Homework for Vacation
Thoughts & Reflections
It’s that time of year. We’re planning how we’ll spend these three hot months. Long days, longer car rides, and the shortest season of the year, it seems.
It’s natural to want to ensure children continue to learn, to avoid “that summer slide,” we read (and write!) about. School resumes in the Fall, and we want to pick up where we left off, not spend the first month or two re-learning how to learn.
“What has he been working on?” “What can we do together to keep up the learning?”
Like water, learning never stops. Learning persists, learning could never be held back, learning is happening whether we intend it or not.
Rather than bringing school to summer, let’s see a few ways we can bring summer to learning. Let’s spend this time focusing on things that might not be possible in a classroom, or are more naturally suited to home or family life.
- Learn outside
We spend more time outside when it’s beautiful. If you live somewhere that it snows, like we do, these hot, bright, long days are refreshing and gleeful. Take the learning outside walls. Plant vegetables or flowers. Seeing the roots of a plant is so much more interesting when you’re hands are dirty, than when you’re looking at images in a book. Perhaps towards the end of summer, there will be zucchini or tomatoes to enjoy together, and is there anything as delicious as food you’ve grown yourself?
- Embrace opportunities
We forget that the intangibles — the grit and the tenacity and the problem solving — are as vital to academic success as the knowledge. There are so many activities tried in summer that help solidify confidence, setting and following through with a goal, trying new and challenging activities. It’s a wonderful time for swimming lessons, learning to ride a bike, or setting up that lemonade stand you’ve wanted to do since you read about it. Try, try, and try some more.
- Notice differences
Amazing memories are made on vacation. Whether it’s a day trip across town or all summer across the world, notice what’s unique, what’s subtle, and what’s the same. Children all over the world like ice cream, but do you prefer vanilla soft serve, apple gelato, or guava shave ice? What does the license plate look like? What do people wear to the beach? What’s the weather like compared to home? We’re in the same state, and the terrain and climate are completely different. We’re in a different country, but people dress the same and speak our language. The world is an incredible place. Trips large and small can spark wonder, joy, and wanderlust, and remind us just how lovely our regular daily life routine is.
Of course, academics are sometimes fun, too. A word search under a tree at the park, a maze on airplane, showing off memorized math facts to grandparents. Playing I Spy games on a long drive, finding numbers or letters on license plates or road signs, making up a story together or writing down adventures in a travel journal. Learning is happening all the time. We don’t need to push the river, we can float along and enjoy the current.
Written by:Charlotte Wood