Summer Break- How to Keep the Learning Going
Summer is coming up fast! If you are anything like me, you are getting pumped up for all the fun festivals, swimming, beach time and vacations. Summer is hands down my favorite time of year (sorry winter lovers!) summer is simply the BEST.
Of course summer also means that the kiddos will be out for summer break. Hurray! Students work their brains very hard during the school year, and they deserve some time off during the summer to rest and have fun. This being said, too much rest during summer break can result in a rude awakening once school fires back up in the fall.
Here's something we don't discuss too often when talking about summer break- kids can lose some of the knowledge that they gained during the last school year while they are resting over summer. This loss has many names but is often referred to as "brain drain","summer slip", or "summer slide" and has been researched for many years. I won't bore you with the research..but basically during the summer it is "use it or lose it" when it comes to what your child has learned. Some studies say that students can lose up to three months of learning during summer.
You may be saying "I don't want all the hard work my child put in during the school year to just slip away during the vacation! They worked hard to learn and I worked hard to support them.". Don't worry, the slip can be prevented! Your child could even go in to next school year knowing more than they did at the beginning of the summer- and no, you won't have to force worksheets on them! It's all about maintaining what your child has learned so far while also learning something new. So have no fear! Together we can prevent "summer slip"!!
This is me and you guys fighting that pesky "summer slip".
Below are five things you can do to help your child keep learning over the summer and prevent that pesky summer slip plus a bonus.
Read, Read, Read!
One of the best things that you can do with your child over the summer is read. Make sure to set aside time to read with your child every day even if it's just at bedtime. Make sure your child spends time reading on their own as well. Seize opportunities like long car rides or long lines at the bank to encourage your child to pass the time by reading. For older kiddos, pick out a book to read at the same time and have discussions (kind of like a family book club). Look in to joining the summer reading program at your local library- this can encourage your child to explore new books as well as challenge themselves to read more.
Explore Something New
If your child shows interest in something that isn't emphasized in school, the summer is a perfect time to nurture their interests. Help your child learn something new (baking, art, music, crafts, carpentry, gardening, ect.). Learning new things keeps the brain making new connections which is always good for preventing "summer slip". You also might be surprised how often your child will have to use their reading, writing, and math skills when exploring something new. It's always a good idea to check out a few books from the library that discuss the skill you are trying to learn!
You can never go wrong with games! Break out the board games for a weekly family game night or to help your kids pass the time. Board games help with math, logic and money skills which are great things to practice. You don't have to limit it to board games either! Have kiddos keep the score when playing outdoor sports or when bowling. There are also so many great DIY games on the internet that focus on math and reading skills. I always suggest checking out Teachers Pay Teachers for awesome printable games.
Visit Local Museums
Summer is a great time to get out of the heat and in to air conditioned museums. In my opinion, it is impossible to walk in to a museum and come out without learning at least one new thing. This is one of the many reason a I love museums and recommend them to all my students during summer to prevent that slip! Research the museums in your area and choose a few that look awesome to put on your summer bucket list. I have my eye on a few for the summer here in the Pensacola area!
Okay, so this is one of the least fun suggestions but you can make it fun if you want to- I promise! Sometimes it is a good idea to practice the concepts that were super tricky for your child during the last school year. Chances are that the concepts of last year will be built upon when school starts back up in the fall. Consider breaking out a few practice problems every now and then that focus on what your child really worked hard to learn (we don't want them to have to struggle through it again next year!). You can make the practice fun by making it a game, writing it in chalk, writing it on your windows or working it out by the pool between laps. If math facts are something your child always seems to forget, call out a few when riding in the car or play a flash card game to keep those facts sharp.
Bonus: Summer Tutoring Program
If your child had trouble keeping up at the beginning of last school year, tends to get anxious in a new grade, or has gaps that still need to be filled-a tutor during the summer can give them the help and head-start they need. Working with a tutor can help your child practice and retain skills from last year and give them a sneak peek at what will be taught in the year to come. This can help boost confidence going in to the next grade and greatly decrease anxiety! There are lots of summer tutoring programs offered out there, but most won't focus on your child's individual needs and instead will be pre-packaged and pre-planned for the masses. I always plan each of my sessions with your child and their individual needs in mind. I would love to partner with you to help prevent summer slip!
I hope this post helped you prepare to fight the slip this summer and set your child up for a happy and successful school year in the fall. If you have any questions or are interested in summer tutoring you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the "contact me" tab and filling out the contact box.
What are your plans for learning and playing this summer? Let me know in the comments below.