Keeping your homeschooled children learning during breaks is probably a whole lot easier than you think. In fact, the kiddos will most likely not even realize they are still being educated as you work in mind and imagination enriching activities outside of the regular homeschool environment.
Parents and educators in public school frequently worry about the “summer slide” and children losing too much of what they learned during the year while off on the long break.
Although homeschooled children typically advance far more quickly than the majority of their public school peers, similar concerns can still plague the minds of homeschooling moms.
How The Homeschool Year Plays A Role In Learning Lost During Breaks
Unlike the traditional government school, the homeschool day and year takes on many different shapes.
When and how homeschooling breaks are taken is entirely up to the parents teaching the children at home. This alone gives homeschooled children an advantage when it comes to learning lost during breaks.
Breaks taken more frequently but in shorter duration and/or schooling all summer is common in homeschooling families. While homeschool year round might sound awful to children at first or seem too overwhelming for newbie parents, it rarely proves to be.
Homeschool days are notably shorter than a typical government school day. During the summer months, a year round homeschool most often has only an hour of structured learning or skips all structured learning except reading but engages in exploration, interactive, and hands-on learning experiences to broaden and inspire the mind.
Learning does not have to mean sitting in a chair doing worksheet and rapidly answers flashcard posed queries.
Homeschooling never needs, nor never should, closely mirror the public school classroom. Learning during homeschooling breaks also need not resemble educational activities during the regular academic year either.
Consuming, understanding, and retaining information is what the learning process is truly all about. What the children are learning is only the secondary part of the experience, especially during breaks.
Keeping the mind active and growing should be the goal over homeschool breaks. Summer break as well as other breaks, offers homeschooling moms the opportunity to help their children explore a passion, learn a new hobby, and hone critical thinking and analytical skills through a vast array of interactive and fun projects.
25 Ways To Keep Homeschooled Children Learning During Breaks
Plan half or full day adventures to historical sites, state and national parks, museums, historical interpretive events.
Bringing the history of our country to life and exploring the natural world will infuse social studies and science learning into the homeschool breaks without ever cracking a book.
Write A Book
Help the children make their own book covers, and fill them with pages (perhaps even after making their own paper) so they can either research or share what they already know (or both) about any topic that interests them.
Filling the books with art they create or print and paste will make the project even more fun.
A child that is super into dinosaurs at the moment but is not an avid reader will forget how much he or she dreaded having to read a book because they will be having too much fun making their own – especially if you go the extra mile, and help them create a pop up or flap book.
Make A Board Game
This is yet another way to use a subject or topic a child already loves to make an engaging and fun homeschool break learning project. If you little girls are deeply infatuated with fairies, help her make a game board, rules, and playing pieces to create their own board game to play with siblings and friends.
Make plans to spend time volunteering at a local or regional facility that is of interest to the children, such as an animal refuge, farm, or the library for the bookworms in the family.
Children will learn more about something they love in a hands-on manner while fostering a greater sense of responsibility and independence in the process.
There are numerous ways you can offer the opportunity to explore music and motion during homeschool breaks.
The children can take music lessons, tour a music studio or music department of a local college, watch music being performed live, make their own musical instruments, write a song, and make a music video with siblings or homeschooling friends.
Learning about the history and either famous performers they enjoy or local favorites they may never have heard up but could meet during the break.
Help the children write their own play or read one from a story they already enjoy. The children can make a stage set and costumes and perform the play for the family or your local homeschooling group after inviting the other children in the group to help with the project.
Foster Little Entrepreneurs
Help the children draft a business plan to set up a lemonade stand, bake sale, yard sale, or to use their crafty or performance skills to launch a money making endeavor. There is no better way to learn how to budget time and money than to go into business for yourself.
The children will learn planning, time and money management skills, responsibility, and independence while earning their own funds to spend on a special purchase or activity.
While there are many worthwhile youth groups children across America can join, 4-H may have the biggest life long impact, and will keep the learning process alive all summer long to a significant degree.
The 4-H year begins with registration in January with the year completing at the end of December – January; fairs are held during the summer months.
The children will not only spend the bulk of the summer working with their animals and preparing for the fair showing, they will be completing workbook activities year round to learn about the husbandry of their live project.
You do not need to keep livestock to participate in 4-H. Members can take a wide variety of projects to show at the fair, such as sewing, baking, mechanics, carpentry, etc.
During homeschool breaks throughout the year, kids can work on their non-livestock projects so they are completed in time for the judging deadline.
Take A Class
Summer and winter break day, weekend, and weeklong courses for children abound in too vast a variety to list here.
In addition to sports camps, homeschool children can also learn how to bake, ride horses, in computer science, journalism camp, painting, performing arts, video production.
Such youth courses are available in nearly any topic you could think of and are offered both in person and in virtual and interactive online classrooms.
Many community colleges and universities run summer programs related to the course majors on the campus for not only teens but young children, as well.
Treasure hunts are always fun. You can use a typical compass or a GPS device to participate in geocaching experiences in public spaces, or create a hunt on your own homestead, hiding small treats in weatherproof containers for the children to find.
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Purchase some tangram puzzle pieces to help build both spatial reasoning and geometry skills. Children of all ages will enjoy manipulating the tangram shapes to complete puzzles.
