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Summer Vacation, the Unschooling Way

For most children, summer means no school, vacation time! For our family, summer usually meant staying indoors more, due to the Alabama heat, and for some reason this often led to an increase in more formal learning than our usual unschooling days. For example, we would spend more time together reading subjects of interest. It was always nice of J.K. Rowling to release her newest Harry Potter tomes in early summer so that we could have a good time reading those aloud. Board games and card games would get used more, as would our library card for audio books and videos. Occasionally we would even resort to a workbook or two, trying to improve some handwriting skills or maybe even math skills.

How does your family spend the summer? Do you take a vacation from schooling? Do you plan activities to keep your children busy? If so, here are some resources and activities your family might find enjoyable this summer, both indoors and out of doors!

  • Weather: Always a Hot Topic

    Explore weather and how it affects our lives in these days of global weather changes. Cloud formation, air temperature, wind speed, humidity, precipitation; meteorology often fascinates children of all ages.
  • Investigating Thermometers and Temperature

    Explore thermometers and temperature and engage in hands-on activities this summer. Discover air currents (convection) within your house. Investigate conduction and the properties of insulation. Graph your results to see if patterns emerge.

3 comments to Summer Vacation, the Unschooling Way

  • C.G.

    We are taking a break from formal learning, or perhaps I should call it book learning, for the summer. We are still doing amazing things together. We are actually doing things now that we didn’t feel we had time for when we were doing school. We hung up posters in the kids’ rooms: snakes, frogs, the United States, birds and more; and we actually discussed them. We go for family bike rides and weekend camping trips. I guess I could go on and on. It is nice to let go of the pressure I feel sometimes when we are doing school. There are fewer expectations on learning, but learning still occurs.

  • We will spend the summer doing fun unit studies. We just recently saw Kung Fu Panda so we are all going to study China right now. We are then going to use that as a springboard for the Summer Olympics. The kids are in 2 summer reading programs and we will spend lots of time on the beach. 🙂 Since we live in a hurricane prone area, we will be doing a mini unit on hurricanes. My kids love to track them. They feel like they have a little bit more control.

  • I love posters, C.G.! We had posters hanging in the kid’s bathroom all the time. I’d rotate them from month to month or season to season. We had posters on the universe, on the life cycle of water, on identifying trees, all found free online.

    I often think more learning occurs when we remove the expectations. Expectations mean pressure or stress on the part of the teacher and/or student, which does not lead to ideal learning situations.

    This is a great time to study China, Chrissy. I remember how much fun we had with the Summer Olympics of 1996. The Olympic Torch came right past our house, as it was traveling from the Jesse Owen Memorial Park to Atlanta. What a sight! My youngest learned a lot about many different countries during the Olympics, as the teams and where they came from always intrigued him. He did a whole unit study on the different countries flags during one Olympics.

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