Summer naturally lends itself to making memories, doesn't it? I love all things summer. Ice cream, swimming with friends, picnics, and the tanned faces of my children.
Summertime was also a great time to read our books s-l-o-w-l-y, with no agenda. We could meander through pages, keep a day book for insights, and if we wanted to, leave it neglected on the night table for days.
I've always sought to find gentle ways to school through the summer.
Let's take the time to slow down, inspire wonder, and make memories this summer.
(This post is from Homegrown Learners' contributing writer, Gina Glenn.
Using the lazy hazy days of summer allowed us to create memories that my kids still talk about to this day.
Our Own Memories
When school is out, your kids can become a bit lonesome for companionship. So we held a summer book club each year. I'd choose a literature guide and plan an easy lesson that we could pick up and put down at will. Our favorite was Little Women. When my youngest daughter went off to college, she packed her copy of Little Women, dogeared as it was. She read it when she was homesick.
And that's our goal, if we are to have a goal—to create a memory in our child's subconsciousness that they can turn to for comfort in difficult times. For those times when we can't be there.
Learning to Fall in Love with Literature
This seems a good starting point. If you have a child who isn't crazy about reading, you might think it impossible to teach them to fall in love with literature. But, it's completely possible with some mom ingenuity. Here are some ways you can begin to encourage your children to fall in love with literature.
1. Create a time in your summer schedule for stillness.
Think of everyone laying around in the family room seeking a respite from the heat. Rather than turning to video games or tolerating constant cries of, "I'm bored!" plan in advance to have audiobooks on hand. Then this time can begin with a listen aloud (and then they can do other things). Maybe your children can draw during that time, or even just rest. But, listening is paramount to appreciating story and falling in love with literature. Some listen alouds that our family has particularly enjoyed are: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Courage of Sarah Noble, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Your Story Hour with Uncle Dan & Aunt Carol, and Jim Hodges Audiobooks. We also loved many of the Lamplighter series.
2. Honor your child's individuality.
I have one child who to this day loves to read Timothy Zahn's Star Wars series. I'd much prefer he read Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But, I've come to understand that the books we choose for ourselves are part of the reason they bring comfort. It's as Charlotte Mason has said, "Education is a science of relations." Our children are capable of making their own connections based on their own experiences. So often we are merely the guide.
3. Build a summer library.
Create reading lists of books you'd like your children to read and keep those on your own bookshelves.
4. Teach your children to engage with literature.
This can be a challenge in our tech-saturated society, but learning to do more than scan the text of any book is what makes a friend of the book we're reading. Challenge your children to think ahead while reading, ask questions of the text, and write in the margins of the book.
5. Model your own love of literature.
This makes teaching your children to love literature more a passing of the torch than another subject to be mastered.
Making Your Own Summer Memories with Literature
If you'd like to take a more hands-on approach to making memories with literature you can do really fun things. Here's a list of ideas for activities that involve literature.
- Choose a theme to study, say bees. Find all the books you can about bees and put together some fun science activities. Examples might be learning why saving bees is important.
- Pick a family favorite book based on a movie. Watch the movie, popcorn included, as a reward for finishing the book. If you can, try doing it outside. We had an outdoor projector and set up an outdoor movie theater.
- Host a book club. There are so many ideas and directions you can take with this. Keep it fun! If you have boys, you'll have to sell this idea to them with lots of activities. It might need to include building a potato launcher or such, so be creative with your book choices. ;)
- Participate in summer reading programs. Bookstores, Pizza Hut, and even your local library have programs that encourage your child to read.
It's Summer and They Are Your Memories
With all the options available for books to read and activities you could do, keep in mind —it's your summer and your memories. There's no right or wrong way. Just fun to be had and memories to be made.
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