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How to encourage learning through the summer?

Here in Scotland summer holiday’s tend to be around 6 weeks. Some think that is too long not to be learning. I have fond memories of the long summer break. And as a homeschooler I find the summer break refreshing, as well as needed to prepare for the year ahead! However, I also think it beneficial that young minds still do some work! The challenge is to provide learning opportunities that do not feel like “school”. Here are a few ideas: 1. A Summer Journal I bought cheap notebooks, covered them with blank paper. The children decorated them, and they can write about things they have done through the summer, that they have enjoyed. I find writing exercises that involve them writing about themselves are always a bit of a hit! 2. Summer Reading Challenge Libraries often run these through the summer. Children are encouraged to read 6 books over the summer months. If your library does not run one you can devise your own family reading challenge, with sticker charts and certificates at the end. 3. Summer Art Projects With spare time, this is a good idea for a wet day. Consider looking at an artist, or a art style. We had a look at Vincent Van Gough, then drew a flower picture along that theme. I like we website Art Projects for Kids for inspiration (art is not my strong point!) 4. Go on a mini-beast hunt! This can be done in the garden, a local park, or near by wood. The nature detectives website offers a free mini-beast hunt sheet to print off. 5. Educational Trips Trips to castles, museums, farms, etc are all fun family activities in the summer, but all have an educational element to them. 6. Learn a new craft Again with time to spare this could be a good time to teach a new craft, like sewing, knitting, or woodcraft. Learning a useful skill can provide a child with hours of fun, and entertainment, and may lead to a more serious hobby. But above all, education is about instilling a love of learning. Play and adventure is learning. So although a long break may not look like learning, children are learning all the time. And it is so important there are times of play and good simple fun! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Homeschooling Mum on Summer Holiday!??

Summer holiday time always takes me a little by surprise. After a long year of doing school, the children are in need of a break… but so am I! I have notions of sitting relaxing with a good book and a cup of tea, as children play beautifully in the other room. Then we wake up on the first day on school holiday’s! I feel justified that I have earned my break! But the inevitable happens: “mum what are we doing today?”, “mum can we go somewhere?”, and then before long the whiny sound of: “I’M BORED!” At that moment I realise we may be on holiday from school, but there are still four children in need of activity and stimulation. What is needed is a plan! One of the first things we do is make a large poster- a summer bucket list- on the poster each child can chose two activities they want to do through the summer. These have to be sensible… going off for a fortnight’s holiday on an aeroplane will not make the list! These are spaced throughout the summer, and are generally things that can make a day trip somewhere. Secondly everyday have a vague idea what you will do. Have some kind of planned activity for the children. My kids need to know something will happen, something they can look forward too! These need not be fancy, or expensive! Easy Summer Holiday Activities 1. Visit the library. Many libraries offer summer reading schemes, or have some sort of free activities, so it is worth having a look. 2. A picnic in a park you have never visited before. 3. Invite friends around you have not seen in a while. 4. Go fishing. Even if you do not have proper rod and tackle, young children love a gentle stream and a fishing net! 5. Visit a beach. 6. Go hiking. 7. Go to a wild and beautiful place you have never visited before. 8. A bike ride 9. Bake new recipes. 10. Geocaching– this is when you use your smart phone’s GPS to locate a hidden container, called a geocache. Just download the app! A bit like a modern day treasure hunt… without the gold! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Weekend Wonders

It looks like Spring has finally arrived. The air is filled with the sound of birds singing, the sun is out, the sky is blue. Time to get out and about! Here are some fun activities to try this weekend! 1. Visit a Local Wood Woods are coming alive again in the Spring. Birds are nest building, and buds are beginning to open. It is a wonderful time to let children run free, climb trees and be immersed in nature. A fantastic site to visit and sign up to is the Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives. The Nature Detectives site is full of fun activities, as well as really good educational material to help parents get their kids out and personal with nature. You can sign up to their newsletter with regular updates, and downloadable sheets. I am a big fan of their identification sheets, that help children looks for plants and animal species, at the times of the year they are most likely to see them! 2. Get Out in the Garden Although it is mid-April, we have not planted anything yet. The time is still perfect to sow seed potatoes, or bring some much need colour with some flowers. Here are some ideas: Mum’s Net 3. Some Spring Cleaning?? If you can face it! Homeschooling all week, means the weekend is a naturally good time to catch up with household chores. And if you can face it, you will have that lovely smug feeling afterwards, that you have achieved something with your weekend! Here is a glass cleaner recipe Enjoy your weekend- whatever you find to do!! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Preschool Curriculum Ideas: Colour Blue

This week Colour of the Week is: Blue. To enforce this colour we will be doing blue themed crafts, playing with blue play dough, and singing blue nursery rhymes. Blue Craft I made a picture of a fish (thankfully young children do not mind terrible art skills!). I gave The Knight Boy some blue paint, a blue milk bottle top, and a toilet roll tube. He used the bottle top and toilet roll tube to paint the fish. Blue Rhymes Lavander’s Blue Dilly Dilly Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, Lavender’s green When you are king, dilly dilly, I shall be queen Who told you so, dilly dilly, Who told you so? ‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, That told me so Call up your friends, dilly, dilly Set them to work Some to the plough, dilly dilly, Some to the fork Some to the hay, dilly dilly, Some to thresh corn Whilst you and I, dilly dilly, Keep ourselves warm Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, Lavender’s green When you are king, dilly dilly, I shall be queen Who told you so, dilly dilly, Who told you so? ‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, That told me so. Little Boy Blue Little boy blue, come blow your horn, The sheep’s in the meadow, the cows in the corn Where is the boy who looks after the sheep? He’s under the haystack, fast asleep. Blue Treasure Hunt Go round the house and find as many things as possible that are blue. Baking Idea: Blueberry Muffins Nigella Lawson’s Blueberry and Cornmeal Muffin receipe is supper easy for young children to help with, and they taste amazing… any excuse really! 150g plain flour 100g cornmeal 2 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 150g caster sugar 125ml vegetable oil 125ml buttermilk 1 egg 100g blueberries 1 x 12- bun muffin tin. Pre-heat oven 200°/gas mark 6 Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Add the oil, buttermilk, and egg into a jug and wisk unitl combined. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix to combine them, but don’t over mix, stir in the blueberries. Bake at 200°/gas mark 6 for 15-20 mins. Book Ideas Oh No Peddie Pebbles, written by the author of the Katie Morag series, this is a fun book about a toddler who wants to help paint his bedroom… Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, a classic by Eric Carl, this is a must have for a preschoolers library Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Homeschooling with babies and toddlers

When people find out I homeschool, and have four children, and that one of those children is three, and another is not yet one the response is, “How on earth to you manage that?” I response, is “you should meet my friends who have six, seven or eight children”. There are some obvious tricks to making this work: Make use of babies nap time, I make this the time for phonics teaching, and maths- the things the older children need the most teaching time with. Plan some activities for the toddler, and rotate them through the week. Whilst the older child/children are busy on independent work do an activity with the younger children. Have a basket of toys for the baby at hand in the area you do school. Involve toddlers in household chores- like filling the washing machine. Be flexible- grab what time you have! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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