You can also find tangram puzzle shape printables online and make your own using cardstock paper or by covering regular printer paper in clear contact paper to make them stiffer and more durable.
Make reading outdoors a special part of the day during homeschool breaks. Kids can help choose the menu for lunchtime picnics after being given a budget and helping both shop and prepare the portable feast.
Reading skills, comprehension, critical thinking, and the introduction of new vocabulary words can all take place while sharing a meal with the children under a tree or atop a barnyard picnic table, or any spot the children find in the woods that looks like it would be fun to explore.
Get free audiobooks on topics the children enjoy or on subjects you will be exploring after the homeschool break.
The children can listen to the books while traveling in the car, when laying down for bed, or when doing their chores. Cramming more reading comprehension into the day in a fun way will seem more like a fun treat than a homeschool lesson.
Boys and girls alike from preschool through age 10 (or even 12) will have fun while increasing engineering, motor, creativity, critical thinking, spatial awareness, and problem solving skills while playing with building toys.
Some of the most open ended and interactive building toys for any age include Lego, K’Nex, Magna Tiles, Keva Planks, Erector Sets, marble mazes, and Citiblocs.
Let the children choose a movie or documentary theme for the week. Find documentaries you can stream to match and create food, costumes, craft projects, building block projects, clothing, etc. to match the theme to fully immerse the children into the subject matter.
Teach the children how to grow their own groceries and preserve them. The gardening activities can also include the healthy food pyramid, preparing the food, good and bad bugs for the garden, soil testing, composting, and the pollinators that help us grow our food.
During homeschooling breads during cold winter months you can start seeds, make a window “greenhouse” using a freezer bag and dampened cotton, cultivate herb plants indoors, build a cold frame out of wood and glass or plexiglass, learning about tilling to prepare the soil for the spring, etc.
Water And Snow Fun
Use the outdoor environment as a classroom. Explore how fast snow melts, make snow ice cream, build snow structures, make and weigh snow balls, see what sinks or floats, go creeking, build toy boats, and learn about hydropower by building scale models, or even a working water generator using scrap materials around the homestead.
Be An Explorer
Put together an explorer kit for the children to use to learn more about the natural world around them.
Let the children make a map of the homestead or a section of a local state park to teach orienteering, provide them with a compass to teach directions, and find their own way on the trails.
Teach them about natural ways to find their way if they lose the compass, make their own compasses, go bird and small animal watching with binoculars and a camera, learn how to identify native trees, plants, and wild edibles.
Going on a nature scavenger hunt to help young children learn to identify flora and fauna is a wonderful way to spend a morning while hiking or riding on an ATV.
Be A Scientist
Provide magnifying glasses, a telescope, binoculars, a microscope and similar scientific investigation tools to help the children learn more about the world they live in.
Perhaps a budding law enforcement officer would thrive during a homeschool break if he or she could have a fingerprint kit to use to learn how to test objects for latent prints.
Use homeschooling breaks to teach the children how to fish, hunt, and trap for their own food. Learning how to not only harvest but process the food is excellent self-reliance and responsibility training.
Teaching the children how to tan the hides of the animals they hunt and trap and turn them into leather they can use for making clothing, shoes, tack, etc. is also an excellent learning opportunity to teach not only critical thinking and academic, but survival homesteading skills, as well.
Embark on a family history project to learn and chart the family tree. Researching and finding photos of ancestors, where they lived, and how life was like during different generations and centuries will be a rewarding and enriching history project that can be built upon and expanded for years to come.
Spend some time on homeschooling breaks teaching the children traditional homesteading skills such as sewing, hoof trimming, cooking over an open flame, firewood cutting, berry picking and jam making, candle making, digging up clay for pottery making, knife sharpening, and soap making, for example.
Children will learn self-reliance, comprehension, and critical thinking skills, while you can also tie the skills being taught or honed to history lessons.
Building And Repair Projects
Teach or improve the carpentry and mechanical skills of the children by having them help or even guide building and repair projects around the homestead during homeschool breaks.
Children will not only learn valuable skills, but enhance their math, geometry, and reading comprehension while working with measuring and weighing tools and reading as well as following directions.
If the children want to raise more baby chicks, help them design, budget, and build a new brooder, a new house for Fido, or work together on a dollhouse or superhero headquarters as a homemade gift for a little one’s upcoming birthday or Christmas.
During homeschool summer breaks the children can take swimming lessons, lifeguard courses,first aid, and boating classes.
The recreational activity courses will help teach responsibility, independence, comprehension, and critical thinking skills – and likely increase maturity levels, as well.
Help the child explore a future career interest by setting up a job shadowing, mentoring, internship, or apprenticeship opportunity during homeschooling breaks.
Explorers programs for first responders are common in many communities. If such a program does not exist, approaching a local EMS station or fire department for a brief to extended internship will likely be met with welcome arms.
If your child is interested in a career that a shadowing project is not readily available in your community – like becoming an astronaut, look for virtual experiences online that can help further their interest and knowledge about the possible career choice.
Keeping the homeschooled children you love and care for learning during breaks will require some advance planning and budgeting.
Involving the children in the break experiences and activities planning as much as possible will help foster their sense of pride, excitement, and ownership of their own learning – causing them to embrace the unofficial “school” activities even more.
Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day, raising chickens, goats, horses, and tons of vegetables. She’s an expert in all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping, and many more.