Tag Archives: summer acitivies

Celebrating the Fourth

This summer is passing so quickly — it’s hard to believe it’s almost the 4th of July. Not only is Independence Day a great time to celebrate, but it’s a great teaching time, too. If you’re family is anything like mine, though, a lesson during a summer holiday isn’t always fully appreciated by younger students. Here are some ideas for slipping some learning opportunities into your 4th of July fun:

Bake some holiday treats together — The magazine racks in grocery stores are full of periodicals and recipe books featuring red, white, and blue desserts for the holidays. You can also find plenty of recipes online at sites such as AllRecipes.com and CookEatShare.com. Look through the recipes with your child and pick out one or two favorites.

Plan a picnic — If you’re going to celebrate with a feast outdoors, have your child help plan it. Sit down together to figure out a menu, then look through the sales fliers to figure out the approximate cost of the food. When you go to the grocery store, have your child help you find all of the items you need.

Work on crafts — You can find great 4th of July craft ideas in family magazines and online. Try looking through sites such as FamilyFun.com, EnchantedLearning.com, and MarthaStewart.com.

Attend a concert — Many cities offer outdoor concerts for the 4th; is there one in your area? Use the concert as an opportunity to introduce your child to the different musical instruments and what they sound like.

Learn patriotic songs — Whether or not you’re attending a concert, you can still use the 4th as a time to teach your children songs about America. Some songs to sing together include You’re a Grand Old Flag, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, This Land is Your Land, and The Star Spangles Banner.

However you celebrate the 4th with your children, enjoy the time together. Just like the summer, these schooling years will pass by so quickly!

Writing Camp

A couple of weeks ago, a friend approached me about putting together a writing camp for the homeschoolers in our area. I was able to get in touch with another friend, author Pam Zollman, who has taught writing classes for years. This week we met to decide the details, and I think the camp is going to be really good.

Pam has written over 40 books for children, and she also worked as an editor at Highlights Magazine. As I listened to her talk during our planning meeting, I could tell she has a knack for getting the information to across to students.

During the camp, we’ll follow a similar schedule each day. To begin, we’ll read a favorite picture book, then together the class with discuss the story elements found in the picture book: characters, setting, and plot. This camp will focus on illustration, too, so we’ll look at the pictures to determine the medium used and the mood created.

Then Pam will start with the writing instruction, and the kids will work on their own original stories. Next, I’ll give the children some drawing tips so they can develop illustrations to go along with their books. Throughout the camp, Pam and I will be available to help them out as they work on their projects.

One of the best things about this camp is the educational experience it affords — and during the summer, too! Kids will spend five days learning, reading, writing, drawing, and putting their own book together. It can certainly be counted as school time, even if the children are having too much fun to realize it!

Do you have a friend who likes to write? Does she enjoy teaching as well? If so, encourage her to set up a class for the homeschoolers in your area. It doesn’t have to last all week — even one or two classes can inspire a young writer to start creating.


Summer is just around the corner, but we usually continue with school through June and most of July. Though much of the children’s free time is spent swimming at the pool, we also have fun trying new hobbies and working on crafts together.

A couple of years ago, we were involved in a 4-H sewing club, and the girls made some neat items — from little handbags to hats to toys to doll clothes. One year, when my son John was in the club too, every student designed and sewed their own quilt square; the teacher put all the squares together, and we gave the quilt to an elderly friend at a nursing home. We’ve haven’t done much sewing since then, and this summer would be a great time to start again.

Not long ago, as I was browsing through websites, I stumbled upon a sewing site for kids. If you have a child who is interested in learning to sew this summer, or if you lead a 4-H or homeschooling sewing club, be sure to visit Kids-Sewing-Projects.com

This site is so user/teacher/homeschool friendly that it’s worth a look even if you hadn’t considered adding sewing to your student’s day. Here you’ll find sewing lessons for preschoolers, beginners, and intermediates, organized to gradually take the student from simpler lessons to more difficult ones. If you find that your child is enjoying sewing, you can purchase a curriculum ebook featuring over 100 pages of lessons and projects.

What’s more, this site presents several ways for the kids themselves can be involved. They can enter the sewing contest to win a gift certificate and an ebook, or they can simply share their current projects on the “Your Projects Page.” There’s also a page for asking questions, and the author of the site will try to answer them for you.

Ready to get started? Just click on Kids-Sewing-Projects, and see what your child can do!