Do we Homeschool in the Summer?

I was recently asked if we planned to homeschool throughout the summer.  We often start back to school a bit earlier in August than our public school friends, but our family has decided that we need most of the summer off… at least from our more formal approach to school. For one thing, the majority of the kids’ friends have “off” during the summer, so we set up more playdates and trips out and about. And, now that the kids are older we also sign them up for other opportunities — day camps, sleep away camps not to mention slumber parties with friends and our own family get-aways.

When we are home, I use summer as an opportunity to test out some fun new activities. I have a notebook and jot down summer ideas as I come across them throughout the year.  Some activities are just better when the weather is warm. And some indoor ideas I tuck away for when its 97 degrees and 98% humidity outside.

What kinds of things are on our list right now?  Things like:

  • slip-n-slide, 
  • solar oven, 
  • grow a cucumber in a bottle, 
  • fishing,
  • blind man’s bluff, 
  • foam snakes, 
  • spud,
  • star gazing (constellations),
  • outdoor chalk, 
  • slackline, 
  • candle making,
  • frisbee golf, 
  • camping out,
  • help at the local food pantry (we stopped helping out this year because of my health problems, but they always need more help in the summer and fall because of the fresh produce that is donated)
  • kayaking or canoeing, 
  • water balloon games, 
  • knots, 
  • t-shirt weaving,
  • cave tour, 
  • adopt a grandma (the kids read about this and wanted to look into this at a local nursing home), 
  • bike riding, 
  • picnics,
  • night games,
  • geocaching,
  • car wash, 
  • berry (and peach!) picking (and jam making), 
  • visit local historical sights,  
  • backwoods cooking, 
  • double-dutch jump rope, 
  • roller skating…
Anyway, that’s actually not even everything on my list, but it gives you an idea. Anything that sounds fun but that we don’t get to during the school year goes on that list. For example, I have some science activities bookmarked from Gizmos and Gadgets and books like that.
The only problem is that I have to make sure we have the materials we need and ready to go when the kids get to that point when they’re looking for things to do (and *I* have to muster the enthusiasm to just do it!).  I think we’re all pretty excited for the summer and the change of pace!
What about you… do you have any fun activities you’re going to try out with the kids this summer?
I’ll be sharing our summer fun in this new Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and maybe other days too, depending on what’s going on).
SummerActivities1Don’t miss this post: ideas for older elementary and middle school kids
Summer-Activity-Ideas-350

We’ll also be reading lots and lots of books this summer. In fact, I’ll be sharing some of our finds in a Children’s Literature Series that we’ll post on Saturdays. 

SaturdaySummerReads

Children’s Literature is a great way to expose kids to new times, places and cultures.  Some of the topics in this series include literature by and about Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanic Americans as well as books that explore the ancient world, the Middle East, World War II, Australia, China, Japan and more!

And just to get you started and excited for this series, I thought I’d share some well-loved picture books and novels. Just click on one of the pictures below to print out the list.

Books–25 Beloved Books Printable Lists

25BelovedBooks-ages4-8

25 Beloved Books for 4-8 Year Olds (In no particular order) These are affiliate links.

  1. Millions of Cats  by Wanda Gág
  2. Miss Nelson Is Missing!by Harry Allard
  3. Strega Nona: Book & CD by Tomie De Paola 
  4. The Art Lesson  by Tomie De Paola
  5. Stellaluna and Crickwing by Janell Cannon
  6. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina 
  7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 
  8. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff 
  9. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes  by Eric Litwin
  10. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault 
  11. The Lorax  by Dr. Seuss 
  12. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (and any of his books!)
  13. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  14. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox 
  15. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  16. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  17. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch
  18. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst 
  19. The Mitten by Jan Brett 
  20. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  21. Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus
  22. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema
  23. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  24. I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff
  25. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans 

25 Beloved Books for 8-12 Year Olds  (In no particular order) These are affiliate links.

  1. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  6. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  7. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  8. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  10. James and the Giant Peach  by Roald Dahl
  11. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  12. Shiloh  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  13. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  14.  Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  15. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  16. Anne of Green Gables  by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  17. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  18. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  19. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  20. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  21. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  by Judy Blume
  22. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  23. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  24. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  25. The Boxcar Children Books 1-4 by Gertrude Chandler Warner 
Again, these two lists are available here: Books–25 Beloved Books Printable Lists (Free Printable)
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. 
Do you have some favorite books that should be on this list?  Come tell us at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!  Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl
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