I have heard many times that children lose a lot during the summer, but was really surprised when—a couple years ago—a teacher commented at the beginning of the school year on how my daughter had actually moved ahead a couple reading levels (while most of the kids had moved back a level or two). I hadn’t spent a lot of time working with my kids, but I did have things they worked on throughout the summer.
According to Oxford Learning the first six weeks of school in the Fall is spent re-learning what they forgot over the summer and only 2-3 hours a week could prevent that.
Here are 5 areas we focus on to help my kids avoid losing what they worked so hard to learn.
1)Reading – My kids are required to read every day for at least 20 minutes. This really hasn’t been an issue because they love to read, but I do require it is done before they turn on any electronics. Multiple trips to the library throughout the Summer keep new books on hand. Also check out what reading programs your library is doing. They usually have an awesome line up for the Summer.
2)Math/Numbers – Just 10-15 minutes a day/ 5 times a week– This has varied by the age. I have loved the math wraps for those working on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It has made a huge difference. There is a bunch of science behind why the wraps work, but I won’t bore you with the details. Just know they have worked well with my three oldest and I plan on using them with my other two kids. I would time them and whenever they beat their best time I would give them a special prize. Cooking can also be a great way for kids to learn and use math as they measure the ingredients or double a recipe. For the little ones we count our food (and eat it!), we count when brushing teeth or hair, count the cars while driving, etc. For the older kids I have let them pick what they would like to do. Some wanted a workbook and set a timer for 10 minutes a day and others have liked doing math games on the computer (Prodigy, Sum Dog). I like to give them choices whenever possible. It’s supposed to be fun!
3)Music – My 3 oldest each play the piano as well as an instrument of their choice. We do our best to make sure that they play 30-40 minutes between the two—5 days a week. My youngest two love to turn on music and dance and we often all join in.
4)Physical activity – Physical activity has been proven to improve academics and is good for the body, so we take the time to enjoy some physical activity. This can be going to the park, swimming, participating in a summer sport, turning on some music and dancing, etc. Have fun with it!
5)Technology- Find what your kids love! My kids do a variety of things. They record and edit videos, created a Youtube channel, programmed their own games on programs like Scratch, coding on Codechanger, learned how to animate on Pixar in a Box, play games like Minecraft, and program their BB-8 droid or door alarm.
This is not the time to feel guilty! Have fun with this and just do the best you can. We are not perfect at doing these things every day, and sometimes we do more of one area then another.
It is summer break and I want my kids to enjoy it. To be kids! I do my best to make learning fun and if it just isn’t happening some days we let it go. If we are traveling or on vacation we don’t think about it all, but to my surprise we still hit a lot of these areas just by the games we play while traveling, the activities we run around doing, and the books the kids read while we drive or before bed at night.
Just know that getting a few hours in each week will help your child to keep more of the info they learned this year and be ahead when they return to school in the Fall.