Guest Post By: Tricia Ross
School is almost over, but that doesn’t mean the learning can stop.
Summer vacation is quickly approaching and shutting off those alarm clocks comes with the temptation to put education on hold to just have fun. According to the Department of Education, “on average students lose the equivalent of two months of math and reading skills during the summer months.” So why not incorporate some learning into those summer plans?
Preventing the Summer Slide: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Learning This Summer
Here are 5 quick tips to keep your kid’s mind sharp, all while enjoying a break from the hustle of the school year:
1. Plan: Come up with a game plan of how to make summer learning fun. What can you do so the kids don’t even realize they are learning? Include them in the planning like where do they want to go this summer? What are some things that are close to you or events that happen in your area? What websites & apps do their teachers recommend? Is there a summer camp that they would enjoy? Start with week one of summer and go from there. Don’t over schedule put plan for what you would like to do each week, things will have to move around as events pop up so be prepared to adjust.
2. Explore: Get out and about. Visit local museums, beaches, festivals, trails, galleries and state parks. Check out websites to see what is listed as the number one thing to do in the area and go for it. Just getting outside and visiting a new park can be an adventure. Military families are given free access to museums and national parks, have your kids do research ahead of time to teach the family about what they will be seeing.
3. Math Moments: Everywhere you go there is an opportunity to use math.
- At home: in the kitchen cooking.
- In the grocery store: price matching & comparison, weighing produce and guessing the total bill.
- On the road: Come up with some clever games; not just how many red cars do you see?
- Take a cue from your child’s teacher: what free websites do they use in school for math or are suggested to improve skills at home?
4. Create: Use your imagination. Think back to what you use to do for summer fun. Keep it simple, nothing elaborate; try to encourage your child to use their imagination. Build a fort on a rainy day. Paint on a blank canvas. How are your chalk skills, the driveway makes a great canvas. Not sure what to create or where to begin? Check out Pinterest or Family Fun Magazine for some great ways to get your creative mind working.
5. Read: Take the time to enjoy your local library and their summer reading programs. Installation and town libraries often have kick-off events in June with competitions to encourage students to keep reading. Plus, there are weekly events with character readings or guest readers and other activities. Check out a book from the library based on where you are taking your summer vacation. Is there a classic that you want to share with your kids? Read a portion out loud each night as a family. Reading logs are a great way to track your child’s reading habits; create your own or use the scholastic website. Set a weekly goal of how many minutes a week your child should read. If they have a summer reading assignment making it fun and work on it all summer not just in the weeks leading up to back to school.
Summer is a time to have fun and learning can be fun! By doing it as a family, you will get a better understanding of your child’s educational strengths and weaknesses and set them up for success in the next school year.