However you arrange your homeschooling yearly schedule, a summer break of some kind is good for everyone. So take some time to regroup, relax, and have some fun with the fam!
Trust me, when your kids are grown, they won’t remember the grammar lessons or even that day camp, but they will remember the family outing to the local pool or the night that everyone caught fireflies together. So make some family memories!
Here is a list of possible activities for a summer of family amusement and bonding:
○ Try a week with no TV. Create themed evenings for the whole family for each day of the week: game night, reading night, puzzle night, coloring night (did you know that adult coloring books are all the rage?). Tell jokes, do crafts, draw or paint, write letters (grandparents will love you!), do crossword puzzles, look at photo albums or home movies, sing songs, or have a dance party where you learn different styles of dance, etc.
○ Play outdoor glow stick games.
○ Volunteer together for Meals-on-Wheels, a nursing home, animal shelter, or charity, or organize a community project.
○ Build a fort in the living room or pitch a tent in the backyard and camp out.
○ Write a play and practice it together (the library has books of short plays). And if you’re really adventurous, perform it for a nursing home.
○ Bake cookies for a neighbor or shut-in.
○ Have a good ole’fashioned show-and-tell. Have Dad share something from work.
○ Have a “pajama day” where everyone stays in their pajamas all day and you eat finger foods.
○ Go on a treasure walk, in the dark, with flashlights.
○ ‘Pick-your-own’ at a local farm or orchard.
○ Sign up for a summer reading program in your area or create your own, complete with pizza, ice cream, or special outing rewards.
○ Create a “Reading Tent” in your family room with a good supply of flashlights and a no-talking-once-you-enter rule. Parents can enjoy this too!
○ Pick a day for each child to be “Boss for a day.” They get to choose what you do and eat on their day.
○ Read “Fireflies” and catch lightning bugs. Check out “How Stuff Works” to find out how they light up. (Or if you live near the East Coast, catch 17 year cicadas – YUCK!)
○ Plan a stay-cation scavenger hunt. Ideas: cookie from a local bakery, a local business brochure, a travel map, lost golf ball from the local golf course, specific locally grown leaf or flower, an unusual fruit or vegetable from the grocery store.
○ Plan a surprise family outing day. Don’t tell the kids where you are going, and once you’re in the car, play the guessing game and see if they can figure it out before you get there.
○ Start a “Thankfulness Journal” in the spirit of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Each day everyone writes down something they are thankful for. Also makes a great dinner topic – share something good that happened today.
○ What new practical skill can you and kids learn together? Try out gardening, cooking, canning, sewing, etc., if you never have before!
○ When traveling, give each child their own map marked with your route.
○ Keep them occupied and happy at the grocery store with the coupon game. Hand the child the coupons for the aisle you are in, and they find the item.
○ Invent a “Brother” or “Sister” Day (like Mother’s and Father’s Day) and let that day be their special day.
○ Create a “Family Awards Night.” Reinforce your kid’s positive qualities by taking note of your children’s good efforts and deeds, and one night a week, present them with an award. Examples: Safety Award, Generosity Award, Kindness Award, Efficiency Award, etc.
○ Pick one day a month to be “Yes Day.” Write down and put in a jar every time your kids ask to do something and you have to say “no” or “not now.” Designate one day a month to pull those ideas out of the jar and do as many as you can. On the other days, to soften the “no,” remember to say cheerfully, let’s put it in the “Yes Jar.”
○ Have the whole family take evening walks around your neighborhood. As you come across others, invite them to join you.
○ Another way to get to know your neighbors, ask them to join you for a casual, progressive dinner.
○ Get a video from the library and start a fun work-out routine.
○ Start a weekly tradition – Saturday pancakes (adding bananas makes them extra good!), breakfast for dinner, or create a special dessert night.
○ Create History dinners – find period recipes, a little story, and maybe even some thrown together costumes. Then watch a period movie together.
○ Create a “summer memory book.” After each outing, have the kids write a short summary with interesting or funny observations and pictures.
○ Have a power outage night. Pretend the power is out and do anything that doesn’t use electricity.
○ Roast marshmallows or make s’mores over a fire pit or a grill. Go to a park if you don’t have one.
○ Create a memory jar. Collect a rock from every special outing and vacation. Write the date and where/what it’s from and any other special memory before placing it in the jar.
For further reading: School’s Out – Now What? (Part ONE)