Summer should be fun. Isn’t that the law?
But have you ever thought about using your summer to learn something… expand your mind, build new skills and gain experience.
The idea is you’ll enjoy doing it too.
Before you switch off (I feel like I can already hear you groaning), you could have a quick read of what I’ve got to say.
Summer holidays are long. Once you’ve caught up on sleep, hung out with your mates for a bit and got ready for Christmas, you might find yourself at a loose end. Yet there could still be weeks of holidays ahead of you, so if your parents have to work and your friends have jetted off on holiday then it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new.
Holidays are precious, use them wisely this summer
Basically, it comes down this:
- Why waste your time being bored? You could end up feeling miserable, grumpy, and more than likely driving your family nuts
- Find a way to keep busy (not necessarily as busy as school) and stimulated
- Gain valuable skills, knowledge and experience
If you don’t really enjoy maths don’t go off and sign up for 6 weeks intensive algebra tuition. Sure, it could really improve your results next year but this isn’t an exercise in punishment.
Think of a hobby, activity or field that you’re interested in, and that you can see yourself enjoying spending a bit more time on.
Then turn that hobby into something a bit more substantial. You’ll have fun and could be further rewarded with material to add to your CV that could benefit you in future.
The Academic Route
If you love to learn and studying isn’t a chore for you, then there are heaps of courses out there that you could do, or at least start, in the weeks that you have off – you might not even have to get out of your PJ’s.
- Check out TAFE at School they have programs specifically designed for students in Years 10-12 that fit in with school, and you’ll come away with a qualification. Studies range from early childhood and engineering, to hospitality or horticulture and lots of other stuff in between.
- Complete a free online course through Australian National University, the University of Newcastle, the University of Queensland, Curtin University and the University of Adelaide
- Coursera is another on-line option for courses
- OpenLearn courses from Open University offer access to 1000 courses across 8 subjects
Or, if you feel like getting out instead speak with local registered training providers, to see what short courses they have on offer.
Perhaps you’re really great at picking up languages or plan to travel later in life, either way being multi lingual is a fantastic skill to have in any industry, across the world.
There are lots of online language learning websites and apps, some of them are free or offer free trials so you can ‘try before you buy’. Here’s are a few to check out:
- Duolingo a fun and free website where you can learn lots of languages in game-based settings
- Babbel offer 15 minute lessons, you can even choose the topic to keep you interested
- OpenLearn have 8 language courses from introductory to advanced, badged or “lunchtime learning’, varying from 103 hours up to 24+ hours
- Open Culture features lessons in 48 languages, just download the audio lessons and get started.
- FluentU offer a free 14-day trial to give you a taster
- Rosetta Stone offers a free three day trial and a choice of 25 languages, if you like it you could sign up for a lifetime membership
- Busuu claims it could help you to learn a language in just 10 minutes a day
You can also search for any local language schools in your area, find out the courses on offer and how long they run for, as well as the costs. It could be a nicer way to learn if you prefer interaction and getting out there and meeting people, you’ll also get more practise and help to get it right.
Do you have a flair for business? Maybe you’ve done well at ventures you’ve tried in the past or are always coming up with great ideas for money making schemes. Perhaps you just dream of being your own boss.
Then maybe you should invest some time in learning more about the business world.
Looking for ideas? Here are a few to get you started:
Perhaps you like using adobe & are interested in design – you could start up a business now designing your own skateboard covers / t-shirts / bags – whatever area you’re interested in there are courses out there to help you develop your skills and help you with your business model.
For example Billy Blue College of Design have online diploma courses you could look at as well as a series of “Studio Session” short courses designed to help you upskill.
If you’re keen to learn the basics of accounting with a trending bit of software, then you can’t go past XERO. Have a look at the free trial and free workbook they offer online, and if you want to learn more then look into some more advanced course options.
TAFE offers some great courses that cover all the basics of Business. You could do a Certificate III or IV but these would have to be carried out in conjunction with your school work. Alternatively, you could look at some of their unaccredited courses that cover the essential elements of the business world, e.g. Starting and Managing a Small Business.
Technology and STEM
Both these areas are in huge demand, so there’s likely to be lots of courses and workshops and therefore opportunities for you to dive in.
Do some searching online to see if you can find anything near you, ask at the local library and you could even email all the local colleges to see if they’re running anything you could attend.
