Summer slide is a term that refers to students who do not work on their educational skills over summer vacation. This can be detrimental to the student’s ability to retain the information they learned during the previous school year. Furthermore, by ignoring schoolwork, students will also begin the coming school year at a disadvantage as they will as they must relearn the skills that they have gained. On average, American students lose 2 months of their education each summer. Below are five easy things that you can do with your child over so that they do not experience the summer slide.

Read with and to your child

Reading with and to your child is the easiest and more important thing you can do over the summer. First, this activity shows how important reading is to your family which can help enforce the skill. Another benefit is that a child’s reading ability can help them succeed in every school subject. While reading is like riding a bike in that once you know how to do it, you never forget. However, for your child to take full advantage of their educational skills, they need to become expert readers. To achieve this status, they cannot take a three-month break from the skill.

One of the easiest ways to get your child excited is to read them books that you like. To help with this process, start to incorporate audiobooks into your daily reading routine. Audiobooks offer an excellent source of entertainment as well as huge educational value. You can listen to audiobooks in the car, during meals, or while you clean the house. While audiobooks shouldn’t entirely replace reading traditional books, you can supplement a portion of your summer reading with audio. Finally, listening to audiobooks allows you to introduce your child to a much higher-level vocabulary then they could read by themselves. This introduction will help them to have an idea of what to expect when they read books by themselves.

Almost all libraries have some form of audiobooks, and many have digital copies. If your library doesn’t have audiobooks, there are several sources online that have inexpensive audiobooks that you can rent or buy.

In addition to listening to books, we recommend spending at least 15 minutes per day reading with your child. One way to help them along the way is by two copies of the book and have each of you read a chapter or two every day—this applies to older students who can read by themselves. Using this technique allows you to discuss the plot during meals or while in the car.

Plant a garden together

One way to keep up your child’s math skills is to plant a garden together. The first way that this activity helps them is by showing them a practical example of how this skill will benefit them. Secondly, you need to use math to figure out where to put plants, how much water to give them, and how long it takes for the fruit or vegetables to become ripe. Finally, a garden helps younger children learn about responsibilities which are key to their overall educational growth.

Take educational trips

Educational trips are a great way to have fun with your child while educating them at the same time. These trips do not have to be expensive—a lot of the time they can be entirely free—however, these trips can expand into weekend mini-vacations. A few examples of these trips include hiking, visiting historical memorials, and local small museums. While hiking trails and historical memorials are free to the public and accessible almost every day of the year, local museums can be hidden gems. These museums are rarely visited because they do not have a budget for marketing, however, they usually always have great exhibits, and are the entrance fees are extremely cheap. Find trips that cater to your child’s interests, but a few more inexpensive trips include zoos, aquariums, and lakes. Each of these trips can have great educational value and show your child that they can enjoy learning about the things they are interested in. One final tip is to pack food and extra supplies the night before—this can include shoes, towels, and extra clothing—the night before and map out the trip. This gives your trips the flexibility to do another activity that you find along the way.

Host science parties

This idea offers obvious educational benefits but is also nice so that your children can see their friends during the summer months. When my children were in elementary school, we would invite people over for a theme-day and I would have activities for everyone. The other parents would always contribute and help out with the activities when possible. Again, we created science parties based upon what our kids were most interested in at the time. For my children, this included dinosaurs, insects, pirates, Vikings, and Egyptians. While it was easy back then, Pinterest and other online resources would make this activity even easier and more enjoyable than ever. 

Do worksheets

Your children complete worksheets every week while in school, thus, I don’t want your children to do worksheets (except if they really want to and in this case, have them do as many as you can print or buy). What I mean by do worksheets is to have your children create worksheets for you to do. The amount and type of questions that you will have your child do changes with their age but the one constant should be that they create an answer key to correct you. When filling out your child’s worksheet, you should make at least 1 mistake. Children love finding and correcting their parent’s mistakes. This exercise isn’t just fun—if they create problems and find the answers (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.

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