Because I promised we don’t only do academic stuff during the summer, here’s part two of our plans for the next couple of months. I condensed them into 10 summer ideas for homeschooling fun and exploration.
You can read about our planner, summer learning, activities, and why we chose to keep a schedule during the summer in the first part of this series.
I mostly focus on academics on this blog because M isn’t artsy. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do arts and crafts, just that these happen less often than in other families and they come with a twist for us: they are usually science-related or experiments. 🧪
With him, everything art is a hit and miss. So I made a plan to combine free classes, trials of fun programs and apps, hands-on artsy experiments, and outdoors.
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Our homeschooling arts and crafts
I know a lot of homeschool families are very much into arts. We aren’t like that.
Our family actually likes doing a lot of things with their hands. I’ve been a crafter for many years, then a photographer, my sister is an illustrator and we’ve always had a mini farm and gardens full of vegetables.
M isn’t a fan of drawing, cutting and pasting, or anything else craft or art-related. I never forced him to color or draw. He is surrounded by good art supplies and by plenty of examples and people willing to do this with him. I respected his choice, though.
But I found ways to make crafts and arts attractive to him. Keep reading to see what we’re up to.
Another thing he isn’t particularly keen on is music. Again, in our house, he’s exposed to all sorts of professional instruments because his uncle used to be a professional music player. M played the drums for a while, then he switched to guitar, and lately, he’s been interested in trying the guitar out more.
Since we have the summertime to test our new programs, we’re happily exploring the more artistic side of homeschooling with the free trial classes through Homeschool Buyers Club! Of course, it’s all done with a twist, including some learning and some science.
Homeschool Buyers Club
Our summer homeschool is filled with trials from Homeschool Buyers Club și we even discovered some gems we bought through them. If you haven’t tried them yet, hurry to check their offers. You can get the best deals on homeschooling programs through Homeschool Buyers Club!
I make sure to check all the programs I want through them first because their offers are unparalleled. Sometimes I saved 50% or more on programs I wanted. They truly are the best place to search before buying anything homeschool-related.
Our 10 (Free) Summer Ideas
I know today’s post is about the fun things we’ll explore this summer, but keep in mind I still like to slip an educational thing or two, even if they’re disguised as games. Most of them are free, some require a purchase or some other products.
Of course, aside these, he has a lot of free time to explore anything he likes on his own and you usually find him collecting bug pets, running after butterflies, playing with his cats, caring for his fish and water snails or just enjoying a lazy afternoon eating ice cream and doing nothing.
These are just 10 summer ideas I thought were interesting as starting points and ideas for other homeschool families.
1. Music 🎸
M’s relationship with music has been inconsistent. But for the summer we have enough time to test out some new programs. His favorite so far is Kids Guitar Academy and we’ve got a free trial through Homeschool Buyers Club that offers access to 6 lessons in guitar fundamentals.
What I love about these is that kids are taught from the basics up! They also have PDF handouts and even mp3 tracks to help kids play along. The lessons are step by step and very easy to follow.
If your kids aren’t into the guitar, you can also find free piano lessons to try out.
2. Sewing 🧵
This is one I’ve been postponing forever. Yes, boys should know how to sew as well. I want M to be independent and self-reliant as much as possible. So sewing is one of the skills I want him to learn.
He likes it so far and it’s an activity that works on improving dexterity and it’s pretty relaxing, too.
3. Drawing 🎨
Another gap in our homeschooling is art. We don’t do formal art lessons. But for the summer, I thought of incorporating some to see how they go.
We have the free trial of Mark Kistler’s 3D Drawing Lessons because they seem more interesting for him. We got these through Homeschool Buyers Club and I am using them as an activity for imagination as well – hopefully, they will help with composition writing and imagination exercises, too.
Of course, for his first lesson, he chose to draw the carnivorous plant 🪰.
4. Papermaking ❤️
It not only combines art with science but also gives him something tangible at the end that he can use in various ways.
