Author Topic: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens  (Read 1204 times)

PathtoFIRE

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I’m interested in those little known workbooks, puzzles, websites, “games” that you and your kids were really impressed with, and that are maybe little known or really niche. We have something of a routine, in the summer and on weekend days, with the kids doing some daily math (Beast Academy for younger, Art of Problem Solving for the oldest), piano practice, and then a few other things before they are turned loose.

One of my goals this summer is to improve everyone’s penmanship for practical reasons, but had real trouble finding detailed or specific recommendations; got some cheap workbooks and we’ll see how that goes. But came across some mechanical puzzles, got one of those, and began to wonder if there were other unusual, quirky, educational materials out there that you wouldn’t think to ask about.

shelivesthedream

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2021, 03:25:12 AM »
For penmanship, why not try a pen pal? Doesn't have to be someone in a far flung country - they would write letters back and forth to you, and it could be a lovely bonding experience of "talking" about stuff you wouldn't both talk about. All for the cost of some lined or handwriting paper! (You can even print out handwriting guideline paper for free from the internet.)

Cranky

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2021, 05:30:58 AM »
What about actually doing calligraphy? That is more fun than the regular workbook stuff.

Otherwise, start a copy book and have them copy a paragraph of something that interests them, and illustrate it. Or a nature field book, with daily entries.

I think summer is a good time for a more long term project that requires multiple skills - make a movie, build something, sew something…

shelivesthedream

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2021, 08:38:56 AM »
A nature field book would be a great idea as they could draw in it too - excellent for those writing-adjacent pencil control skills.

ditheca

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2021, 10:23:51 AM »
My son (age 13) is about to start high school. Apparently, everyone hates the biology teacher.

This summer he is studying 2-3 hours a day for the biology CLEP test. Passing it will prove he knows biology at the college undergraduate level and will give him his first 4 credits towards a bachelors degree. I'm happy to advocate for him skipping high school biology with that kind of dedication!

He's using Crashcourse, the CLEP test study guide, and "the internet" as his primary resources.

https://clep.collegeboard.org/

SuperSecretName

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2021, 12:43:04 PM »
You want a teenager to voluntarily focus on penmanship? Like that's what you think they want to be spending their free time doing?


shelivesthedream

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2021, 01:36:17 PM »
You want a teenager to voluntarily focus on penmanship? Like that's what you think they want to be spending their free time doing?

Are the OP's children teenagers? Where did you get that from? And I think the OP is looking for something like "complete these things today or no WiFi password for you!" not necessarily an enthusiasm for advanced cursive.

That said, my brother (now adult) has the most atrocious handwriting. Like the death throes of a spider on roller skates. He was made to take his handwritten undergraduate exam papers and type them out (supervised!) because no one could read them. He was always very touchy about suggestions that it might hold him back to have illegible writing and thought that only idiots would care. Um... I wouldn't say it's held him back exactly, but if only idiots care then he's met an awful lot of idiots. Turns out there's a surprising amount of handwriting required in the "digital age" and it's really annoying to have to re-write or spell out everything because no one can read your writing. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he had undiagnosed something-or-other, but I still think he could have made an actual effort to improve rather than just blowing it off for years and being nagged to death about it by everyone he ever has to handwrite anything for.

startingsmall

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2021, 06:18:49 PM »
A nature field book would be a great idea as they could draw in it too - excellent for those writing-adjacent pencil control skills.

My 3rd grade daughter & I did nature journaling as part of her homeschooling this year... we both really enjoyed it! Definitely helped both her art and handwriting skills.

This book is an excellent resource: https://johnmuirlaws.com/product/how-to-teach-nature-journaling/

jac941

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2021, 09:17:39 PM »
For my kids separating penmanship practice from writing is usually more successful. They get overwhelmed with both tasks if they have to write something with coherent content AND do it neatly. The things that have been more successful with them are the Handwriting Without Tears workbooks and rewriting things they have already written neatly. I’m not huge on penmanship, but I think things need to be legible to others.

For other enrichment, I really like the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival Activities: https://www.jrmf.org/activities



gatortator

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2021, 10:28:18 AM »
specific to penmanship:
be stealth and switch to "art".  Both zentangles and mandala creation are awesome art options for fine motor skill practice, pattern recognition, symmetry vs asymmetry and general summer boredom busting.  Because they seem "fun" they are not viewed as "educational" but they still very much help with the skills needed for improved handwriting.

I've also heard that the drafting or architect writing style, which uses mainly downward strokes, can also be useful for improving penmanship.  It's a slower way to write but looks very clean.

specific to creative writing:
gratitude journals and writing out "weather reports" ( how are you feeling today and why)  This is more mindfulness practice/ social emotional learning and I am doing this with my upper elementary kids this summer.
For more specific prompts , I have found that the website teaacherspayteachers.com has lots of bundles/packets.  some options are free, some cost money.

specific to critical thinking:
I like the free weekly puzzle emails from https://www.criticalthinking.com/.  This was one of the at home learning options sent out by my school district in April2020. Different styles of puzzles are sent out each week-- some logic, some math focused, some critical reading focused.  I use these as options to pick from in the summer "i'm bored" jar. 

edit to add:
for math, my kids LOVE prodigy game 's website.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 01:56:43 PM by gatortator »

AMandM

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2021, 12:59:48 PM »
So penmanship is kind of a thing in my family. My mother wrote a beautiful Italic hand. Over the Christmas vacation of grade six, she had me work through Fred Eager's Italic Handwriting for Young People, and that's how I've written ever since. It is an unusual hand in North America, but common in the UK. The Eager book is available used last I checked, but now there's also a series of workbooks designed for teaching children in schools, called Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting. It is easier to learn than the standard cursive taught in US schools, it's much nicer-looking than either ball-and-stick print or standard cursive, and it maintains its legibility and attractiveness better when done less-than-perfectly.

But one of my kids found it difficult and eventually switched to Handwriting Without Tears, which was very effective though I personally am not a fan of how it looks.

startingsmall

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Re: ISO impressive summer/weekend learning materials for kids/teens
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2021, 02:01:24 PM »

But one of my kids found it difficult and eventually switched to Handwriting Without Tears, which was very effective though I personally am not a fan of how it looks.

I used Handwriting Without Tears to teach my daughter cursive this year (COVID homeschoolers) and it worked well. My husband doesn't really like the way it looks, but it's pretty similar to the version of cursive that I adopted once our teachers backed off on forcing us to make all of the letters in the old-fashioned textbook cursive style!