In my July Family Matters with Amber Column in Lake County Kids Magazine, I briefly explained how parents can utilize summertime for learning.
When I home schooled my children they never had summers off. They had two vacations and those were: the week of their birthday and two weeks around Christmas.
I never believed several weeks of vacation (with 0 learning) was good for them and I have spoken to many teachers over the past few years and it seems the consensus is that children will be sharper and more ready for learning in the fall, if they continue to learn during the summer. And, of course, I completely agree with them.
But, how on earth do we get our kids to go along with schooling during summer vacation?
Well, you don’t particularly have to tell them…
That’s right. There is something so simple and so easy, that they will go along with, mostly because it’s fun and they don’t even realize they’re learning…
You’re probably asking, “HOW WILL THEY LEARN ANYTHING BY PLAYING?”.
There’s not enough space in this blog to go into detail, but there articles, studies and books to prove, that Free Play does wonders for a child’s mind.
Author and home school mother, Laura Grace Weldon, recently pointed out in thisSimple Home School blog post by Jamie Martin:
‘There are all sorts of ways to motivate kids, but there’s no need for artificial inducements when we can foster curiosity. In fact, the extra time homeschooling children have to play as well as pursue their interests is associated with greater mastery in adulthood, a far more important road to success than good grades or high test scores.”’
How do you teach your child through Free Play?:
#1. No matter the age, allow them to lead.
This is the most important, but probably the most difficult; because a) you must make yourself available and b) you have to let go of the reigns. How do you accomplish this? Just put aside time (depending on the age of your child) 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, up to as much as you can afford, of uninterrupted one-on-one child/teen guided play time. Ask them what they’d like to do, and do it.
(Yes, it’s that simple.) With you there as the educated adult they can ‘learn’ as you play…be careful not to let them know you are teaching; you’ll have to do it ‘their’ way most of the time.
#2. Don’t say “No” to safe activities. Kids need to hear yes to their ideas because it will allow them to explore, experiment and express themselves. Use the summer months (when there is more time in the day). Say“Yes” to the mess!
#3. Think like a teacher.
This might be intimidating because teachers have years of education and training to help our children become smarter, but, relax, with Free Play you don’t need a degree! Just take every activity you do with your child and find at least one thing you can teach them. One thing! That’s so simple! If you are at the zoo, you can teach them about habitats or reproduction. If you are in the garden, you can teach about agriculture and/or the significance of worms. If you are on a drive or at a movie, there are numerous things to talk about…and learn about.
|Play board games on a rainy day|
|Relax Mom, it’s just paint.|
|(Let them do their own!)|