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Looking for learning opportunities over the summer?

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There are many resources available, online and offline, for parenting tips and summer activities. These resources can be quite helpful, but parents can often find things to do with kids that are learning opportunities that are presented by their children or the world around them.

Working at home during my son’s summer vacation answers a question I’ve had almost since I started using the Internet: What if there had been the internet when I was a kid? I would have googled things I heard from TV, and then bombarded my dad with questions about what I read on Wikipedia when he got home from work. Maybe not, though. My parents probably would have used the Internet to find parenting tips and summer activities. They may have even stumbled upon parenting classes.

We enrolled the boy in summer school, but he still has much time on his hands. His mother found math and reading summer activities for him to do every day. He reads above grade level, but could use work on reading comprehension. He does math at grade level, so our goal is to prevent summer slide.

I found many things to do with kids by searching the internet, but I think good parenting means looking for teaching and learning opportunities. We enrolled in the wellness center of a local retirement community after he attended a classmate’s birthday party at the swimming pool there. It gets us out of the house; it’s a fun way to get some exercise; it gives us a chance to practice social skills, and it gives us some practice dealing with real-world problems.

If we want to go swimming, we must check the wellness center schedule to learn when they do not have water aerobics classes for the residents. If we have an appointment, we need to figure out what time we need to leave home and what time we need to get out of the pool so that we have enough time to change clothes and get to our appointment on time.

Summer vacation as a good opportunity to learn life skills, so we’re learning to wash the dishes. The goal is not simply to learn how to wash dishes but to learn about such things as responsibility and attention to detail. We had fun learning how to make a video when the street sweeper went by our house. My son is my teacher as much as I am his teacher. His questions force me to think more than questions from adults do.

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