Tag Archives: Homeschool

Beat the Summer Boredom Blues

As a home-school mom, summer break can be an exhausting experience.  After all, the only difference between the school year and summer vacation is now the kids are bored and are constantly asking you for something to do.  I often call it the ‘Summer Boredom Blues’.  They’ve been so busy all year with structured activities that they have trouble entertaining themselves.  I don’t know about your kids but mine love to be busy.  Not in the ‘chore’ aspect of busy, but in the ‘mind’ aspect of busy.  Put a challenge in front of them and we have balance in our home.

I tend to get in a rut with new experiences for the summer.  We just got out of school and all the busyness that school brings.  The last thing I want to do is jam-pack our schedule again.  So I look for the more ‘out-of-the-box’ adventures.

First rule for success….Don’t let them know it’s coming.  You have the element of surprise on your side, don’t waste it.  This can also be used as a motivational tool when behaviors start to act up.

Second rule…..These activities do NOT have to be flashy.  It’s more about the memories than anything else.  I especially need to remember this!  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just memorable….

I have compiled a list of 10 summer activities to share with your kids.  Here is my list of activities we WILL experience this summer…

1. Sleep on the trampoline with your kids.  I so hope you have one.  This activity was one of my absolute favorites growing up as a kid.  I couldn’t wait to drag out every blanket (and critter) we owned.  I would lie for hours just gazing up at the massive sky.  Now I love to see my kids’ same excitement.  You can do some extra planning with this and save it for a meteor shower or eclipse.

2. Give yourself pedicures.  Even boys can appreciate a pampering foot soak.  I have girls so this is right up their alley.  I go all out.  We start with a lavender-infused salt bath.  I do throw a little teaching in there with proper foot hygiene.  There is always one kiddo that just can’t seem to trim their toenails correctly.

3. Take them fishing.  This is a NO gadget activity (for the adults too).  Even if you don’t catch a single fish, the activity is more about connecting back with your kids’ hearts.   I am so guilty for not slowing down enough to hear them.  This gives us a chance to really talk.  I am looking forward to this so much this summer.

4. Let them choose a small town on your state map and hit the road.  Let them pick the music and snacks (with guidance).  Sorry, but I want to eat too!!

5. Hiking with a scavenger list.  We hike a lot as it is, so this makes it a little more special.   It’s amazing how fast the trail goes when they have a list of objects they are looking for.  My family is very competitive so we always make it a contest.  No sore winners or losers allowed.  Be creative when making your list.  Know the area you will be hiking and have them search for items they normally wouldn’t look to find.

6. Volunteer at a shelter.  I have said we are going to do this every year and have failed to do so.  Having a rural family, we are sheltered from so much of the world’s hardness.  We tend to think the entire world is our own 30 acres.  This is such a good lesson for them to understand that life has hard consequences and we still have a responsibility to act with love, hospitality, and compassion.  I’m specifically saving this activity for when the kids’ complaining starts up….or maybe even mine!

7. Make garden labels.  This is a selfish project, but I don’t feel too bad because the kids really enjoy this.  Anytime they can whip out the paints and get creative they are ALL IN.  This year I’m going with a ladybug theme.  They can paint them what ever color they want as long as it resembles a lady bug and has the garden plant name written on the stripe down the middle.  I use about 3-4″ rocks.  Part of the project is finding them.  This works perfect if you need a field or garden cleared of rocks.

8. Visit a nursing home.  Sometimes I forget what a gift my kids are to others.  It is a shame that I keep them all to myself.  Every time I have ever visited a nursing home, my kids have been a hit.  There is always someone there that could use some lovin’ on.  This is such a great way for them to grow their compassion and respect.

9. Let them plan, shop for, and cook dinner.  This is a team effort and you, the parent, are there to guide.  It is so fun to see them come up with a menu and look very satisfied with the element of control they have.  Of course, they also get to clean up!  This is a great hidden life-skill lesson.

10. Learn one new hobby WITH them.  Nothing says humility like learning something new along side your kids.  I haven’t discussed with them yet, but they will have equal input.  I cringe at the possibilities, but I feel it is important that they see me grow too.

I know now more than ever that the time we have with our kids is short.  We have a small window of opportunity to capture their hearts and engage with them.  I have been down the road where I’ve let busyness steal these precious times away.  Beating the summer boredom blues is so much more than being busy.  You beat it by finding contentment in growing their creativity.  Summer is such a great time to slow down and grow right along with our kids.

What are your favorite summer activities?  How do you beat the summer boredom blues?  What are some of our favorite childhood summer memories?  Do you incorporate those with your kids today?  I’d love to hear from you!

