Friday 31 May 2013

At home in the summer

The long summer holidays loom. Many people won't get away at all but even for those who will there are still many weeks to use for good or otherwise.

So why have a long holiday anyway? The historic reason was to bring in the crops, something that either doesn't apply to most of us or only applies to a minor extent. Most of us don't really need a six or eight week break. Many home educators work year round so that they can take time off at points more convenient to the family; birthdays, new babies, holidays out of season. We've, so far, had a mix of children in school and home educated so this isn't a route for us, attractive though it seems.

So how to use those weeks at home usefully and without breaking the bank. First, some aims:
  • remembering that the Lord comes first in holiday or worktime.
  • refreshment for children and mother!
  • learning in a fun and unobtrusive way
  • building relationships within the family and with other friends.

Some thoughts about activities that can help with this and which are either home based or within walking distance:
  • hospitality-there can be more time to prepare in the summer and a warm day outside can mean that there is less to clean up!
  • quiet days together, at home. Of course, children need occupation but it isn't essential or desirable to provide wall to wall entertainment. Children can help with the gardening, play their own games or help with the cooking.

  • Getting up early or going to bed later. Popular activities here are getting up to see the sunrise and having a special breakfast. On a different day, a night walk works well for older children. Bonfires are always a favourite although definitely need adult supervision and may not be wise when it is too hot and dry.

  • Camping on the lawn. This is on my list for this summer with some very enthusiastic fellow campers!
  • Library reading schemes or home made reading challenges.
  • Learn a new skill. Younger Daughter still needs a fair amount of help with knitting; having a bit of extra time means that she can have extra practice.
  • Picnics-at home, in the local park on local countryside. Teddy bears picnics are loved by little ones. We had a fun poetry picnic last year.

  • Local events-we've been on bat walks, bird walks, seen birds of prey, been in fire engines and there are more that we could have done. It may be me but I'm not sure that they are always as well publicised as they might be.
  • Journal-the older children made holiday journals years ago and this is something that I'm hoping to reinstate. They didn't necessarily involve much writing but included pictures, tickets, postcards received and so on.
  • Local history walk-a wander round to see local sights of interest.

What activities do you have planned, for your children, around home, over the summer?

The Schoolhouse Crew blog cruise on Summer Staycationing has many more ideas for the summer at home.


  1. Loads of great ideas here (as usual!) Elizabeth, where would I find the granola recipe you mentioned on my blog. I'd love to give it a go.

  2. Claire, apologies, I've realised that the search button has got rather hidden! I will sort this out.
    The link is

  3. This is the first summer we are not homeschooling year round and doing fun things at home. We will spend our summer traveling -- first to Asia and then to England. Then back to the northwest while we wait for our visa. I am sure we will do lots of learning along the way.

  4. great idea we do many of them. However this summer will be a be chaotic with the move but we always find special things to do with the children. I can't agreed more that children do need down time to just be with their thoughts and imaginations sometimes the best things come from it:)

  5. Great ideas! We moved to a new area last fall, so there are a lot of local, seasonal activities that we get to experience for the first time this year.

    1. That really sounds like being on holiday at home.