10 Ways To Keep Learning Outside This Summer

loungingStudents, teachers, parents–it’s been a very long year. I was participating in some Twitter chats, and the question was “What are you going to do this summer?” “Curriculum,” said some, “Read the following eighty education books,” said others, and on and on, until a very wise educator said, “Take a break. Recharge your batteries!” So be sure to take this opportunity to pursue some learning outside this summer.

We’ve been working hard all year. We want do our due diligence this summer to get ready for next year, but we can’t neglect recharging those batteries. Author Dave Burgess emphasizes this in his runaway hit Teach Like a Pirate. He makes time to do things totally unrelated to teaching. These things influence his teaching and learning by refreshing him, but they also provide new connections and paradigms for classroom material as well. This week’s Learnist feature is dedicated to studying something fun–just because.

True–many of these skills can be related to academics or school, but just for once, let that brain enjoy itself and learn for the sake of learning. As teachers and parents, we strive to create life-long learning in our students. As students, we’re often told what to learn. Pick something–maybe something you’ve always meant to do, and learn about it. Then have fun with it. At least for the summer–and who knows, maybe for a lifetime.

Cooking Techniques

If you don’t cook, it’s time to start. This board will help you study techniques you may not use every day. Taken from Denise Romeo’s food blog, this board is highly instructional and looks tasty. Any time you have the opportunity to take your cooking to the next level, you should. Learnist has many cooking resources, including some of the best food bloggers around representing different diet philosophies and cooking styles. Explore. Let food be fun, not just functional.

Mortise and Tenon Joinery

Woodworking is an excellent hobby and artisan craft–you can see the results of your progress and there’s always something to learn. You can take it in so many directions–it’s addictive.

Gardening 101

I love gardening. I had fantasies of getting off the grid, and soon got hooked. Once resigned to an activity for farmers and elderly, gardening is now chic. Urban gardening, vegetable gardening, guerrilla gardening–these aren’t for the weak of heart. Gardens are popping up in the most unlikely of spaces, and are becoming part of mainstream culture. Join the movement.

Why Keep Bees?

This is is a great new hobby for the sustainably-minded. Bees are critical to life as we know it, and beekeeping can be done in urban, suburban, or rural settings. If you’re looking for a new activity that has some connection to the environment and will make a great picnic story, learn about bees here. Even if you don’t brave your first hive, you’ll appreciate the art, and hunt down some local honey at your farmer’s market for sure.

Guide to Road Biking

Cycling is a fantastic sport–part fitness, part adventure tour, you can discover the nation and get yourself in shape. This guide is for the road cyclist, but there are other guides on Learnist for learning about the best mountain bikes, as well as specific regional tours and events you might want to consider.


Yoga can be gentle and invigorating. It’s a wonderful way to listen to your body, and pay attention to the nuances of life. This board shows beginner poses in yoga. I started yoga this year myself, attending a retreat by friend and author Claudia Altucher, whose book “21 Things to Know before Starting an Ashtanga Practice” helped me realize how good it would be to slow me down–a skill many teachers need. More and more yoga is being put on Learnist, which is exciting. Try some of the boards, including Dashama Gordon’s Udemy course, as you integrate yoga into your summer routine.

Learning Languages Better

Part hobby, part skill, learning languages can help you navigate your backyard or travel the world. There are so many resources out there to choose and learn languages. Starting a new language is an excellent summer project you can take into next year. Eventually, you should reward yourself with a vacation, if just “to practice.”

Transform Your Home for Summer

Maybe you’d like to stick around the house and get something accomplished? Why not learn about home makeovers, and get some budget-friendly lift into your design?


These are artisan crafts–the type you may have wondered about or been interested in trying. This learnboard breaks down the arts of silk screening and lettering, both very interesting to try and not so easy to master. Try them out this summer.


Japanese calligraphy is not just an art, it’s a meditation as well. It’s particularly helpful for centering oneself. If you’re looking for an activity that will teach you about philosophy, a traditional art form, language, and maybe even give you a bit of zen, this is the activity to learn about.