We loved experimenting with adding leaves and petals inside the paper and I think they turned out great! M’s next project is to adapt this to a bigger scale and make bigger sheets of paper. That’s his project for the next few days. It’s so great when you can combine art and STEM!
5. Learning apps 💻
Whether I want to admit it or not, M loves screens. He likes playing his games on the tablet or watching TV. But luckily, he also loves puzzle games like crosswords, number games, Hangman, and so on.
So I’ve been looking for an app that has lots of these little games and puzzles for him. I stopped at Smile & Learn. We’ve got a free trial code through Homeschool buyers Club and so far, M loves it! His favorite section is the science section but he also loves playing word search and even programming and Tetris.
These are awesome little educational games and puzzles to play while we travel or wait in line for a dentist’s appointment.
6. Origami 🦋
Another craft we’ll keep exploring this summer is origami. M likes it because it’s centered around symmetry and logic, and the results are stunning.
So far we’ve been just following YouTube videos to create paper cranes, butterflies, birds, and turtles.
7. Gamified vocabulary 🎮
I told you at the beginning of this article that I am still looking for ways to incorporate educational stuff even while having fun.
I’ve discovered an amazing game through Homeschool Buyers Club that combines gaming and vocabulary! It’s so awesome we’ve already bought the full version of it (hint: Homeschool Buyers Club have an amazing offer for lifetime access to the game!).
This game is called Vocabulary Quest and is aimed at 5th graders and up but even adults can use it and I’ve read it’s been used by students getting ready for the SAT as well.
It’s an awesome game centered around little vocabulary games. They give the definition and examples of each word, a lot of chances to use these and it’s all wrapped into a gaming-style approach.
For a demo version (Windows only) see the Vocabulary Quest website.
8. Gardening 🌱
A memory dear to me is M being around 2 years old and running in the garden with a parsley leaf in his hand. I saw him bend and try to stick the leaf in the ground. He knew its place was in the ground to grow and since then he’s been a plant protector. So much so that we can’t even weed! He actually has weed patches all around the garden where he re-plants all weeds we pull out.
He used to cry every time I got cut flowers because he wanted them with roots. And he plants every seed! We even planted spores he got from a huge plant in the botanical garden (I have no idea if that’s illegal or not haha!). But his spores grew and we will soon have to move the little plants to another pot.
He has 4 mango saplings and 2 orange saplings. He saves every sad-looking plant he sees in the shop… So this summer, he will have plenty of time to explore his beloved plants and care for them.
Let kids explore this summer. Give them their own patch of land to plant whatever they want and teach them how to tend it. Nature has always been an important aspect of homeschooling for us and we never miss an opportunity to get out and explore more.
9. TV & Documentaries 📺
We love watching documentaries and one of our favorite streaming services for this is Curiosity Stream.
We use documentaries as a point of exploration and as a family relaxation time. We just cuddle on the couch and watch a nice documentary on a lazy, hot afternoon (or evening). Or on a rainy day… really, there’s always a perfect time for a good documentary filled with gorgeous images and interesting facts.
Our favorites so far are Volga Mother of Rivers, Birth of the Solar System, Deep Ocean, Nature Tales, and more. And of course, we’re getting our subscription through Homeschool Buyers Club.
10. Sky Exploration ✨
There are so many more things I have planned for this summer, including baking, free play, fort building, swimming, water fights, trekking, card-making, quilling, yoga. But I just had to pick 10 out of these.
I kept thinking about what to include for number 10 and I decided I need to tell you about another awesome find – since we will do Astronomy for 6rth grade.
We don’t own a telescope, but the next best thing is Starry Night! It’s a curriculum that combines sky simulation and lessons all in one and we love it! We’ve bought it through Homeschool Buyers Club (again) because they have the best offer!
Video and free gifts
With every purchase you make on the Homeschool Buyers Club (even the free ones) you get a choice of 3 free gifts! So don’t miss your chance this summer.
So what will you do over the summer? Let me know in the comments and let’s talk.
Also, for those that prefer a video format, I made a YouTube video presenting all my summer ideas for homeschooling fun and exploration!
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