When school lets out for the summer, most kids dread having to do anything related to school work. But it is so important to keep your children’s minds active during the summer! Think about it for a minute…how many of you have depended on spell check for so long now, you forget how to spell simple things. I know that is me!! Yes, you are laughing right now if you have ever read my posts. You can definitely tell Grammar is NOT my strength!! We forget what we don’t practice.
So what is a mom suppose to do? We want our kids to have fun, but we also want their minds to stay sharp. After thinking for a few weeks 2 summers ago, I came up with an idea my kids jumped all over—studying about a different county each week. I presented my idea to my son, highlighting some of the fun things I thought we could do like study the Amazon Rainforest, build a pyramid for Egypt, build a model Volcano to represent Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, etc. He was pumped!!! Now, I needed to get my little girl on board. At the time she would do anything her big brother would do (boy have times changed in the past 2 years!!) so it proved to be an easy sell.
So we got to work. I let my son pick out 6 countries, and daughter pick out 2 (she was 3 at the time!) and I worked on getting a formal game plan together.
I decided we needed to have a rough guideline to follow each week. And obviously, being Summer VACATION—we used this as a guide. Some weeks we spent the majority of our time at the pool or lake and then would spend an entire rainy day at home learning about a faraway land!
So here is our Weekly Guidelines for Study: (each day we spent no more than an hour doing these things so were able to get outside by late morning, with the exception of the day we cooked together or when we would get really involved in an art or science project.)
- Focus on looking up the country in our atlas and on the globe.
- Complete a mapping activity and draw/paint the country’s flag.
- Begin to fill out this Country Fact Sheet from Homeschool Creations
- Study the food from the country and natural resources that were available to the people of that country. We would then plan what our authentic feast would be together for later that week, giving me time to get any necessary ingredients.
- We learned about a child from the country we were studying using Breaking Down the Walls and Child Like me Fact Sheet from Homeschool Creations.
- This day was the most eye opening day for my children. It was a wonderful way to learn about how fortunate we are in this country. We often times tied this into learning about missionaries in the particular country and prayed for the needs of the people in the country.
- Hands on art work or scientific experiment that related to our topic.
- Finish up the Country Fact sheet and do a writing prompt about that country.
- Wrap up any fun activities we had planned, watch a short video from the library on the country, and have our feast—all hands on board to help prepare the meal we choose!
This adventure around the world proved to not only be a fun way to keep our brains active, but a wonderful way to bond as a family. We not only learned together, but played together. We had huge successes—our volcano was awesome! And huge failures—we all hated the meal we made from Egypt and had resorted to PB and J that night. We discovered how rich we are in America and how poor other countries are. The tradition has continued on. Over the past 2 years we have studied many countries, including well known countries such as England and South Africa, and countries less often talked about such as Greenland and Indonesia.
This year, after my son had a year of Georgia History at school, he suggested we take a closer look at the state we live in and experience what it has to offer. I think this is a fabulous idea—so I may not be sharing ethnic recipes from other countries, but some good old southern cooking—which I haven’t ventured cooking often! Should be fun!
Bottom line, take time to go on adventures, big or small from your house, car, airplane, or imagination. Use the beautiful world God has made to enrich your brain and your lives!