Learning Summer Vacation Style

This week I pondered the question, “What did you do this summer?”  Oh, the perennial topic of so many back to school essays.

We read lots of books.  One of my boys read non-fiction all summer with the exception of one historical fiction.

Waterfall @ South Chagrin May 30

We spent a week at Vacation Bible School learning about water borne illnesses, the importance of proper handwashing, and the need for clean water around the world.  The church sponsors the Living Water initiative to bring clean water to people around the globe.   I was so completely humbled as I researched the need for access to clean water.

Sports Collage

We rode our bikes.  We worked on soccer skills. The boys even tried out baseball.

Mindstorm NXT



July was spent learning outdoor skills with the Cub Scouts, going on a family vacation, attending a NXT Programming Camp, and taking a couple of classes through the National Park Service.


Wildlife CollageWe hiked amazing places and saw some incredible wildlife.  One morning we had an amazing salamander hike.  We spotted a heron catching a fish.  Another evening we spotted a beaver.   They caught frogs and tadpoles.  We even found a snake skin in a tree.  After many afternoons watching dragonflies we learned the difference between dragon and damsel flies.

Hummingbird in the evening - Scott


We watched the hummingbirds in our backyard and learned their calls.  The boys spent a fair amount of time reading about hummingbirds and watching documentaries and TV shows.

Bat Barn @ Stanford House CVNP


We learned more about White Nose Syndrome in bats and Colony Collapse Disorder in bees.




We watched TV shows like Mythbusters and StormChasers and Nature (PBS).

Cooking with Scales


We did science experiments and practiced our metric skills.



It was a great summer of learning!

On this eve of back to school I ponder, “Would the school system agree?”  I have this suspicion the system may or may not think we had a great summer of learning. Observing nature, programming, being physically fit, learning about grave scientific issues facing our nation and planet, doing science experiments, pursuing interests and accomplishing goals you set for yourself – Those aren’t measured on a standardized test.  No, the important things would be:  How fast can you do your math facts?, How many minutes did you read?, and How does your reading level test on Aug. 23rd compare to May 23rd?

So tonight I say, “It’s great to be a homeschooler!”




8 thoughts on “Learning Summer Vacation Style

    • Eva – I read your collage post this morning and I’m looking forward to future visits to your site. In answer to your question, when we took the NXT out of the box I was initially dissappointed because the instructions were very minimal. Thankfully we got on line and figured out some things to do. As our son learned his way around the programming he started liking it more and more. Being on a FLL team really helped too. LEGO just came out with a new robot, the EV3, that will replace the NXT. I’ve read the EV3 will come with some instructions in the box to get kids going.
      I’m really glad we bought it because at our boys ages (8 and 10) I like the combination of programming with a physical application. The camp they went to this summer seemed to have a lot of boys that were older and still enjoying the NXT. Most of the kids on E’s FLL team are 12-13. We’ve had the NXT just over a year and E has built a floor sweeper, LEGO pusher, catapult and another contrapation. He also worked on some things to use with his FLL team.
      Hope that helps. If you have more questions let me know.

    • Holly – Your classroom post was great! Here at my house we get a little stir crazy if we try to stay in the same room for too long. I tried to comment over at your blog but I wasn’t able to get it to post. Hope you all have a great year! – Carol

  1. We are planning to by the ev3 but don’t belong to a robotics club. I hope we are able to figure it out. IT is the major “brain food” we are buying for our son this year. What an awesome week.
    Blessings, Dawn

    • Dawn – Thanks for coming by. Please stop back in and let me know what you think of the EV3. Looks like your year is off to a great start. – Carol

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