summer homeschool ideas: what is an education in summer?

What is an education in summer?

I have learned to let go of academics in the summer. After thirteen years homeschooling, I need a break.

This is the season to dabble in project-based learning or unschooling.

Learning opportunities abound. 

Here are things we have done in summer.

Are they entertainment or learning opportunities?

Kids’ summer business.

The girls’ day camp is open for business. They’ve opened businesses before. This particular summer they placed posters around the neighbourhood for their summer day camp.

They learned to advertise, make professional posters and find the busiest bulletin boards. They learned to transact business. They learned to organize cooking lessons, science experiments, outdoor games, trips to the zip line, beach, and board games.

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Theatre participation.

This is an annual theme for our family. If we aren’t learning to memorize Hamilton’s catchy numbers, someone is memorizing lines and songs and blocking numbers for the latest community production. And when we’re not in a production, we’re watching one. Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat is playing in a theatre near us this weekend.


In some form or fashion, we do a little gardening together. None of my kiddos have the same passion for botany that I do (which means I have a built in quiet space), but I do insist on projects occasionally for two reasons: it’s healthy to get small hands in the dirt, commune with nature, and learn family project work. Wait, no, that was three reasons.

Nature study.

A little different than botany, because there’s more to the outdoors than gardening projects. An inevitable pursuit as we are building our own mini provincial park (our homestead of three acres beside a mountain river) is learning what’s edible, and what’s not. Wild raspberries, wild strawberries, morel mushrooms, thimbleberries, and roots are edible. Soapberries are not.

We’re watching osprey and robins nest in our riverside yard. We’re watching bald eagles nest in our front yard. We’re watching bugs crawl and spiders build webs. We’re smashing soft granite rocks on the river. And gathering firewood and foraging for saskatoons, wild sarsaparilla, elderberries, and rosehips.

Find a nature guide that you and your kids can work from, like this one.

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Not every one of us is crafty. One of us likes creating clay stones and clay bracelet charms. I like house decorating and finding a way to make Pinterest projects a reality in my home and garden. Sometimes the kids join me in the homeschool room to paint by number or free paint on dollar store canvases.

Above, our resident chemist making goo & our youngest cracking the Rubix Cube code.


I’ve got pain du chocolat on my list (though my thirteen year old daughter beat me to that). There’s also a new Italian family cookbook that must be tested. And these are just my ideas. My kids have more cooking plans than me. Thankfully, cooking never gets old, and at least one kiddo is eager to keep the bakery bursting.July 2016 001She made them before I did, and they were so good. Chocolate croissants, yum!

Animal collecting.

We adopted a part-Siamese kitty with bright greenish-blue eyes. There is debate on his name. ‘Oliver’ for the colour of his fur, or ‘Neptune’, for the colour of his eyes. I call him kitty. We have another little girl kitty too. Our girls are thinking they’ll name her after Taylor Swift’s kitten, Meredith (a name I considered for one of my children).

Don’t tell the gal on the right, but I’ve got a kitty planned for her next birthday.

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Everything is educational. Learning opportunities abound: new experiences, new people, new places, new books, and new interests.

And to complete the summer perfection, all these activities are learning opportunities and entertainment.

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Teresa Wiedrick
Teresa Wiedrick

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