Summer “School”? – Forward with the Past

This is the last of my series on how to tackle weaving some learning into summer break. Hopefully I have helped find some fun and interesting ways to help you and your children keep learning alive while still letting them feel like they’re getting a rest from school. This week we are looking at one of my favorite subjects…history!

For RAD children who traditionally have memory issues, the names, dates and places of history can be rough. And for children in general, the boring events of the past don’t always catch or keep their attention. So how do you find ways to make history interesting and engaging? Here are a couple of ways I did it with August when we homeschooled that seemed to have some success.

Visual Timeline
Materials needed: Long piece of string, paperclips, index cards, markers
Pick an event from history or a topic you want to study (World War II or when the states got added to the US). Have the kiddos write the events on index cards. Or draw pictures. Just make sure the dates are on there too.

Hang the string somewhere in the house if it’s raining or outside if it’s not. Depending on the length of time you’re covering, separate the string into segments. It may need to be every 10 years or every 50 years or every 100 years. Put those segment markers on index cards then secure them to the string with paper clips.

Then let your children put their cards on the string with paperclips at the approximate time when their event happened. When finished, you have a timeline of the total event. If you are doing something that happened more recently (World War II), you might also add events from your own family (birth of grandparents, when your house was built), to give them perspective on how things in their own life intertwine with history.

Musical History
August loves music. Not all kinds but he has enough of a universal affection that I was able to use music to get him to understand history some through music.

We would pick an event and study it by finding songs that were popular at the time. Songs with lyrics were particularly helpful during wars because often they spoke of the hardships of the troops, the loved ones left behind or what they were fighting for.

Other times the styles of music reflected the economic climates of the period, the personality of the ruling class, new inventions or technology and many other historical achievements. He could listen to music for much longer than he would listen to me drone on about a subject and the researching was  interesting to him. Now he was in middle school at the time. I’m not sure this would work at the younger ages. But it was fun!

Other Resources

  • Learning Liftoff has five great ideas here
  • Here is a huge list of history internet games if you just can’t get them off the computer!
  • And if you’re the crafty type (I am not) here are some ideas for history crafts to make!

As usual, I will move these links to my resources page so you won’t have to remember where you saw them!

Next week we will be starting to talk about getting ready for school to start. Can you believe it? School starts here the second week of August. And I know year round school has already started its new year in some places. But that’s next week. Don’t invite in the anxiety before you need to!

Until next time,

Shannon

 

Kids Get Bored on Sunny Days, Too.

So, it isn’t even July yet and you’ve done everything on the list you made that you thought would take you through the whole summer. All the crafts, all the workbooks, all the movies and all the visiting is over. And there’s still a month and more of summer left to go. What is the secret to keep RAD kiddos from using their own imaginations (which we know can spell disaster) to keep busy when boredom sets in? How do you bust summer boredom for RAD kiddos?

Short of having them re-grout the bathroom tile or get a job (which might be a bit harsh for your 10-year-old), once again it’s the Internet to the rescue. No, I don’t mean parking them in front of the computer for 10 hours a day. I don’t know how our mothers and grandmothers did it but there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are wheels and wheels of ideas out there to keep your children moving and engaged. Whether you want to connect as a family or you just need them out of your hair for a while! I scrubbed some lists for you to find ideas that are RAD appropriate. I also pick ones that don’t require that you sign up for someone else’s blog e-mail list. That’s in case you aren’t even signed up to mine (which you should fix by the way!)

The first one is just a huge list of activities. You’ll have to put on your creativity hat for how to make a jar/box/container to store them. The thing I love about it is that the writer is British so the directions would sound hilarious to your children. Like, “Scoot round the block,” and “30 minutes with Mum” are sure to get a reaction. You can find that list here.

This next one is a little overboard for my craftiness level on the containers but I like how they were divided by topic. And she has a different theme for every day of the week. And the popsicle sticks she uses are very low budget (you can get them at a craft store…I see eating until I got the quantity I needed…). Check out her ideas here.

I’m mentioning one last one but I promise if none of these work for you, there are so many more out there.  This one I like for two reasons: they suggest sourcing popsicle sticks by eating the popsicles (they get me!) and they make two jars, one for inside activities and one for outside activities. So, you’re covered, rain or shine! Check this one out here.

One of the ideas that came up on several of these that I love was writing a letter to a relative living far away. Since healing for our RAD kiddos is all about making connections and actual letter writing is such a lost art these days that one really sticks out for me. How much would it mean to a grandparent to get a letter from your child? And maybe building the thinnest of strings with that letter may be the start of a connection. Boredom might be a great healer, who knows?

Don’t worry about remembering this post; I’m going to move all these links to my Resources page for one-stop shopping. You all have enough to deal with!

Until next time,

Shannon

Rainy Day Crafts for Bored Kids

Look like your kiddos?

If you’re like me, the worst sound in the world is when you wake up on a summer morning and hear rain. The plan was to go to the pool all day, or the park or some other outdoor activity that would run the kids ragged. Now, about 30 seconds after their eyes open you’re going to hear the two most hated sentences, “We’re bored,” and, “Can we play video games?” And for kiddos with RAD, this unscheduled time can be so hard.

Breathe. You’ve got this. While structure and routine is important for children with RAD, a little rerouting of the day is not a recipe for disaster. You just need to have something to do that will feed their needs for action and tactile play. So today, I am giving you…instant puffy paint.

Of course this isn’t the only choice, you can google hundreds of rainy day craft ideas but when I saw this, it looked like something I might do by myself it looked so fun. And the other thing I liked is that it required things that you most likely already had at home. There’s nothing like deciding to do something crafty only to find that it needs some ingredient or item that no one keeps around the house. So by the time you head to the store you might as well just go to a movie and skip the hassle.

Clabber Girl is made right here in Terre Haute where I live!

But you’re the super-parent and this is going to be fun! I promise. Here’s the recipe:

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Dash of Salt (around a teaspoon)
  • Water
  • Baking Powder
  • Liquid watercolors or Food Coloring

The amount of flour and water depends on the number of children. I read many recipes and most say a cup of each per child. If you use all-purpose or self-rising flower that already contains baking powder you may be able to skip it if you don’t have it, though some say it makes the paint puffier. However, just a tablespoon is enough. You want to whisk it thoroughly to get all the lumps out and the consistency is of pancake batter. Thinner is fine, it just won’t be as puffy.

Put the colored mixes in ziploc bags and seal and let the children help with the mixing. Make sure those bags are zipped! If it were August, I would add duct tape. These also become your painting bags (think icing a cake). Snip off the small tip of one corner and let the painting begin! You can use regular paper, recycled cardboard, just nothing metallic, of course, as whatever you paint on will be going in the microwave.

Image courtesy of happinessishomemade.net (I’m not that creative!)

The finished creations should be microwaved for 30-45 seconds, depending on how much paint they contain. Watch closely because depending on what the paint is on it could start to burn. The paint will be extremely hot when it is finished so a grown up will have to take it out and it will need to cool.

Now this may not fill up an entire rainy day. You may still need that movie or those video games, but its a good way to connect the family and share some laughs. It practices fine motor skills which RAD kiddos many times have issues with. And it creates some good memories which come in handy when maybe things aren’t so good.

Have a great weekend! Until next time,

Shannon