Tag Archives: field trips

Fun Things for Summer

Well, this summer will be another one spent finishing up the school year. “But it’s summer!” the kids say. It is, and for that reason, we’re going to try to keep the formal schooling to just a couple hours a day. But we’ll still have time for some summer fun! 😉

Summer movies – Our local theater offers summer kids’ movies twice a week for a dollar per person. While we’ve already seen them all on video, we might still go to one or two for the fun of the theater experience.

Roller Skating – The roller skating rink offers year round “homeschool skate days.” Twice a month, homeschooling students meet to skate together for two hours. We missed the skate days during the school year, so this summer we’ll catch up!

Swimming – In pools, lakes, and rivers, my kids love to swim. Our state park fees are very minimal; for just a couple of dollars admission, we can spend a hot day splashing in the icy cool water.

Reading – Our library offers a reading program for children of all ages. After reading a certain number of books, they receive special prizes, such as ice cream coupons. Yum!

Field Trips – A friend of mine who organizes a field trip group keeps the activities scheduled all summer long. I know blueberry picking is already on the agenda.

Friend Days – Summer is the perfect time to plan for friends! We’re already planning  some themed “get-togethers” this summer (the girls especially love themes).

Scout Activities – With so much to do during the school year, my oldest son doesn’t have a lot of time to work on extra merit badges. Summer affords the perfect opportunity for him to get them done.

House Projects – There the list goes on and on. Besides just cleaning up and cleaning out, we need to give several rooms a fresh coat of paint.

Whew!  Looking at the list, I know we’ll be spending good quality time together — which, as my oldest prepares for 10th grade, is becoming more and more important, as he’ll be leaving for college in just a couple of years.  What will you be doing this summer?

Free Things to Do in the Summer

Our lazy days of summer haven’t been too lazy yet. We’ve had family visit, spent a week with art camp, and worked on math. There’s so much we can do, and even for those (like us) who are on a tighter budget this summer, much of it is free.

If you’re looking for things to do as a family, check into some of these:

Library Programs:  Many times libraries will bring in presenters for programs. They might be magicians, animal handlers, scientists, musicians, or puppeteers, and the hour-long program can be a lot of fun. Some libraries also offer free craft classes for kids.

Kids’ Movies: Check with your local movie theater to see if any free movies are being offered. Our area has three theaters that offer free movies in the summer, usually once or twice a week. One of our local universities is even offering free kids’ movies in the evening.

Concerts: Often, community bands will offer free concerts in the summer. Check the Sunday paper or your city’s website for more information.

Festivals: Our state has festivals going on all through the summer, from the Peach Festival to the Watermelon Festival to Fourth of July Festivals. Take along some extra water and enjoy the arts, crafts, and music.   

Parks: Enjoy the outdoors with your family with a picnic at a city park. Pack your food in a cooler, take along a Frisbee or football, and enjoy!

Zoos and Museums: Depending on where you live, entrance into the local zoo and museums may be free as well. Check your city’s website or visitor’s guide for more information. You might even want to get a group of friends together and make it a field trip!

Whatever your family does this summer, be sure to slow down and enjoy it!

Contentment

contentmentRecently I reviewed the book Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. This morning, as I was talking with my son John, I was reminded of a point Buckingham made. Buckingham contends that women are generally less happy now than 40 years ago because they have so many choices, and they’re afraid they’ll pick the wrong ones. While I’m not sure about the entire supposition, I think he’s right about the effect of having so many choices: it seems to naturally lead to discontentment.

As we were driving to co-op this morning, we passed by an elementary school; the school day had already started. John was sitting in the front seat, looked at the school, and commented on how it’s “too bad” for the kids who have to go to school. (I’ve been trying to make the point to my children lately that they have more free time than many of their peers).

I thought back, then, to my own school days. I remember complaining if I had a lot of homework or if I wasn’t ready for a test, but I never thought of myself as unfortunate. We went to school — that’s just what we did.

But now we have more choices. We choose to homeschool, and in doing so I choose the curriculum. We have more free time, so we choose from the many activities available. We do so many things during the year: music lessons, art lessons, scouts, library programs, roller skating, ice skating, PE classes, clubs, field trips, holiday parties, and meeting with friends. So why, then, do my children come to me with grumpy faces and say, “Why can’t we go bowling sometime?”

We aren’t limited in the foods we eat either; we can have pizza one night, chicken the next, then soup and sandwiches, then tacos, then spaghetti. Why then, after fixing a full meal each night, do my children come again with grumpy faces and say, “Don’t we have anything else to eat?”

I often feel like I should give my children every opportunity I can that comes along. That will ensure, I think, that they will have a well-rounded and productive childhood, helping them to grow into fine adults. Yet somewhere, among all those choices, we tend to lose our sense of gratitude and contentment. These, I believe,  are two of the key elements to a truly happy life — and a good lesson to learn.