Monday, June 3, 2013

Seven Even BETTER Ways to Beat Summer Blahs!

So, I read the above article, expecting to encounter some wonderful ideas for filling up summer time (for families kids who don't homeschool year-round, as I do). Instead, I was met with three ideas that don't really contribute anything fun to family life. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that the woman has five children to my ONE, but still... life with a small army can be even more exciting than a solitary kidventure.

That said, here are MY (seven) ways to beat summer blahs:

1. Stalk EVERY museum. Look into a few things to keep costs down: reciprocal memberships ( &, local library museum passes, free days and chunks of time (Thursdays, 6pm - 8pm). Find a very large library in your nearest huge metro area and GO there!

2. Go to festivals! - this is particularly helpful if you have a certain ideology or lifestyle - for example, the Gay Pride parade, here in Chicago we have the Veggie Pride parade in May (we're vegetarians), and Veggie Fest in August. Taste of Chicago, Jazz Fest, Peace Fest (if you're cool with the pot smell), and all kinds of fun events are around the area. Pack food, pack light, don't forget sunscreen and a change of clothes!

3. Do some unschooling. Now, if you think unschooling is something that has to be decided in advance, structured into a day, and then the results have to be carefully measured for empirical proof of effectiveness, you're barking up the wrong tree. Take a nature walk, go on a hike, try to identify flowers/herbs/plants, learn a few processes (photosynthesis, color-changing in leaves, life cycles of plants and bugs vis-a-vis soil, etc) - go to a large body of water, find a scavenger hunt for the forest, and if you live in a metropolitan area - go to a "nature preserve." If your kid is allergic to the outdoors, hang out at the library. Infinite resources and goodness! LEARN SOME STUFF. Learning is almost never a waste of time.

4. Buy a cheapie science instrument and use it. Look at the stars in a telescope or use your smartphone to show your kids Google Sky. Get a microscope and collect bugs from windowsills to check out. The usual cheap microscopes have premade slides of bug abdomens, snake scales, and a few other interesting items, so just look for other things to populate empty slides with, like pieces of your sweater fibers, eyelashes, dandruff, dust, salt, sugar, and flower petals.

5. Have a bonfire and tell scary stories. If you don't have a fire pit, there are lots of ways to make one on the cheap: - building a fire pit is a great family project. Go on craiglist/freecycle for bricks/stones, that's the cheapest (and maybe even free) route. If you live in an apartment, you can build this one that can be used safely indoors:

6. Have a theme day: board game day, makeup and theatrical costuming day, Netflix documentary marathon day, printed coloring pages from the internet day, cleaning and dance party day, reading aloud from weird poetry books day, going park-hopping day. Do something, any one thing, all day. It'll be varying shades of weird, fun, boring, silly, and enlightening.

7. Browse instructables and make something! I do this quite a bit. Enough to buy the book (which I did). In fact, in browsing instructables for this post, 27 minutes have inexplicably disappeared from my life. Craaaazy. Currently, we're trying our hand at making soaps. Rick learned to make jewelry, I already had been making jewelry, and Dahlia is starting to make little necklaces with beads and string. It's all good! And if you're not too into making things, per se: - 474 things to do when you're bored!

I hope in reading this you've come up with some great ideas. Don't make excuses, see things through, and teach your children well. Remember you're the model for their behavior (even more than Miley Cyrus or the Backyardigans). But most importantly, live your life while you still can. One day you won't have more days ahead.

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