The Learning Jar: Our Doomed to Fail Summer Misadventure

Disclaimer: You will find no “super homeschool mom” tips here. No cutesy Pinterest-y projects. Probably not any over the top, themed out adventures. I’m just not that mom.

 But I am a mom who wants to instill in her kids a lifetime love of learning. And for me, I value that happening year round, not dictated by calendar or curriculum. But here’s the thing, summer routines tend to get a little scattered. Last year I had every intention of homeschooling through the summer. The problem: things kept interrupting my regular routine. Trips—for work or play. Impromptu meet ups with the friends. Trips to my parents’ farm to spend the day at the pool. Summer camps. Days for rest. The things summer should be made of. 

When I get out of a routine, I really struggle to stay on track with a curriculum. So, I’ve been brainstorming ways to boost our summer learning by providing a hint of flexible structure. Something even a slacker homeschool mom like myself can handle. 

This week we made our learning jar. Inside are slips of paper. I asked the kids to list things they wanted to learn about. Anything their little hearts desired. This jar of mine has questions from how hot dogs are made to how sin came to the world. My kiddos have quite a range of interests. Our goal is to draw one slip per week and spend that week exploring that topic (More or less. Because, ya’ll, I refuse to spend an entire week talking about hot dogs. Outer space on the other hand, we might want more time with).

Again, it’s not fancy. It will probably involve a lot of internet browsing and reading books. A nature walk or local field trip if I’m feeling fancy.

Why I think this will work for us:

It doesn’t involve a ton of planning.

It is highly kid-led. So they are excited.

It encourages them to think about the world around them and what they would like to know about it.

I can sneak in some activities that reinforce skills they’ve learned over the past year.

The time we spend on it will depend on the time we have for it. 

Why am I blogging about this? Mostly because maybe, just maybe it will keep me accountable to our goal. If I plan to write about it I have to do it. Two, knowing my kids, this will end up a silly, zany adventure that could prove to be mildly entertaining. Three, maybe you’d like to learn along with us. If you decide to make your own learning jar, send me picture or let me know about it in the comments!

Look for an update post next week. I’ll share our topic for the week, the links and resources we used, and the questions we asked. (And of course there are guaranteed to be some hilariousness in the mix)

Happy Summer everyone!

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