Educational Summer Fun with Theme Studies

They say that over the summer children forget a third of what they learned during the school year. That’s why the first third of school books are review of previously learned material. They also say (sorry, I’m not taking time to look up resources for you, but this is pretty much common sense anyway) that children who do some steady reading through the summer do not lose that third of what they learned, even though the summer reading they do doesn’t pertain to the subjects they learned. Reading is just good mental exercise and helps keep the brain in tip-top shape.

So as homeschoolers, we try to keep some learning going year-round, but in summertime our learning takes on a more shortened, informal, and fun form. One of our traditions that has proven to be super fun for both me and my kids is something we call ‘theme studies’ where I become the student and the kids teach me. They each take a turn teaching for a week at a time.  They pick any subject they want, and for five days they present lectures, demonstrations, storytelling, audiovisual materials, games, crafts, assignments, field trips, etc. pertaining to the subject. They can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour to present their daily lesson.

Of course, they pick subjects they’re passionate about. We’ve had it on dinosaurs, international flags, dolphins, national parks, magic tricks, Lego stop motion filming, movie special effects, cartoon drawing, and origami, just to name a few. We visited a fascinating flag store, watched selected parts of movies; I’ve been assigned to write stories, draw cartoons, and been challenged to memorize all the titles of Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes (sure, why not?) This has proven to be so exciting at our house that the boys have argued about who gets to go first in the summer, and me, shoot, this is one of my most favoritest things EVER! I just sit back, enjoy the show, and let knowledge happen to me. Sometimes I learn interesting things I never knew before, but most of all, I get to see their passion about something, which is always contagious.

So now I challenge you, introduce this to your kids and watch them run with it.




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