Homeschool Activities For Kids
This summer, it’s more important than ever to engage our children in meaningful learning activities at home. As a teacher for more than forty years, I’ve seen the “summer slide” in my students’ skills and in my own children. I’m certainly not suggesting that parents continue the rigorous home schooling that they’ve been doing during the quarantine months but keeping our kids’ minds and bodies in shape until school starts again is important. I’ve put together some fun, interactive ways to keep the kids learning during the long, hot summer besides boring workbooks.
- Buy each child a spiral notebook or composition book to be used as their summer journal. Then, ask them date each page and write an entry every day; even if it’s only a sentence or two. You could also give them a “prompt” or idea to write about.
- Have your children write summary paragraphs giving the main points of a movie you watched, and outing you went on, or a game the family played. Summarizing skills are a component of critical thinking.
- Encourage your children to write about the pandemic. They could write a fictional story that takes place during the Covid 19 outbreak. They could write an expository piece reflecting on their feelings, fears, worries, and experiences during this trying time. They could research the facts and write about it from a kid’s point of view.
- Have the kids write letters (I’m talking snail mail here) to friends and relatives. Teach them how to properly address an envelope too.
- White boards are a wonderful teaching tool to use at home. If you don’t have one, you can purchase one at Walmart or have one cut from shower board at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I like to give the kids 3-5 unrelated words and ask them to use them all in a sentence. For example: king, sandwich, village, and roller skates. “ The king was famous for eating a sandwich while he toured the village on roller skates.”
- Family book clubs are always fun. Order multiple copies of a book through Amazon, Abebooks.com, or thriftbooks.com. Assign a chapter or two for independent reading before the next book club meeting. Have some fun snacks to serve at each meeting. When you meet as a club, discuss the characters, setting, plot, and other story elements of the chapter everyone previously read.
- Book Celebrations are a great way to share a book that was recently read. Your child could choose from a menu of celebrations after finishing a good book such as : oral book chat with you, written book report telling about setting, main and secondary characters, plot, and resolution, designing a new book jacket including the “blurb” on the back cover summarizing the story, or a diorama depicting a favorite scene from the story. I used to pay my own children a dollar for reading and sharing a chapter book.
- Cross-Age Reading buddies is a fabulous way for an older child to read to a younger one. The older child chooses a picture book, practices reading with expression and showing the pictures, and then reads aloud to a younger sibling or cousin. The older child builds reading confidence, and the younger one has a role model for reading fluency.
- Another fun reading activity is the Progressive Story. One person starts the story off by introducing the setting. The next person adds the main characters, the next person lays in the plot, and so on. The story goes on and on until someone brings it to a dramatic ending. You will be amazed at the plot twists and turns a story can take when added to by family members!
- Grocery planning and shopping can be a great real-life math lesson for your children. Help them plan a few days of meals and make a grocery list. Teach them to peruse your pantry for ingredients you already have to cut grocery costs. Clip coupons or look them up on your grocery site or app to find those bargains. Then discuss your budget and estimate the cost of the meals. Make adjustments as needed. Then, visit the grocery store (or order for delivery or pick up) and make your purchases.
- Cooking with children is another great math adventure. Teach them to halve or double a recipe for practice in fractions. Teach them to measure ingredients too.
- To keep those math facts sharp, incorporate some exercise with your facts drills. If you have small bean bags or soft balls of some kind, you can toss them to each other while “skip counting.” This means counting by 2s, by 3s, by 4s, and so on. Pretend it’s a hot potato to add some excitement to the game.
- Make up some multi-step math problems of your own, using family names in them. For example: Dad gave Jessica, Robert, and Tom each five dollars to spend at the dollar store. Jessica spent $3.87, Robert spent $4.92, and Tom spent $7.86. How much did each child have left? How much did they spend altogether? Another example: If Mom puts a cake in the oven at 3:42 and it bakes for 35 minutes, at what time does she take the cake out of the oven?
- Practice finding area and perimeter by measuring various rooms in your house. Remind your children that the formula for finding area is Width X Length= Area ( WxL=A) and perimeter is found by adding up all the sides. You could also find these dimensions of tables and tv screens.
- Two boxed games for math are Shut the Box and Dominoes. Both are available on Amazon for less than $20. Shut the Box is a strategic numbers game where players take turns rolling the dice as many times as they can to shut as many numbers as possible. The object of the game is to get the lowest score. Both of these games
- involve eye/hand coordination and number sense.
- Watch the history channel together and discuss the content. There are lots of great programs about American History, the wild west, colonization, and the wars throughout time.
- Decide on a citizenship project for your children to launch. Some suggestions are donating food to a local food bank, donating clothing and toys to a charity store, and making cards for children in hospitals.
- Try the “Where in the World is _____________ _____________?” activity. Start by drawing a small circle in the center of a large sheet of white paper. Have the child write his address in the circle. Next, draw a larger circle around the center circle and write the city where he/she lives in it. The next concentric circle contains the state, then another circle with the country, then the hemisphere, the continent, and then earth. It gives the children a sense of their global address.
- Look up historical sites in your state and take a road trip to explore some of them. Have your children make a tourism poster for each site or each road trip that can be shared with their class next year or just to hang up in their bedrooms.
- There are so many great science experiments that you can investigate at home with basic ingredients. Here are a few websites filled with easy experiments that you should definitely check out this summer!
Remember parents, any activity you do with your children this summer can turn into a fun learning experience. Just try to limit your children’s screen time, keep them moving, get out in the sunshine, read together, have them write about their experiences, and play games!