Not Back to School

Not many things truly offend me. The one thing that routinely gets me fired up is back-to-school commercials in July.

Can’t the kids just have a break? It seems that no sooner are the prison gates opened than mom and dad are being nagged to buy pens and paper. As a homeschooler I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to make a mad dash to my local super store in mid-summer to stock up on school supplies; I can buy them all year long — whenever I want.

I also enjoy the fact that we don’t “do school” any more. Don’t get me wrong — we study, we read, we learn, we figure, we explore, we question, we think, we laugh, we socialize, we play. But “doing school” sounds so utilitarian, so uninspired. Thankfully, this can be done at any time of the year, and with very little store bought supplies.

When you see a back-to-school commercial, turn off the television and celebrate homeschooling. Here are some ideas to make your summer days educational, but still relaxed.  And don’t rush; summer isn’t actually over until September 21st.

  • Theatre in the Park – most larger cities (even smaller ones) often have plays in the park. Most are free, or low cost, and family friendly.
  • Outdoor Concerts – almost always free, outdoor concerts can offer glimpses into different musical styles that you might not necessarily get to hear at home.
  • Planetariums – if you don’t live in a city with a planetarium, make sure you check your local community colleges. If they have a planetarium, they usually offer children’s programming in addition to their regular shows. Laser shows with music are a fun addition to the typical space presentations.
  • Library Programs – the reading programs are already in full swing, but make sure you check the children’s program calendar at your local library. Our library offers classes such as chess or origami and even shows a weekly film. Again, the operative word here is FREE.
  • Ditch the pool and head to a natural body of water – an ocean, a lake. There’s so much more to learn when you’re out in nature. Even a mud puddle after a summer storm will suffice.
  • Plan a “Not Back to School Party” with other homeschoolers – find out when your local schools start up again and plan a park day to celebrate your freedom. Bring curriculum to swap or share.

What else are you doing this summer to keep learning alive? Even if you prefer to stick to the books during the summer months, I know many of us enjoy a more relaxed pace of learning. I’d love to hear any unusual or clever ideas you might have, particularly ones that are free or low-cost. Tell me about them in the comments!

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