Fun Summer Prep for Scholastic Success
by Angela Breidenbach
Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, CEB)
As my children grew, I’d been hands-on all their lives, teaching them colors, numbers, songs, how to walk, talk, read, pray, etc. Teaching was natural year-round. As they grew, I watched for individuality. Starting with public school, two changed to private school, and two homeschooled during middle school. One spent her senior year in Thailand, graduating via an online Christian school. All six went to college. Five graduated with degrees so different it makes my head spin. One stopped after two years and changed paths. He went the way he should go, into a trade and pastoral counseling certification.
Why then did I teach a summer program for my children? Children need more than what school offers them if we are to raise them up in the way they should go. I wanted my children to be engaged in their own lives and community, use their imaginations, explore and enjoy reading for more than entertainment. I wanted to build more constructive summers than long hours of boredom and to supplement limitations of public education.
Can you imagine how hard it is to remember everything after the summer off? Skills not used are easily lost. I saw how difficult school could be for children who had to constantly relearn after months away. When children don’t have to constantly relearn, they’ll do well in school and in life.
Have you heard, “I’m bored” yet? Here’s your chance to solve boredom! The world is not only at your child’s feet but also at yours. Keeping their minds engaged during the summer has another benefit, too. It keeps a parent sane . . . isn’t that the cream in your coffee?
So what can you do to prepare your children for a better future?
Visit a local bookstore for some fun, interactive workbooks at and above your child’s ability. Be sure they help choose the books.
From one working mom to another, even weekend road trips and family vacations can be enough to help your child retain and infuse a joy of learning. The key is to plan summer education and have workbooks and activities for travel time. You don’t have to be super scheduled, but children thrive on events they can count on as well as special events they can look forward to regularly.
Psst . . . hot afternoons are the perfect quiet reading time and book discussions during dinner are simple starters.
Let your imagination go wild to engage your child’s mind, body, spirit and senses. The summer is an excellent time to explore and stretch all aspects of your children’s abilities. Think kinesthetic (physical) learning that uses all the senses and rotate subjects to keep them fresh.
14 Simple Summer Session Ideas
1. Plan daily and weekly activities that involve family, religious, health and local life.
2. Create personal summer calendars as board games for each child with squares for what you want them to learn like history, math, reading, spelling, chemistry, fitness, spiritual growth, relational growth, handwriting and logic. (The last two are often no longer taught in school.) Complete each week for fun rewards, and full calendars win an end-of-summer party.
3. Keep them reading! Enjoy weekly library days for kids’ book clubs, discover new genres, and follow their fascinations. Send written reviews and kid reporter articles to StoryMonster.com, where kids get paid.
4. Spend time at local attractions like museums, festivals and historic places. Slow down to read display signs!
5. Remember intergenerational activities build interpersonal skills and confidence. Older friends and relatives can share or teach activities, too.
6. Make bad weather days, car trips, flights and layovers the perfect opportunities for puzzle books, math and word games, and exploring topics and interests not available in school. Limit TV time. Great workbooks have crossword/word search puzzles, logic games, decoded messages or treasure hunt clues.
7. Experience music, dance, art, tours, woodwork, mechanics, etc. through private, group or camp settings.
8. Brush up on a language or have fun preparing for a future trip. Duolingo.com. website and free app has fun 10-minute foreign language games for all ages. Parents can play with young readers.
9. Invite friends to movie-viewing parties that inspire critical thinking as children and teens learn to critique movies for content, cinematography, acting, screenwriting, set design, costuming, etc. Start with a list of questions, tour a TV station, follow sites like MovieGuide.org and Dove.org.
10. Take summer classes in any interest. (Calligraphy will enhance handwriting and the ability to read cursive.) Youtube.com videos from a reputable channel can teach technology from start to finish. Find other channels on ballet, Irish step dance, playing an instrument, learning to podcast, any art or craft . . . amazing potential!
11. Research your genealogy. This is perfect for intergenerational relationships, history and travel. Transform into a reporter/news anchor by interviewing, writing an article or making a video for a family gathering, newsletter or to submit to StoryMonsters.com. Take it a step further and partner with other families for a fun presentation day. Libraries and local genealogy facilities love this and might assist for a special event or regular meetings. Affordable online classes for teens and adults. See the resource store for $5 poster-sized blank family trees.
12. Plant, tend and harvest gardens. Pair that with garden to table menu planning. Teach how to create/write recipe ingredients, using chemistry, math, reading and home skills.
13. Volunteer at the local animal shelter, park/city beautification, food bank, community center, etc. Volunteerism teaches compassion, uses skills learned in school, creates networking, and builds interest in potential occupations. Volunteerism has high resumé value. Be sure to log hours and skills mastered for teens.
14. Save their work in summer scrapbooks.
Build the summer around a playful education that will enhance what your child has learned. Enjoy a super summer where slips are only on the water slide.
Angela Breidenbach, mother of 6 grown children and 7 grandchildren, is a bestselling author and the Christian Authors Network president. She’s the host of a syndicated radio program, Lit Up, also available on Apple Podcasts. Angela went back to college for genealogical studies with specialties in English & Scottish Records. She’ll graduate in 2019 as a professional genealogist. Yes, she still does summer school!
Find her at: AngelaBreidenbach.com
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.