You could homeschool, which allows you to maximize your child’s choices and incorporate everything important to his or her learning into your lives. You could seek out a free school or a more interest-led program with customized options, such as a home studies by mail program. There are many you can choose from across the country, and they often allow you to customize according to interest.
You can also simply supplement school by following your child’s interests. Have a child interested in animals? Do an apprenticeship with a vet. Schedule a zookeeper helper visit—or even a volunteer opportunity. Visit animal shelters and sanctuaries. How about a little girl or guy who wants to be a firefighter? Help him or her interview a few in your own community. Stop by the fire stations and visit them (or schedule visits). Find out what it takes to become a volunteer, or to be a career firefighter.
From books to websites and games, real life experiences (gardening, apprenticeships, hands-on programs, whatever) to speakers and field trips, your community is a limitless source of learning and discovering your child’s passions. Above all, show your child how to find out this information for him or herself.
It might be time for you to really get to know your child—and since it’s summer, it’s a great time to do that! Many parents, having spend eight hours or more each day away from their children, may know what a favorite food, toy, and subject are, but do they know if their children are visual or auditory learners? Do they know if their child would choose a craft over an instrument—or what their child would do when presented with a problem (say, build a bridge out of noodles)? These are crucial components to learning, yet many people—from parents to teachers—don’t know these answers (or to even ask the questions). There is simply too little time and too many children, respectively.
But if we take the small bit of time to really get to know children and help them discover their own passions and interests and show them how to explore them, we are giving them the best education they could ever receive.