. Starting a collection along the way gives them opportunities to arrange them or prepare a display when they get home. This not only helps to strengthen vacation memories but reinforces the educational aspect of the time away.
- If you need some ideas of how to get started, take a look at what I have used with my own family on more than one occasion –> http://bit.ly/L5lcdG
Need a break but can’t “get out of Dodge”? No worries! “Staycations” are becoming more and more popular in this economy. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of a memorable vacation in your own backyard:
- Take a break from technology – turn off the cell-phones, ipods, computer…and just focus on enjoying each other and your time together
- Be unavailable to others – remember, you’re on vacation, so act like it!
- Resolve to stay out of the kitchen! Eat out (as much as your budget allows), grill out or cook over an open fire (just be aware of any applicable local ordinances)
- Plan activities you wouldn’t normally do, whether they happen in your backyard, your own town, or a nearby city, park or museum.
- Pull out a local map and come up with new places to visit that are within a “doable” distance (take into account spending time getting there and getting back home!)
If you’re like me and enjoy a good book, try out some of these for some more ideas:
The Great American Staycation by Matt Wixon
Backyard Vacations: Outdoor fun in your own neighborhood by Carolyn Haas, et al.
To paraphrase an oft-used saying: “the family that learns together, stays together”! Whether you travel far and wide this summer or stay home-sweet-home, may you have fun times and many happy family moments…together!
Pat Fenner has been homeschooling her 5 children for 17 years, and writes on education and family topics on her website, Help 4 Your Homeschool. She reviews books as part of the Christian Women Affiliate’s “Review Crew”, writes guest-posts on related blogs and periodically contributes to Econobusters. You can read her piece entitled “From Fear to Flight” in an anthology published by the Gulf Coast Writers’ Association, due out this summer. She can be reached via email at Pat@Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com