- digIT run workshops and residential camps for Year 9 & 10 students interested in ICT and STEM
- Science by Doing have online courses for year 7-10 students, you’ll be working on topics relevant to the school syllabus. Don’t let that put you off trying it though, the aim is that it’s a more light hearted and fun way to learn.
- Curious Minds run a program that includes residential camps for Year 8-10 girls passionate about STEM. You’ll have mentors to help and encourage you and make new friends the same age, with the same interests as you.
- Coder Academy run a variety of boot camps, short courses, after school and holiday programs for kids and teens. Are you interested in Game Design, 3D printing, virtual reality, robotics, electronics, or coding? If ‘YES’ check them out.
Not into studying? Here’s some alternatives that could work for you
Not everyone enjoys studying and that’s ok, there’s still lots of options for you to consider that’ll keep you out of trouble this summer.
If your parents are on board & they can afford the fees, then how about looking into Summer Camp? (PS. You can always look at the options for funding available if you’re really keen to go but money’s a bit tight at home).
You’ll get the chance to have a mini holiday, meet new people, try new things and have lots and lots of fun. There are tonnes of companies out there, here’s a few to look at just to get you started.
- Through CCUSA you get to attend camp in the USA
- Camp Creative here in Australia is a family friendly week-long course of activities and events
- Cave Hill Creek offers the American style summer camp experience here in Australia
- Camp Australia host the Rocketeers experience
- Australian Camps Association list a variety of holiday programs
- Camp Blue offers a US style holiday experience but you’ll get to go home every night
- Green Super Camp Australia offer an adventure program aimed at teens and young people who are looking to improve their academic and life skills and have a lot of fun along the way
Get your craft on
When you think of crafts maybe you envision collages, mosaics, scrap booking and knitting. You’d be right, but those are only a few and there are workshops and courses galore that’ll help you learn new crafts or become an expert in ones you’re already familiar with.
Here’s a few craft areas that you could explore
- Ceramics and glass – pottery, glassblowing
- Fibre and textiles – quilting, macramé, rope making, shoe making
- Flowers – design and ikebana
- Mixed media – beadwork, batik, basketry
- Needlework – crochet, applique
- Paper – calligraphy, decoupage, origami
- Wood and furniture – carving, carpentry, woodturning, upholstery
- Metal – metalworking, watchmaking, farrier
Can’t find what you’re looking for nearby, at a price that suits your wallet, or doesn’t suit the time you’d like to commit?
Don’t give up, check to see what books your local library have on offer, ask community groups, colleges, museums, art galleries and local businesses if they know of anything happening.
Of course, you could have a look online to see what information you can find that’ll allow you to have a go yourself.
For example, if you’d like to take up pottery, you could get in touch with local art schools and look for pottery classes or workshops online. If nothing comes up nearby then you could borrow some books from the library, order your clay online & find a few tutorials on YouTube.
Hands on projects and courses
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to do something hands on but none of the crafts are appealing to you, then think about the things that you like to do and again look for courses or workshops you can do near-by or online.
If there’s nothing suitable then get down to the library for books, go online and watch tutorials or ask around your teachers, parents, community centres for anyone willing to give you some direction.
Still stuck for ideas for some fun things you might enjoy? See if any of these tempt you:
- Animal care
- Hairdressing and makeup
Then you’ll have a focus to start looking at what’s on offer for you this summer.
Tonnes of options for the sporting fanatics
If you’ve got great co-ordination and are good at all the sports you’ve tried so far, then challenge yourself to learn something new this summer, or choose one of your favourites and take it to a whole new level.
- Learn to dive and get your PADI certificate
- Surf Camp and other providers could have you surfing before the summers out
- Book yourself into a sports camp – soccer, tennis, swimming, netball, basketball, or cricket
- Take your skateboard to the local park and practise, practise, practise – or get a few lessons to get you started
- Sign yourself up for Surf Lifesaving – make friends, help out in the community and learn new skills and spend tonnes of time down at the beach, does it get any better?
- If you love bike rides then challenge yourself to learn some new tricks or speak to your parents about doing some mountain biking
Make the most of the summer and have fun
Hopefully you’ll take some inspiration from some of the ideas we’ve given you in this blog.
Even if you only do a little bit of something this summer, odds are you’ll have a much more fulfilling and satisfying holiday than sitting at home watching Netflix.
When you start back to school next year you’ll have added to your knowledge and skill set and you might just have found something you’re really passionate about that you’d like to pursue as a career.