Tips for Making the Most of Teachable Moments During Your Summer Vacation
Summer is in full swing and many of us are looking forward to a week away, whether that’s at a family camp, Grandma’s place, or further afield. Our family enjoys road trips and camping during the summer. While we may be away from home, we don’t need to be away from school. Here are a few ways that I make the most of teachable moments during our summer vacations:
Take an atlas
My daughters love looking at maps and asking where we’re going. We have several old-fashioned map books (the kind you can grab at any gas station) in our van, and they have often followed along with where we are driving. I’ve also packed location-specific, kid-friendly atlases, such as Lonely Planet’s Unfolding Journeys.
Mail postcards home
Whether you’re just driving to Grandma’s or flying to Europe, look for postcards at stops along the way. Choose postcards with photos and/or information about the local area. Write a quick note, or have your child write a quick note, about something you did, saw or heard there. Mail it home. When you get home, your postcards will be waiting (or you can anticipate their arrival soon!). Use them to create a scrapbook of your vacation and where you went.
Listen to a book together
Listening to audiobooks together on a road trip is tons of fun. Plus, it lets you discuss the book and its ideas as a family. You can also look up novel studies to do with your child on the road or when you get home again.
Keep a trip notebook
Use a simple journal or notebook to keep a record of your trip. You can designate an older child as the Official Recordkeeper, or the whole family can take turns adding notes. Younger children can draw pictures in the notebook, while older children record dates, places, facts, feelings, and ideas. You can keep a trip log of places you drive or fly through. Consider leaving space to add photos after you return home.
Visit local museums
Whether you’re camping three hours from home or exploring a foreign country, take time to visit the local museums. Many small towns have museums that give you more information about their history. These often include stories that bring the area alive, like finding out that two Indian bands fought each other over Battle Mountain (Nevada).
If there isn’t a museum, the local visitor center may have information about the area’s history—or a fun book or two to read around the campfire or during a flight or drive.
Wherever your summer vacation takes you, may you have a fun-filled summer of learning!
Bonnie Way is a homeschool graduate and homeschool mom to four girls and a baby boy. She and her husband grew up in Alberta and currently make their home in Vancouver, BC. She blogs about parenting, homeschooling and summer vacations as the Koala Mom. She also enjoys reading, hiking with her kids, and learning how to use her new Nikon DSLR.