It's May, and summer is so close we can almost taste it. When I ask my students about their summer plans, most respond with "sleep". I know what they really mean is "stay up late and sleep late". Some mention summer vacations or family coming to visit. I get so excited for my students to have a break from school. With more standardized testing and less recess than ever before in most schools, I know that by the time summer rolls around, my students really NEED a break. Even kids can burn out, and rest can often help restore the brain and soul. Summer break is the perfect escape from the increasing demands of school.
Though I get excited about summer break for all students, I also begin to get nervous about all the learning that they will lose during their two to three month sabbatical. Even though rest and relaxation is good for the brain and the heart, ceasing the learning process abruptly can lead to something those in the education community call "summer slip" or "summer learning loss". In the summer months, students can lose weeks or months of material that they have already learned due to lack of use. I see first hand how hard students work to learn during the school year, and it's sad to know that some students will lose parts of that hard earned learning during the break. Summer slip means that many kids will have to review material from their previous grade at the beginning of the new school year, wasting time they could have used learning new and interesting material.
Me thinking about summer slip:
The good news is, summer slip isn't inevitable! It's actually fairly easy to prevent, and the prevention plan doesn't have to involve worksheets and flashcards that your kids will fight tooth and nail to avoid. As you plan summer activities for your child, consider infusing some fun learning activities to help them keep their hard earned knowledge and skills while taking a much needed break from the rigor of school. Most learning activities don't take a lot of planning, and can be incorporated into activities that your family already does. Browse the list below for some ideas!
When doing these, or other activities this summer, find opportunities to ask your child questions, or point out interesting observations. For example, when watching TV, you can ask your child what the commercial is wanting them to buy, and what tactics the ad used to make them want to buy it. When making slime, or other science projects, you can point out the states of the matter you are using, or ask your child to make guesses as to what will happen next. When having fun, the possibilities for learning are endless!
Want to take your summer learning plan a step further? Check out this FREE summer bucket list that I've created just for you. You can have your child fill in the blanks at the beginning of the summer and then use the list as a resource when you run out of ideas or hear the dreaded "I'm bored" during the summer months.
What are your summer plans? I'd love to hear in the comments!