Friday, 23 May 2014

Summer survival

The summer holidays are approaching fast. Not quite so soon here as for my US friends. We still have almost a couple of months to prepare.

For most families, much of the time will be spent at home with perhaps a smaller proportion of the time spent away. This time at home can be quite challenging! As a home educating mother, I'm quite tired by the holidays. In September, when my Facebook feed is taken up with friends rejoicing that they can now go out for coffee, I, and many other home educators, are strengthening their arms for the new academic year. So the summer holiday needs to be relatively restful.

BUT I want my children to have a happy holiday and this isn't always completely compatible with a rest for me! The holiday weeks take some planning to achieve a happy balance.

These are the principles that I use when planning and I hope they may be useful for others.

  • Some of the best activities take place at home with relatively little input from adults.
  • Just because we are having a break from formal learning doesn't mean that learning ceases. I become an unschooler in the holidays. This means, for us, letting the children explore their interests and some strewing of vaguely educational books/games etc around the house.
  • We do go out most days around home to run off energy.
  • Bigger, all day trips, I try to limit to once a week. This doesn't always work out!
  • We try to make the most of local events. Over the last few summers, we've been on bat walks, teddy bears' picnics, birds of prey displays and art sessions all in our local area. 
  • Sometimes having to find an activity sparks the imagination. These nature collections were the children's idea.

So rather than a list of staycation ideas in London, here is a list of some of our more generic summer ideas. These are all things we have enjoyed.

  • barbecue
  • camping in the garden
  • reading in a tent in the garden
  • making dens-indoors, outdoors both at home and elsewhere

  • different park
  • picnic in the park
  • poetry picnic
  • cooking
  • writing the week's menu and cooking/helping cook depending on the age of the child
  • writing the week's menu and ordering the food to budget
  • flower arranging
  • paddling pool
  • art in local museum/gallery
  • walks in the woods/countryside

  • bat walk
  • packing cases and pretending to go on holiday to very exotic destinations
  • making ice cream/ice lollies
  • using a magnifying glass to melt chocolate. Needs adult supervision!
  • paint with mud-very popular and very messy!
  • invite several families around for a big outside lunch
  • explore a new local walk/cycle ride
  • help harvest garden produce
  • blackberry picking and eating
  • volcano making - the children never seem to tire of this. I can't imagine a holiday without at least one volcano "experiment".
  • reading scheme either from the library or elsewhere
  • making a scarecrow
  • board games
Over to you. I need to write a list of ideas for this summer. Do you have some that you could share?

For more ideas for Summer Staycations do click on the picture below (available from 28th May).
Favorite Curriculum Choices

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  1. Looks like fun. We actually continue through the summer, as we have fridays off. works well, and means we can take a random day off for a trip.

  2. Year round working is very attractive. I think that if our children had always been home educated, we might have gone for this type of pattern of working.

  3. We're year-rounders so our summer looks pretty much the same as the rest of the year, except that we are out much more in the summer compared to the wetter months. You've listed many fantastic summer ideas here. I know what you mean by feeling quite tired by the start of summer! :-)

    1. Thank you, Hwee. Getting outside more is a great plus of summer for me.

  4. Blackberries have just started to get ripe here, though we haven't found many. Blackberry cobbler is one of my favorite treats. Does bat walk mean what it sounds?

  5. Great list of things to do close to home. We love the varied terrain here in Alaska and enjoy the outdoors when we're able, too.

    1. Alaska must be an exciting place to live! Thank you for visiting.