Summer slide occurs to students every year who don’t do anything over the summer to help retain the information they learned during the school year. On average, an American student loses 2 months of their education EACH AND EVERY SUMMER, putting them far behind students who review and even spend their summers learning new concepts and improving on what they already know. If you want your child to not struggle next year, here are five easy things to do over the summer.
Read with and to your child
By reading with your child as well as to them, it shows how important reading is to your family. More important, your children need to see YOU read books that you like. Not books that you THINK are important but books you ENJOY. One way to share enjoyable books with your child is to listen to audio books. I really find audio books an excellent source of entertainment as well as a huge educational value. When my teen-age sons were younger, we listened all the time – in the car, during meals, while we were cleaning the house, etc. We didn’t replace traditional books but rather supplemented with audio. It also allowed us to listen to books which were much higher than their reading level and we could talk about the higher level vocabulary as well as what was happening with the plot. Almost all libraries have some form of audio books, and many have digital copies. If your library doesn’t, there are several sources online that have inexpensive audio books or subscription rates, like Amazon.
In addition to listening to books, spend at least 15 minutes a day reading together. If you have older children, get 2 copies of the book (or share it) and read it separate, but talk about the plot during meals or while in the car.
Plant a garden together
Gardening is a fantastic activity to do with your children as a family. First, you have to use math to determine what and where and when to plant. Second, you have the science lessons with planting. Then you have the responsibilities they learn by having to take care of a garden. Finally, but not least, you have wonderful food that you grew yourselves!
Take educational trips
Take some educational day trips. These don’t have to be expensive, but if you wanted to the sky is the limit here. Some things that are inexpensive and probably close to your home include hiking and local, small museums. There are tons of small museums that are rarely visited because they don’t have a budget for marketing, but the upside is that they can be gems! I know of a small museum my sons loved to visit near Harrisburg, Pa – and it was just a watch museum! They still talk to this day about the times we went there. Other trips include zoos, aquariums, lakes – seek out places you can go. I used to take 1 day a week and we would pick an area up to 3 hours away from our house and each person would pick 1 thing we would pass that they wanted to do. It was such an enjoyable day. I would pack food the night before, and we would map out the trip – but have lots of supplies (like extra shoes, magnifying glasses, towels, etc) in case we found something else super cool to do that we weren’t expecting.
Host science parties
This tip was fun when my oldest were in early elementary school. We would invite people over for a theme-day and I would have activities for everyone. Some parents even helped with an activity. We picked themes that the kids loved – dinosaurs, insects, pirates, Vikings, Egyptians. It was easy back then, but I would imagine with Pinterest it would be fantastically fun!
This tip is probably the one you were thinking that I would tell you to do! However, I don’t want your children to do worksheets (except if they REALLY WANT to – then do as many as you can print or buy!). Instead, I want your children to CREATE worksheets for YOU TO DO!! Yes, you read that correctly – your children should make worksheets for you to do, along with an answer key to correct you. You should make at least 1 mistake. Children love, love, love finding your mistakes. That’s really fun for them. However, it just isn’t fun – if they can create problems AND find the answer (by creating the answer key) they are really owning the information and making it theirs instead of just regurgitating it for a test.
Use these 5 tips and your child will ROCK the next school year.