We think of summer as officially here when school ends, and I am so excited. I love the warmth and the smell of summer. No matter where you are, there is something about summer that conjures up memories for all of us. I grew up in Florida, where I could always have the warm sand under my feet and hear the sound of the ocean. Who would have ever thought that I would end up spending summers in Pennsylvania? It has its own kind of beauty, the smell of freshly tilled soil, fireflies at dusk, and fields overflowing with bountiful crops.
Summer is the time when you don’t have the pressure of filling the day with academics, so it just feels different. But I’ve found that many of life’s greatest lessons came from these laid back days, the days when the clock was not driving our family’s schedule.
When our boys were young, we would go visit my parents. We would visit them in two very different climates, and each one had its own canvas from which to learn about God’s creation. In the beautiful mountains of North Carolina we would hike near mountain streams, spending hours looking for salamanders (Click HERE for a fun activity creating a salamander habitat.) and other creatures. My boys would bring along their bug houses (Click HERE for instructions to build a bug hotel.) and you never knew what we would come back with—a black snake, snails, worms, and, my favorite, ladybugs. The second place that we would visit was the Florida Keys. What a great place for children to explore. My love of the ocean is deep, and I wanted my boys to be awed by the sound of the sea and all that goes with it. There is nothing more magical than watching a dolphin for the first time. Whatever it might have been—seashells, fish, the ocean floor—the beach makes for a great time for collecting. The Smithsonian has some great information on teaching children to collect HERE.
This is also a fun time to make lapbooks and to collect items while you are on vacation or just in your daily life and save them for a rainy day. Lapbooks can be a great way for children to put their collections together and learn at the same time.
As some of you may know, at Veritas we don’t formally study science until secondary school. The reason is actually very simple: much of science requires a child to have a mastery of reading and math. And historically in grammar school the emphasis was placed on language mastery, with Latin at the center. And I can tell you that they will have no problem starting science in 7th grade. The children we see day in and day out jump right in and before long they quickly exceed their peers in science mastery with the strong language and math background this system gives them.
But learning to enjoy God’s creation is another thing, and it is very well-suited for the grammar school years. You may even want to call that science. Go ahead and have fun. Many states actually require science in grammar school, so doing this over the summer, and documenting it, is a great way to meet your requirements.
But most of all, just enjoy the summer. It’s a great time to enjoy the joys of God’s creation.
By Laurie Detweiler
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