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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Tagged with "summer activities"
Summer Learning
Category: Academics
Tags: summer learning summer activities smithsonian institution summer homeschool ideas

In an effort to help parents stave off the dreaded "summer learning loss," a variety of free programs are available online, and more are popping up all the time. Here's a list of some of the ones I've come across to help keep your kids learning and occupied throughout the summer: 

Start with a BookThis site has printable Reading Adventure Packs for grades K - 3, covering a variety of topics, including Bugs, Birds, and Animals; Flight; Time and Time Travel; and others (24 altogether). You'll also find links to hands-on activities, writing prompts, websites and mobile apps.

Newsela Summer Reading ClubsFor grades 2 - 12, students can join clubs on a variety of interests, including animals, technology, movies, and more.

Explorer HQBecome an intrepid explorer and complete a variety of unusual missions to earn badges.

Science of Summer: Explore the science behind summer activities at this PBS LearningMedia site. Topics include the physics of sailing, the chemistry of campfires, the science of blowing bubbles, the mineral composition of sand, and the forces that allow humans to ride bicycles and roller coasters.

Maker CampFeatures a collection of projects to make at home.

Camp WonderopolisExplore wonders about music and how it relates to other fields, such as science, math and history.

Electric CompanyTheir summer learning program includes YouTube videos and corresponding worksheets for math and vocabulary. A guide and other PDF resources can be downloaded from the main summer learning page. 

Camp GoNoodleEach week in July, you receive an email with  new adventures and activities, both online and off, and the ability to earn badges. 

Self-Learning for KidsNot really a program, but a very long list of free, self-learning online resources for kids in pre-K through sixth grades. There are 75 resources, organized by type.

(More resources listed in comments sections below)

Cooking Eggs on Sidewalks -- And Other Free Sun Resources Tags: summer activities ideas summer activities kids summer ideas fun summer activities free summer activities

With the approach of summer, many home educators continue to look for activities to keep their kids learning, and occupied, through those long, steamy days. One place to try for some ideas is Wonderopolisa site that attempts to ignite that natural curiosity in children by answering questions about-- and providing instructions for experimenting with -- various "wonders of the day," such as:

Can You Really Cook An Egg on the Sidewalk?

How Hot is the Sun?

How Does the Sun Make Energy?

Can You Collect Sunlight?


More Free Sun Resources:

Check out these reading resources from DKfindout! about the sun in our solar system, light and heat energy, uses of sunlight, and sun worship.

DIY Sun Science Activities: 

Ancient Sun Observations

Make a Prism

Solar Oven Smores

Free Readers: 


5 Ways to Beat the Mind-numbing Powers of Summertime
Category: Misc.
Tags: summer learning summer activities summer homeschool ideas summer brain drain summer learning loss

Ahhh... summer. Heat waves, massive insects and sunburn, high humidity and frizzy hair. I don't know about you, but all I feel like doing is laying out (whether it be on a beach getting a tan or on the couch feeling the air conditioning), watching stupid TV shows and chick flicks, reading completely meaningless books about romance and "real-life struggles", and eating lots and lots of ice cream.

Although that is what summer is for (kind-of), we risk losing a large chunk of brain power and knowledge that may not be able to be recovered by the start of the school year. One of the worst things ever is coming back to school refreshed from the relaxation of the past few months, not realizing your brain is now a blank slate and you have to now work overtime to recover all the information you already learned last year.

To prevent this from happening to you, here are five ways to beat the awful mind numbing powers of summertime.

1. If you can, keep some of your old textbooks, papers, and binders laying around.

I don't know how many times I've been o-so-bored on a one thousand degree day in July, and then happened upon one of last year's math worksheets. Instead of crumpling it up and tossing it, I would sit down and work through the math problems until my brain hurt and THEN I would toss it. There's just something about knowing that you don't HAVE to do something that kind of makes you want to do it. Sometimes I just want to challenge myself. Sometimes I'm just SO DARN BORED that I'm driven to try and figure out some math stuff. I'm pretty sure everyone feels that way at one point or another. Or maybe I'm just weird...

2. Read historical fiction.

I absolutely hate history textbooks.Which is why when the school year ends, I often try to put all of those endless text-filled pages and their uninterestingly written contents out of my mind immediately. (Not the brightest thing to do, I'll admit.) But I discovered that there is another way to learn historical facts, dates, time periods, etc. Historical fiction books. <3 There are so many of them written about pretty much every time period and they are a perfect and fun way to refresh your memory over the summer. The best part is, as long as you like to read a good story, it doesn't even feel like learning. At all! I've learned more about British/American history from reading The Bloody Jack Series then I ever have from reading any dumb old textbook.

3. Watch documentaries. 

Science, like math, is another one of those subjects I don't exactly excel at. Once I take the final comprehensive exam, all the cool stuff I've learned just kinda...slips away. I mean, I think science is interesting! But it's so hard to remember all those terms and facts and names. I've realized though, that science documentaries aren't always so bad. In fact, when they have to do with things like DNA and outer space and things that live in the ocean, they can be ALMOST as interesting as watching my favorite episode of Drake and Josh for the billionth time. Plus, there's really nothing I have to do. I can just kick back with some popcorn and a blanket and watch...meanwhile all those things I learned are being reinforced in my memory. Documentaries work for history too! (The ones about the FBI and gangsters happen to be my favorite.)

4. Write, write, write!

The ability to write an essay is one of the most important skills necessary for getting into college. So since practice makes perfect, there is no way anyone should just stop writing for the entire summer! Write all the time about anything, but practice writing it in 5 paragraph essay format. This way you can practice making a thesis, developing your point in the body, and coming to a clear conclusion. The topic isn't really important! You can write about TV shows, celebrities, your crush, whatever! Practicing that format is what really matters.

5. Look forward to the coming school year.

Think about what classes you're taking and how they're going to relate to your future. Think about what you didn't do so well at last year and how you can change that this time around. Think about study and review methods that might be helpful in acing those SATs! As long as you're (somewhat) academically minded no matter what time of year it is, you shouldn't have to start all the way back at zero when you go back into the classroom.


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