Well Yes, Yes and Yes.
Doing school through the summer is actually a great way to catch up on those items that may have been missed during the school year, or to reinforce areas that your child may be a little weak in. Let me pause here for a moment and mention that I am not advocating sitting our children down at the kitchen table or at a desk with a workbook or textbook. I am saying that just because summer is here that our children should stop learning for 3 months.
I found that this is actually a lot easier to do than it sounds and I hope these suggestions will give you some starting points for your own "Summer School". (BTW just because you don't homeschool doesn't mean you can't use these ideas too.)
- Bake/Cook - This one goes without saying. Kids love to bake and cook even simple things like s'mores can be a great opportunity to teach and/or reinforce math concepts. How many graham crackers do we need? How many marshmallows for everyone? Can you divide that chocolate evenly?
- Clean your room! - Even simple everyday chores like cleaning can be a great opportunity to learn invaluable skills. younger children can learn grouping or classification (this is basic math and science) and older children can learn to be generous by giving away toys and/or clothing they no longer use that are still in great shape.
- Road Trip - Even simple trips to the beach can lead to great science lessons. Simply do a little research ahead of time about the local flora and fauna, or take a book along with you to look things up. This works great for hikes in the woods too, bring along a field guide to birds and you've got a ready made lesson in zoology. Historical sites and museums are also great family trips and some are even free for younger children.
- Flash Cards? - sometimes you may need to resort to learning some hardcore facts over the summer. Flashcards if used should be presented as fun not a chore. Also there are many great games that require basic math skills, even basic board games require the adding of dice. Use dice with actual numbers on them with older children so they can't just count the pips. My favorite game that requires math right now is StoneAge. It requires basic multiplication and division for various parts of the game and still remains fun. (My daughter hates math but loves this game!)
- Blocks! - Blocks on a rainy day are always fun to learn shapes and motor skills. LEGOs are particularly great for this. They not only teach basic math skills (how many studs long is that piece?) nut also problem solving and creativity. I highly recomend the Creator series as they give instructions for some basic models but also pictures of other models for the kids to figure out on their own, which in turn encourages them to come up with their own creations. Also if there is a LEGO robotics league in your area you could look into getting your children involved in that as well.
So I hope these ideas get you thinking. These are of course just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative ways to trick, I mean encourage your kids to learn this summer.