Schoolio Guest Blog by Meredith Blunt.
Do you feel like this too? As if we all hold our collective breath from the end of May until the summer solstice then everyone exhales and hollers (or maybe whispers with glee) ‘SUMMER!!!!’ Summer means permission to sleep in, to somehow end every gardening session in a water fight. It means watching movies too late and looking for the wonderful signs of nature in the bright blossoms everywhere. We know we’re about to get time with our favourite people, time with ourselves. And, oh my, time with our kids.
Before I share some of my ideas for summer fun with you, maybe an introduction is in order!
I’m Meredith, a relatively new homeschooler and a Schoolio fan since mid- 2020. I’d been researching if homeschooling was a fit for us along with following homeschooling blogs and social media accounts for years. The pandemic was the final push to take the leap. It is our biggest and best silver lining of the last 18 months!
We live in a smaller but awesome city in Ontario. My kids and I have wrapped up grade 7 and grade 4. This year has been transformative for all of us, they are becoming the students we always knew they could be and I’ve found confidence in a place I never would have guessed.
Homeschooling has put me on a passion path. I love communicating, learning and sharing ideas about education, child honouring, art, dogs…gosh, I’m a sucker for the pups. I love it when parents help each other out with great ideas about how to entertain and grow our young humans. There are a few blog posts that could spawn from this paragraph! But for now, back to summer!
Summer means creativity.
Finding ways to spend time together, fostering those great curiosities kids express and restoring your own energy. Perennial favourite activities for us are swimming, biking and camping – even if it’s just in the backyard.
Among our newer favourites is a good nature hike. We love discovering a trail or conservation area we haven’t been to before. We can spend hours beside a creek or in a forest. Apps like AllTrails help us find places to go and take on a hike appropriate for our skill level. We’re fairly new to it but I’ve got to mention it, geocaching is like a big treasure hunt and we’ve had really good times doing it! Both kids love tracking the caches down and there’s a neat thrill of connection and contribution when you add a little to a cache. We use the Cachly app.
Second, and for us a lovely little bike ride away, is the library! Our library worked hard to adapt to the restrictions of the pandemic, and we’ve made great use of the programs they offer! The programs we’ve accessed have ranged from art classes, science weeks with kits you pick up from the library to build the experiments, reading challenges, coding clubs, trivia nights and that is just to name a few. Typically offered for free, and run by wonderful engaged community members, they are great opportunities to explore an interest and connect with like-minded folks in your neighbourhood. The library was a great support and resource for our school year and continues to be a source of fun in the summer.
Thirdly, boredom. Yep. I know, in this day and age bored tends to go hand in hand with screens, YouTube and Minecraft. You may feel a little worn down by the tech battles, I know I do! It is a good place to take a firm stance though. Not an altogether ban on screens, but just enough so that their brains move into a different gear. Again…this is a whole other blog topic but let’s get back to boredom! Read “I’m Bored” – Let Your Kids Be Bored This Summer
My 10-year-old will take a big walk with me (I don’t make him; he will just join me sometimes – I walk when I’m bored) and talk about everything on his mind. He still loves reading together too, which our backyard hammock is perfect for! We’re reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. My nearly 13-year-old will shoot hoops with her friends or take a walk to the neighbourhood corner store and get a slushie. She’ll practice her ukulele or create tiny clay models of mushrooms and bird nests. She’ll also nap! So jealous.
Fostering independence, supporting their comforts and creative exploring is so important for those kiddos and you! Let them show you who they are interested in growing up to be. It’s good for you to be bored too. This is where your brain, which has been going a mile a minute since you’ve embraced the responsibility of homeschooling, gets a rest and some restorative time.
Summer, in line with the other seasons, is about doing what works for your family. Spending time in ways that fulfill needs, and raises the happiness quotient. Slap on the sunscreen, remember to stay hydrated, and let us know how your summer is going. Share with us what you and your kids love to do during the summer months!