As homeschoolers, we’re all about flexibility and following our kids’ interests. But my wife and I recently realized that while we’re really good at listening to our kids when it comes to their formal education, we’ve been a bit remiss in listening to their desires for “off time.” The fact is, it’s all too easy to plan activities for our kids instead of with them.
Of course, some of that is necessary. For one thing, my kids are still pretty young, and for another thing, they’re not aware of all the possibilities (or limitations) regarding what we can do. So it’s certainly appropriate for parents to continue to play a guiding role in summertime activities.
On the other hand, summertime is a particularly good time to get our kids’ input. After all, if we’re going to be taking a bit of a break from the books, then what better time is there to let our kids pursue some other interests they might not have as much time for during the regular school year?
The problem is, our kids don’t always know how to figure these things out. (Otherwise we’d never hear “I’m bored,” would we?) So sometimes we need to come alongside and give them a bit of a helping hand in identifying their interests!
Here are some questions I’ve found helpful for doing that:
- What are some special things you’d like to do this summer?
- Is there anything you can remember wanting to do in the past few months that we just didn’t get around to doing?
- What words come to mind when you think about summer?
- What would make this summer memorable to you?
- Is there anything you’d like to be able to say you’ve done, even if you don’t necessarily want to do it?
- If you feel bored sometime this summer, what are some things you could do?
- Who would you like to help this summer?
- What would you like to learn about this summer?
- Are there any special foods or meals you’d like to have during the summer?
- Would you like to go someplace this summer? (Not necessarily a vacation; day trips are great too!)
- Have we learned anything in school this past year that you’d like to learn more about, or get some hands-on experience with?
- What goals would you like to accomplish this summer?
- Who would you like to share this summer with?
- Finish this sentence: “To me, the perfect summer would…”
- What do you not want to do this summer?
- What’s something you’d love to do, but you’re not sure I’d let you do? Can we figure out a way we’re all OK with to make it happen?
- What would you like to do as a family this summer?
- Is there something I can do to help you have a really special summer?
- Is there something you can do to help your siblings have a really special summer?
- If you could only do one special thing this summer, what would you want it to be?
- When summer is over, what would you like to look back on having done?
Obviously, not every question on that list is appropriate for every child, or every family, but it should at least help you get your child’s mind working on how to use summer to its full potential.
I pray your family has a great summer. May it be a full and memorable one!