Melissa Pinkley and her ten-year-old volunteer in 1803 costume at Lewis and Clark's Winter Campsite. "This is wonderful for learning about history (well enough to share with visitors) and it's also a great way to learn to communicate with others in a way that they'll learn, too."


Summer and physical activity go hand-in-hand, and with just a little effort you can add some fun variety and a touch of learning. Tamara Willey suggests activities such as rock-climbing, hiking, canoeing or kayaking, and walking. Come up with a plan that an individual can keep without relying on teams, etc. She also suggests coming up with a schedule for your activity so you can make a life habit of it--and soak up some of God's natural world, too!

Melanie Hexter and her daughter added an educational twist and a bit of friendly competition to their exercise routine. "We used a pedometer to mark out the perimeter of our yard, and then calculated how many laps it would take to walk a marathon (26.2 miles). We each determined to walk a 'marathon' and kept a running tally in our kitchen. She beat me to a complete marathon, of course--almost twice as fast!"


"Our boys kept busy with 4-H projects through the summer," writes Marcia Washburn. "No longer just for farm kids, 4-H offers multiple projects such as rocketry, photography, electrical, various crafts, cooking, talent shows, etc. Our sons gained poise in speaking before the group while giving their demonstrations. Some of our local homeschooling families desired to form an HS-only club in order to be more selective about who their children spent time with, so they set the monthly meetings for a weekday morning when other children were in school."

Tim Palla shares: "From the time I was a young teenager, my family and I would compete in various activities at our local County Fair. My brother and I entered animals and artwork and my mother entered sewing projects, homegrown vegetables and canned fruits/jellies. It was always fun to see who would get the first blue ribbon or make the most money on premiums.

"Years later, the tradition was renewed with my own family. My boys have shown horses, pencil sketches, chickens, and lambs. I also have competed in equestrian sports with them. We have harvested vegetables and flowers from our garden and entered our 'best of the best.'

"With each entry we had to learn the Fair rules and guidelines. We talked to other competitors to obtain tips on how to 'show' the various entries. Each category was judged differently, so it was crucial to understand what a judge would look for and how to present ourselves, our animals, etc., in a way that would catch the judge's eye.

"Our County Fair is one of the largest in the state, so competition is usually tough. It was always fun to learn--even if it didn't result in a blue ribbon or cash premium. One of the things I enjoy the most is putting together our 'Fair Scrapbook' at the end of the season. All the photos, newspaper clippings, decorations and stories of our victories have given us some wonderful learning experiences as well as delightful (and sometimes humorous) memories."


Volunteering can be an excellent way to serve others and learn some skills at the same time. Tamara Willey offers the following suggestions: "Volunteer at the local soup kitchen, the local library for children's programs or shelving books, a local Christian radio station, maintenance at your church, or at your local wildlife refuge clearing trails and digging out invasives." Doubtless there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities as well, so find one that suits your family, and jump in!