Summer Of Learning

Hot summer days



For most of the kids in our neighborhood, it’s the last week of this school year. That means class picnics, drawing with sidewalk chalk on the playground, and helping the teacher take down the classroom decorations. In a mere few days, the kids will move on to sleeping in, swimming, taking bike rides, and camping, among other things.

I have been pondering what sort of things to do with the grandkids on the days they are at our house this summer. Some of the obvious things came to mind, but I also had the thought: summer should be the time of year when you learn the practical skills of life. A few things like:

How the house address system works. I’ve already started with my four-year-old grandson, teaching him his home address. But I don’t think he grasps yet that every house and every building has an address, and that’s how we find things.

How to read a map, and figure out how to get from point A to point B.

How to make a phone call on a payphone if you need to. (Yes, this does seem obsolete, but the 9-year-old granddaughter should at least have the experience of using a payphone once!)

How to make a grocery list for what the family needs that week.

How to grocery shop with a set amount of money, and not going over that amount.

This are just the first few ideas I thought of last night as I was pondering the long summer. The last two are ideas that fit with my fervent belief that kids need to be taught as they are growing up how to budget their money, not wait until they are adults to start learning that skill.

Do you have other ideas for simple life skills that kids can learn this summer. If you do, please leave a comment (just click on “leave a comment” in the left margin of this post). I’d love to know your suggestions.


Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer – by John Grisham (2010)

Theodore Boone - Kid Lawyer

Theodore is the only child of a husband-wife lawyer team in the small town of Strattenburg. His father handles real estate deals, his mother divorce cases. He hangs out at his parents’ office after school, and is well-known at the local courthouse. Conversations at dinner often center around the law. At 13 years of age, Theo already has a better grasp of legal matters and defense strategies than most adults. His dream is to become a skilled lawyer like his parents.

Theo’s fascination with everything legal earns him the nickname “kid lawyer”. He answers classmates’ questions about the law. He also goes to the courthouse with his friend April to offer moral support. When the trial of accused killer Pete Duffy starts, the government class is allowed to see the opening arguments. Theo is immediately fascinated with the case, and gets personally involved.

Grisham’s first novel for pre-adults is a fun read. I enjoyed the unusual-ness of the Boone family. His close friendship with April, whose life is rather messed up, added to the story. Lastly, Theo’s crazy Uncle Ike was terrific. This story can be enjoyed by readers spanning middle-school, high school, and adult ages. A copy of this book can be found in the teen or young adult section of your local library.