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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...

Our Mistakes Can Be Blessings in Disguise!

Valuable lessons learnt this week: how to turn a mistake into a blessing. It’s funny, that you would think that doing things “right” would be best- not always. When we mess up, and have to put something right we seem to learn in a deeper way. I messed up some computer tech stuff, not badly. But it meant I spent a couple of nights putting it right. The result was a fuller understanding of the technology. I was forced to learn things I would have not sought out myself, because I did not know they needed finding out. This made me think about children’s learning. How if they have to fight and grapple with a problem, and overcome mistakes the learning can be deeper and fuller. But to turn a mistake into a blessing we first must overcome our fear of failing, our fear of learning and do battle with the problem. As Winston Churchill said: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

The benefit of being a life long learner to your children...

I believe one of the greatest privileges we have is being able to learn. We have all seen the images of people in third world nations of people impoverished, unable to feed their children, and with little hope- people who have never had an education. I value the fact I have had an education, and I love learning things. For me home education is a way of instilling a love of learning within my children, and raising them to be life long learners. I think women who have been use to professional careers, or have been educated to a high level, often find it had to adapt to the role of full time mother due to the lack of intellectual stimulation. I highly recommend trying to fit in some kind of new training during that time. Learning a new skill will feed the intellectual part of your brain, as well as equipping you with a new skill. But something unexpected is also gained from learning new skills. You develop a greater empathy for you children as they are learning their new skills. We can forget the struggles we had at school. I have been teaching myself computer programming. I find it stimulating, but as I grapple with a problem, and stretch my mind with something a seasoned programmer could do with their eyes closed, I think how my children must feel fighting with multiplication or phonics. So tomorrow, when we are doing maths and a child just can’t get it despite going over it a hundred times, I can rememeber that last night I looked a simple piece of code for and hour until I finally worked out what I’d done wrong… and I experience the joy of grasping something you’ve found hard. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Wild Places for Wild Boys

I do think that every family ought to have at least one wild boy… We have the Jedi Boy. These are the boys who can’t sit still, who are always wanting to conquer. I spend a lot of time thinking and trying to manage the heightened testosterone of my boy. All to often we want to put these boys down, try have dampen their energy, their fight. It feels like a balancing act, sometimes we get it right other times I feel I get it wrong. Today I took him to a wild wood, he was armed with his new sword. He ran through the trees, conquered badies. He was free, he could run and be free. Boys need the freedom to be, the freedom to run, to climb, to be who they are. Little boys who can’t sit still should not be made to remain in a small space for extended periods, or they will act up. Coping Strategies for Wildy Boys: 1.Try and facilitate them the room to run about outside at least once a day. 2.Break their lessons up into bite sized chunks. When you see you are losing their interest let them run about for a few minutes. 3.Add kinesthetic learning into their day. For example, when doing our Phonics we had little stories to help enforce the sound, we acted these out. There were also actions for each sound- Jedi Boy found these very helpful. 4.Sometimes allow them to walk about whilst teaching them. 5.Give them some one-to-one time. I find Jedi Boy more than any of the other children responds for quality time alone with one of the key adults in his life: whether that be a parent or grandparent. 6.Make sure they get enough sleep. Such boys live life at top speed. Especially when they are younger they lack the ability to pace themselves, so they tire themselves out. A tired boys is a grumpy, and naughty boy! 7.Take them to wild places, where they can climb trees, paddle in streams, and run with all their might… Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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