School Is Out For Summer...but Education Doesn't Take a Vacation

School may be officially over for the students of Jefferson County (Louisville, KY) but as parents know: Education Doesn't Take a Vacation. For many children there may have been only a slight break from organized educational experiences as summer camps in our city are in full swing. But for some children, including my own, those incredible and amazing summer experiences at camp just aren't a fiscal reality. Sure, the flesh is willing...but the bank account is weak.

Thankfully there are wonderful FREE ways (or at least dirt cheap) ways to engage young minds for the duration so that they don't lose all those little bits of important information that they need to keep hold of for next fall. One of our favorite things to do every summer is the Free (gotta love that word) Public Library Summer Reading Program. I'm sure that every city has something similar (they get all the themed materials from Highsmith): Read 10 (TEN) books, earn a backpack and some coupons, be entered for weekly (as well as a final grand) prize. Older siblings can read to younger and it counts for both. My children picked up their folder and read those TEN books in (what seemed like) ten minutes. My oldest is still working on his, but that is because the middle school requirements are a little more stringent. As many of us know, libraries are amazing places: story times, performances, visiting authors. There is pretty much something happening for kids/teens at some local library some place in this city on any given day. In addition to the library reading program, Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books also have programs (earn a book, earn a gift card): one warning: harder to go to a bookstore than the library, why? Because at the bookstore you always buy books, and the library you get to check them out...for FREE!

Certainly there are lots of other things happening in Louisville: Shakepeare in Central Park (Two Gentlemen of Verona one of my personal favorites!), movie theaters that will have free or dollar movies in the early am (and sure, you've seen them at home but how great it is to see it on the big screen?), museums always have something going on (and we have several to choose from) as well as several free concerts.

See, education doesn't take a vacation and it doesn't have to come with a fancy title to entice you to sign your kid up for it. Just takes a bit of imagination, time, and the inclination to get engaged. In our family each day is an adventure...today was Opera Day (singing instead of talking) and learning a bit about music, opera, drama, communication...it was great fun, but shhhhhh, don't tell the kids it was educational too.

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