Because we unschool, there really isn’t a school year, per se. However, opportunities open up in the summer–especially for teens–that aren’t available September through May. So, sometimes I have had to take that into account when planning our learning goals for the year. And while the older ones took advantage of these opportunities, I had to come up with fun summer homeschool ideas for the younger ones. Here are some of my favorites.
Summer Homeschool Ideas at Home
Explore special interests
One of my favorite ways to redeem the summer months is to take advantage of special sales and local offerings focused on special interests. Sometimes this means grabbing up free homeschool products or samples to try. And sometimes it means enrolling in special camps or summer classes, which I will talk more about below. Because most homeschoolers and schools operate on a school calendar, many places assume parents are looking for summer activities for kids. Most of the time, these activities encourage kids to dig deeper into a hobby or try something new.
Homeschool Buyers Club offers some free trials and even free products to homeschoolers during the summer months to help homeschoolers in this way. My own children have explored coding and digital art through the free trials offered by Homeschool Buyers Club. Check out the free magazine that includes articles on different hobbies and interests. It is one of three free gifts you can receive when you become a member of the Club.
Start a summer business
Another great way to make the most of the summer is to start a summer business. This is one of those summer homeschool ideas that can outlive the summer and provide many valuable life lessons in addition to earning money. In fact, I would argue that starting a business develops skills needed for a job better than any classroom. And, summer offers some unique opportunities at farmer’s markets, festivals and fairs, yard sales, and more to get their homemade items out in front of people. So, use the time to help your children learn how to price items, market their products, learn about customer service, practice stewardship and Godly business practices, and gain confidence in themselves. My own kids have sold homemade candies, doll quilts, cheesecakes, small clay figures, and felted animals. The boost to their self-confidence and the lessons in commerce were priceless.
Summer Homeschool Ideas Out and About
Another way to take advantage of unique summer offerings in your local area is to explore summer camps. As I mentioned above, camps offer an intense way for kids to explore interests taught by people passionate about the same topic. For example, my oldest daughter spent one summer learning about short story writing from a fiction author. At the end of the week, her cohort of students all had their stories published in an anthology that was featured in the store affiliated with the camp. In contrast, her brother spent a summer at one of the city’s museums learning about animation and game design. He got to use their state-of-the-art equipment to design a computer game and the characters within in it. In both cases, my kids got feedback from professionals and spent the summer doing something meaningful.
Don’t have lots of camps in your area? Never fear. There are also online summer camps and you can take advantage of Homeschool Buyers Club and create a camp type experience for your child.
Try road/world schooling for some great summer homeschool ideas
Many families take vacations in the summer, so why not make it a learning opportunity? One of the summer homeschooling ideas that became a favorite memory was when I planned a Tom Sawyer trip to Hannibal, Missouri. We did the museums, the cave, and a ferry ride. It was blazing hot that day and we made a few other stops, but they still talk about that trip! So, instead of just going to the tourist places like Disney, a well-planned trip to a place associated with a book, an historical time period, a favorite person or culture, geographical or geological studies, or even science concepts might be better. We have been seriously considering a Route 66 trip for a while. Can you imagine the topics we could explore with a trip like that? How about you?
Plan a staycation with a twist!
This can be an outgrowth of the first summer homeschool idea cited above or it can be some planned time to explore your city in a new way. I live near Chicago but there are many places in the city I haven’t visited yet. Of course, there are the usual tourist sites that I have seen. But, there are many interesting tours, buildings, parks, festivals, and just plain experiences in all the different neighborhoods that I simply haven’t made time for. So, a staycation is just the thing for this. It means I set aside a week or so to dig deeper into my own city. If you live in a more rural area, perhaps now’s the time to explore your nearest city in more depth. Or, maybe it’s time to set aside a week or so to do all those projects you’ve been meaning to do or try.
This means now’s your chance to start that garden or try canning or making your own candles. What about learning to crochet with all that yarn you grabbed at the thrift store for the kids’ projects? What about simply taking more time to invite neighbors over, make something new, or play in the backyard in a tent?
Do a museum or nature preserve hop
So, this is similar to the staycation idea, except the focus is on small museums and/or nature preserves. In my area, the forest preserve organizes this event every year. It is a scavenger hunt of sorts called Passport to Adventure in which each participant receives a booklet of local small and regional sites to visit within a two county area. There are usually about 100 or so sites to visit and at each one, you can receive a stamp in your booklet. When you collect at least six stamps (maybe it’s ten now), you are eligible for a small prize. So, the kids and I discovered many new places through this program that we would never have found on our own. And, those places have become some treasured favorites. They are too old to participate in this event now, but they still remember it.
Even if your area doesn’t have a program like this, I encourage you to check out the site and perhaps you can create something similar for your family. It’s a great way to get off the beaten path and find some hidden treasures in your own geographical area outside your town.
The important thing about trying some new summer homeschooling ideas is to get creative and enjoy the time with family. Make some new memories and invest in yourself and your kids!