As the calendar settles comfortably on June, the freedom of lazy summer days beckons. And who doesn’t anticipate with happiness glorious schedule-free weeks to laze and play? Many families typically break from the academic pressure and curriculum checklists of the school year during summer months. For some kids, however, summer means lack of practice where vital language and math skills are concerned. This is often known as the “summer slide”. Summer break can be valuable for maintaining these skills, “catching up,” or even getting a jump start on September. And some of these activities may even be fun! In order to stop what some call “learning loss” during summer, here are a few “smart ideas:”
1 It may sound cliché, but: Visit your library. Without the need to research, study and complete assigned work, your child may discover a whole new world of, well…..” an individual worlds!” Has it been awhile since your family has journeyed together to Narnia, Oz or Middle Earth? How about reacquainting everyone with the classics—for pure enjoyment? From Charlotte’s Web to Little House on the Prairie to Tuck Everlasting and Where the Red Fern Grows, works of literary genius abound. And remember that reading aloud is memorable family time, in addition to increasing your children’s vocabulary, comprehension and a wide range of literacy skills….for kids of all ages…not just the littles.
2 Keep a nature journal ~ This an individual or family nature album, based on how you see your kids’ usage and enjoyment. Also a factor is the age range in your family. When beautiful summer days call, this reading /writing/ art activity gets children outside and encourages them to explore the world around them, whether it’s in their own backyards, in the woods during hikes, or at parks or beaches. By observing living thing carefully, taking notes, and then drawing, labeling or even writing a story, children learn about the natural world around them and get to enjoy summer beauty firsthand. Any book that closely looks at a natural process or life cycle will work well as a reference guide.
3 Kids in the Kitchen! Delectable fruits, decadent desserts and savory barbeque recipes lend themselves to family kitchen experiences. ( aka: math and reading practical use! ) There are a wealth of recipes available online as well as within many kid friendly cookbooks. Kids of all ages can be involved in numerous math experiences such as ingredient measuring, elapsed time and recipe reading. For older kids, a family might elect to keep a notebook of recipes tested, along with meal planning and family budgeting. And don’t forget that there are many many food references within classic pieces of literature that kids can create too!
4 Learn a new skill or hobby ~ Math, reading and writing processes can be utilized while doing so. How about sewing or crocheting? If you are adept at a skill which you can pass along to your kids during a few of summer’s dog day afternoons while taking a play-break, great. Or you might find that an online tutorial is just the thing for both of you to embark on a new hobby such as knitting. The math involved in a handicraft as well as the reading/listening to instructions and learning of new vocabulary offer endless possibilities for learning.
With a little forethought, you can keep you child up-to-date on his or her skills and even “get ahead,” while still enjoying the season and the feeling of unrestricted, unscheduled summer vacation.
Author Bio: Chris Capolino
A bit about me? Wife, mom, writer, teacher, traveler, party giver, encourager. I’m a freelance writer who contributes to a variety of digital and print media. And I love blogging all things family, faith, travel, homeschool, crafts at my home on the web, Campfires, and Cleats. If you’d like to contact me, you can do that right here~ firstname.lastname@example.org.