Experiencing Metamorphosis

As a home-school mom, I am constantly trying to find new ways to bring a level of excitement into our daily routine.  I love being able to bring the classroom outdoors and let ‘life’ be their textbook.  However, it has taken a lot of time to develop this character in me.

Throughout the years of schooling our children, I’ve grown just as much as they have.  I can honestly say that through all the tears, frustration, and panic I do not regret the decision to bring our children home to teach.  I now love the challenge of finding new ways to engage with them that is personal and unique to us.  The memories that we have gained are ones that I hold closest to my heart.

I still remember the first day of ‘home-school’.  I had a child in eighth grade, fourth grade, one preschooler and one on the way!  Talk about stretching myself.  As all those little eyes looked up at me from across the table, I explained to them my very ‘detailed’ plan of action.  I couldn’t help but to think that those same little eyes knew I wasn’t fooling anyone.  I was scared out of my mind and apparently my calm, know-it-all act wasn’t fooling anyone.

We made it through our first year with great experience under our belt…..meaning, everyone survived the occasional meltdowns.  I can honestly say it took me two full years before I could calmly tackle our home-school routine without stressing about it every single day.

My philosophy on homeschooling has had its own form of metamorphosis.  I am more relaxed about checking off completed lessons and have starting caring more about how engaged my children are in their lessons.  Just ask my 6th grader now.  She often hears me say, “I don’t care if your lesson is completed.  I care if you have learned your lesson!”

With my ‘nest of children’ beginning to shrink, I feel slightly guilty for my older children that had experienced my ‘uptight teaching style’.  The kind of style that would look at the perfectly laid-out lesson plans and obsess about checking each one off….completed.  Oh, how far I’ve come!

Maybe you can relate.  If I am describing you, please don’t be discouraged.  The moment you find what works for you and your children and stop comparing yourself to every other home-teacher, is the moment you will start blessing your children.  Take time to really find your children’s interests.  Help them to grow THEIR areas of interest and hide ‘teaching’ in them.  Watching them pursue their passions and gifts gives me great contentment as a mom.  After all, we aren’t raising children to be good children.  We are raising children to be great adults!

Science is a popular subject at our house!  Both of my girls are captivated by God’s creation.  They are constantly wanting to know how things work and how things grow. Needless to say, I have endless help with my garden and animals (talk about science-in-action).

When tackling our unit study of insects, the subject of butterflies was their favorite topic.  Then again, who doesn’t love butterflies?  I asked the girls if they would like to see the process of metamorphosis live and they squealed with excitement.  I starting searching for metamorphosis kits and chose one simply for the timeline we were on.  After all, we didn’t what to raise butterflies just to drop them off in a blizzard.  We ordered this kit and waited impatiently for it to arrive (2 days later).

The kit was perfect!  The girls were a little disgusted when they saw the tiny looking caterpillars that came in the feeding tub.  Somehow they thought the entire process woulf be cute and cuddly.  My hesitant daughter did manage enough courage to pose for a picture though.


Caterpillars Have Arrived

The directions were completely ‘dummy-proof’ and allowed us to bring our textbooks alongside us each step of the way.  The entire process took 25 days and it was 25 days of pure excitement.  Each day there was something new to engage in.  Even I found myself running to the caterpillar container each morning to see how much they had grown from the previous day.


9 Days Later

Once those hungry caterpillars had their fill, they attached themselves to the paper-vented lid.  We waited two days after the last one attached itself before moving them into the new garden enclosure that came with the kit.  Make sure your enclosure is stocked before you move the chrysalides…trust me!

We gently moved the enclosure to our school office where we could keep a close eye on them.  This was a quiet week as everyone anticipated the emergence of our beautiful butterflies.  It was as if they realized we had gotten bored waiting on their appearance and then bang….butterflies!  My youngest and most observant, discovered our new little treasures first.  From there, it took 24 hours for all five to break free.

The next three days we got to enjoy them at a distance from their enclosure.  We watched as their fragile wings slowly dried.  As we watched them give their wings their first, long stretch, it made us want to stretch right along with them.  It took about one full day before they seemed to show any kind of activity.  They found the fruit slices and sugar water within the first day.   The girls envied their diet of nectar.  What a rough menu to have!

When the ‘release day’ arrived, I can honestly say everyone was excited for the little guys.  I was surprised that no ‘pet requests’ came up.  That confirmed to me that the science-in-action lesson served its purpose.

We all felt privileged to watch one of God’s mysteries unfold in front of our eyes. Stewardship is a character quality that has to be developed, especially when you live on a farm.  I was so happy to see that form of character transferred right over to these beautiful insects.

I hope you are able to engage with your kiddos in this project.  Every time they see a beautiful butterfly dancing in the wind they will be taken back to these special times.


Happy metamorphosis-ing!


Watch our release video!