Following, is a guest blog post from Homeschool.com reader Ken–Summer Projects to Keep Your Homeschooler Active.
During the summer, children tend to give caution to the wind and spend their time doing anything other than educational activities. Just because the summer is upon us, it doesn’t mean we can slack and postpone learning. There are many activities that a homeschooling student, or any student for that matter, can do throughout the summer that doesn’t feel like education. These experiments can be a great source of entertainment as they use a variety of skills in order to complete each one.
1. Solar Powered Excitement – A great outdoor activity is using solar power to operate specific electrical items. Although larger solar power kits can be quite expensive, panels can be bought at locations such as the local dollar store in the form of cheap sidewalk lighting. By teaching a student the difference between parallel and series circuits, a project can be developed to create as much power as possible to operate a simple item such as a computer case fan – the solar powered personal fan for hot summer days. A solar powered charging unit for wireless controllers of game systems could be a fun and worthwhile venture. Or perhaps discovering how many simple solar cells are needed in order to power a compact fluorescent light bulb. A variety of projects can be created using cheap solar cells.
2. Powered by Food – Along the same lines as the above project, generating power from foods is a favorite experiment for children of all ages. The likes of potatoes, oranges, and lemons produce approximately one volt of power per unit. Using simple components such as copper wire, copper nails, and galvanized nails your child could power a variety of simple objects. However, some experiments have been conducted where galvanized nails were replaced with zinc coated screws which provided a slight increase to the amount of power that was provided. One experiment could be using a small board and seeing how many pieces of food are needed in order to power simple objects such as light bulbs or charging bases for phones. Even USB powered devices could be taken apart and experimented with as these are usually low current objects anyway.
3. The Summer Business – Every child likes the idea of owning and operating a lemon-aide stand, lawn-mowing, or other kind of business to make money for fun things to do. As a parent, you can help them take it a step further by having them run a business as it actually would be. This means monitoring supplies and inventory, advertising budgets for signs and flyers, and business cards. There are many bookkeeping methods you can use for free in order to teach your child proper business practices. This could also be a great way to show the stress a business owner feels when someone steals from his or her company. This is a learning tool to the Nth degree featuring realistic changes that the children can see for themselves.
Summer for a child is a time of entertainment and fun. Education is usually the last thing that a student thinks of when they imagine spending his or her summer days. However, projects like the above can make it seem more like a fun experiment rather than an educational activity. There are a number of projects you can have your children produce during the summer and it doesn’t take much effort to find one that fits the educational level of your child.
Ken holds a Master’s in Business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. Ken is president of morningsidenannies.com which is based in the Houston area. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.