Admittedly, starting my homeschooling journey in the summer was not the best idea for my family. I decided I was ready to take the plunge mid-March and by the end of the school year I was BURSTING with ideas and activities. I had written half of our Unit Studies, had bookmarked well over a hundred homeschool blogs and websites, and had carefully mapped out and scheduled the next six months of our lives.
I had envisioned my perfect little homeschool. I would wake up, prepare a balanced and healthful breakfast and all the kids would sit around the table like little 18th century British pupils complete with bonnets and knickers and delightful yet slightly irritating accents...
..ok, that fantasy went a little too far but needless to say I thought homeschooling during the summer would be a breeze.
I'm a month in and I have to say, um, not so much.
Firstly, I had not intended on home educating my youngest child this year but since it is summer break she is home and I find it a little more challenging for me, as a parent, to create Unit Studies that she can join in on at this time.
Secondly, since all the kids we know are out of school I often find that my streamlined schedule is interrupted by this playdate or that sleepover.
Due to the general lack of summertime structure I have decided to simply focus on Life Skills and Personal Development type stuff over the summer with a few math drill sheets and required reading to keep the little brains nice and spongy.
While keeping things fun and loose I have decided to add plenty of "sneaky teaching" to the mix, as well.
Teaching opportunities are everywhere...seriously EVERYWHERE! Here are some of my favorite ways to sneak in some learnin' while goin' with the flow..
Uno - This is a great game for the teeniest of students. Baby Gaga has been playing since she was three or so. It's a great way to introduce and review colors, numbers, basic math (darn those Draw 4 cards!), taking turns and serious concentration - following those Reverses and Skips really cooks little noodles.
Scrabble Slam - This game is a sort of fast-paced, watered down version of Scrabble. While MEH and I play a competitively aggressive smack-talk laden game, for the kids we work as a team building words one letter at a time. This is perfect for Professor Fox who is so logical that the illogical ways of the English language tend to irritate him. We can laugh together at the fact that "bead" and "dead" do not rhyme.
Chutes and Ladders - Basic addition and taking turns are reinforced again. You can also teach kids how to handle disappointment and how to persevere. I know this sounds a little extreme but seriously watching your gamepiece slide down a chute, putting you in last place when you were previously ahead can be devastating for little ones. Especially little competitive ones. Teach them to just hang on and resist the urge to quit and they could be climbing a ladder to the top in no time. ;-)
Blackjack - This popular casino game locks in basic addition skills and teaches logic. To hit or not to hit, that is the question.
Chess - I didn't learn how to play until just a few years ago. My kids learned in their traditional school and now we play at home. The logic and strategy growth is pretty obvious. Project Runway and I make it fun my adding dialogue while we play, making the chess pieces talk like dolls, "Hey I'm the queen and I'm comin' to get yo king, girl!"
Grocery Shopping - Being a single mom my grocery budget is tight. I let the kids help with menu planning and looky there, division! Should we budget a certain amount of money per meal or per food group when we shop? While we are there we can talk geography. Which traveled further? The onions from Georgia or the oranges from California? The little one is in charge of making sure we "eat the rainbow" putting something red, something orange, something yellow, etc. in the cart!
Cookin' them Groceries - Weights and measures, fractions, nutrition and more.
These are some of my favorite ways to teach without "teaching." What are your favorites?