This is the second official summer of our homeschool journey, and we like to keep it light and fun. I’m a homeschooling father, so I am leading the activities and curriculum for most of the subjects. But these ideas could work for any family and could be a great way to get dad involved too!

1. Start an Outdoor Co-Op with Friends

Homeschooling in the Park

Summer is the perfect time to start a co-op with a few other families, whether they homeschool or not. We love the idea of an outdoor school and doing science experiments in the park—it’s the ideal laboratory. This is a great way to connect with other families and create some social activities that let the kids learn and play.

We meet in the morning at a local park under a pavilion and spend 30 minutes on a lesson. The focus is on the scientific methods, and each lesson is based on a simple scientific principle. Then we write up the experiment based on the scientific methods. We record the hypothesis, procedures, materials we use, observations, and a conclusion. Science is sometimes a difficult subject to grasp, so we like to make it fun.

2. Plan a Hands-On Learning Field Trip

Weighing Items for Buoyancy Experiment

Any swimmers in the family?  You can plan a lesson around water and choose an age-appropriate topic that can be put together easily. With our co-op, we plan a half-day at the pool for a lesson in buoyancy. For our experiment, we collected some household items like wooden, plastic, and metal utensils. 

Archimedes' principle of buoyancy, the legend of how he came up with the idea and shouted “Eureka,” is a moment that’s easily taught and connects well while you swim. Afterward, you can have lunch and take some time to write up the experiment. We use this particular free worksheet for experiments that focus on scientific methods.

You can check a few YouTube videos for “buoyancy experiments for kids” to get some good ideas for the lesson.

3. Teach Handyman Skills, Like Car Maintenance

Practicing Car Maintenance

Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and we teach our son how to be independent and helpful around the house. Summertime with dad can be fun, useful, and provide great teaching moments. Car maintenance is a practical skill that dads can teach our children, whether they are boys or girls. We have a routine of checking mom’s tire pressure and adding air if needed. We also check the battery for corrosion and overall health.

There are always projects in our home where we can teach some “handyman skills” as I call them. All the things my wife “assigns” me to do. When I was a kid, my father taught me how to paint interior and exterior walls, do caulking in the bathtub, and do general plumbing and electrical work on the irrigation system outdoors. Teaching kids to be a handyman around the home is valuable to save time and money, and it provides them with practical life skills. This isn’t taught in most traditional schools, but it can be done in homeschool with dad!

4. Practice Navigation Skills During a Hike

If your children are not in the Boy or Girl Scouts, then hiking with a compass is a good skill to learn during the summer with dad. It’s probably one of those skills many people don’t use anymore because we are ferrying our kids around nowadays. But a sense of direction is important to have. I like to let my son use a compass to give general directions as we are hiking in the hills nearby on the weekends. And if dad doesn’t have a good sense of direction either, great: he can learn too!

Terrain Mode in Google Maps

In Google Maps, you can search hiking trails and learn about the terrain and navigation on these trips. We have our son use terrain mode to help us search out information such as altitude to see how steep our hike will be. Instead of Google Assistant providing the directions on a drive, we like our son to bark out the directions for us. This can build up his sense of direction and wayfinding.

Our summertime homeschool is always in session: we live, learn, and have fun together as a family and with friends. Who said you have to be in a classroom to learn? Get out and enjoy summertime homeschool fun with dad!   

— Robert

Photo credit: iStock. Following images courtesy of author.