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Summer – Homeschool Style

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Does the term “summer school” scare you…or get you yawning? Take a family vacation this summer and use the time productively!

Make your summer beach trip fun and educational!  

No, really!

Just because it's summer doesn't mean our brains should go on hold! Have fun AND keep learning - enjoy summer "Homeschool Style"!

One of the things I love about parent directed learning is that you can take anywhere you go and anything you do and turn it into a learning adventure! If you make sure your own attitude is leaning towards the fun side, they won’t even know you’re doing it!

If you’re new to the concept of unit studies, they’re simply this: covering a myriad of subjects using one particular focus. Once you’ve done this a time or two and gotten the hang of it, you’ll find yourself moving in this direction in lots of different situations 🙂  Pretty soon you’ll be enjoying seamless family learning…whether or not you homeschool!

Our family has used this summer school unit study as “beach school” for years, but you can also tweak this for wherever you’re going…

A week or two at the beach just about brims over with fun educational ideas! Use the ideas below to inspire you, and then make sure you follow your kids’ delight and interests to build on them. One important note about ANY unit study you work on – don’t get bogged down or legalistic about doing it the “right” way. “The right way” is when your children find something they’re excited about and then continue to learn more on their own.

When they’re hooked, you’ve done summer “school” right!


The beach naturally lends itself to oceanography (both biology and earth sciences)

Get out library books on:

as well as

  • shore life – plants and animals
  • sea life – plants and animals
  • marshes/dunes
  • weather and wind studies
  • fresh water/salt water (you can do a neat Venn diagram with your comparisons) (Here’s a printable from Eduplace to download!)


On the subject of history…

Check out in advance if there are any forts, lighthouses, historic buildings/ports and see what time periods/events they might correspond to…lighthouse studies can go even another way as you study light, rainbows, vision/sight, sailing…depending on interest/relevancy/age and attention span. You can also explore ships/sailing/early navigation, leading to a study of one or more early explorers. A quick Google search can get you started, as well as a call to the Chamber of Commerce or local historic society. For both science and history, you can Google “museums” or “history of” with the town’s name, and go from there. We found a great marine biology museum that offered wonderful hands-on beach walks; the museum was small, but the walk and talk was rich!


 Let’s see…on to math.

  • Count/categorize shells, rocks, plants, animals and graph them,
  • graph/figure out times of high/low tides,
  • plan (and maintain!) a budget and/or estimate and keep track of expenses,
  • figure gas mileage,
  • figure trip mileage


Writing on vacation can be fun and easy.

  • keep a journal; use words and pictures
  • write a short story based on an interesting character from your trip (historical fiction!)
  • create a wordsearch or crossword puzzle of terms used/learned in your studies
  • create a haiku or other type of poem
  • do a research report or presentation on an interesting plant/animal/discovery
  • write a movie script or play based on an incident or experience


Vacations naturally lend themselves to expressions through art.

  • illustrate any of the above!
  • do a craft project using found materials
  • “have at it” with a single-use or digital camera
  • create a photo collage from the results!
  • create a lap book with photos, souvenirs, stories, etc. to summarize the trip.


Wrap it up when you get home

…with books and videos. YouTube is a great free resource – just use the search function to find related videos. But do take some time to preview them, both for content and quality. And don’t forget games, which not only build fun family memories, but can reinforce concepts learned during your studies.

The beauty of this approach to vacation is that you can tweak it to just about anywhere you go! Beaches or mountains, city or town…with just a few phone calls, some internet research and planning ahead, you can turn almost any trip into an opportunity for learning!

Keep thinking and stay creative…and you’ll be living a lifestyle of learning in no time!

What are you doing this summer?  Share your ideas on how to sneak some learning in!

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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2 Responses to Summer – Homeschool Style

  1. Lydia July 7, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    I’m not a homeschool mom, but this is impressive! I love how you make learning while on vacation an easy, fun thing. And that is also part of the reason I’m not sure I could ever be a homeschool mom. It’s just hard for me to look at things as a constant learning experience. I’m sure I could learn and get better at it, but I’m just not much of a teacher.

    • Pat July 7, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      Oh, Lydia, I don’t think you give yourself enough credit! I think perhaps if you look at things as constant discovery experiences, you and the kids would have TONS of fun! Don’t think of yourself as a teacher as much as a facilitator…or maybe a co-discoverer! Have a great summer…and thanks for your kind remarks 🙂

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