Kids who are homeschooled deserve a summer vacation as much as those who attend public schools. The question is, how can parents create a vacation setting without making it look like an extension of the regular homeschool year? For the creative adults, there are ways to do it and make it productive and fun for both student and parents.
1. Get out and about: Make each summer day count by choosing a special adventure. Bring your child into the decision-making process. If you decide it will be a day at the local zoo, the student’s next-morning plan may be a visit to a new exhibit at the science museum. After the first summer week, you and your student may sit down and plan ahead on activities during the next several weeks, and then on to the end of summer.
2. Travel far and wide: At least three or four times during the summer, accompany your homeschooler on a trip, ranging from overnight to a week. Choose a theme that represents the student’s current interests and possible future higher education and career route.
For example, if the interest is in theater, spend time in New York or other city to attend several current Broadway or off-Broadway plays. Another trip could take the musically-inclined student to summer festivals at Bonnaroo in Tennessee, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, or go classical at Tanglewood in Massachusetts.
3. Pursue pet projects: Work with your student to do something entirely new in education, but make it more fun than classroom routines. For example, learn a new language together, or send your older student alone into a business that involves a foreign language. Using both the internet and actual experience, opt for a language that will be productive for the student’s future plans.
For example, if there are Hispanic, Italian or Middle Eastern restaurants in town, spend days at one talking with owners and employees. Immerse in the language by doing chores, including taking reservations, clean up, food preparation and serving.
4. Get physical: Go for day trips by bike and hike. Stop frequently to study trees, flowers and other natural happenings along the way. Take a camera or use iPhone or other shooting device to record your shared adventures. Work with your student to put together a computer-designed or paste-up summer science scrapbook.
5, Rough it: If your student is very young, camp out overnight in the back yard, and include food preparation, campfire, sing-along and story-telling. Perform and write down some original ghost stories to give your student practice in scripting and other creative writing projects.
5. Get out into the community: Volunteer together to spend a day a week at a hospital, homeless shelter or animal rescue facility. Another good experience is to get involved in an ongoing summer project, such as fixing up homes for elderly inner city residents.
Homeschooling in the summer can offer many ways to go beyond formal classroom education. With practical activities, you’ll give your student valuable real-life learning experiences.