I know you’ve heard about that nasty malady known as the summer slide. As our kids spend two months playing in the sun and gulping lemonade, those important tidbits they’ve learned all year can slip right out of their brains.
Alas, we must do our best to squeeze a little learning into the summer routine. I don’t know about you, but I’ve witnessed heavy sighs and eye rolls when I’ve reminded my kids that they need to keep their brains sharp over the summer. Truth be told, I’m ready for relaxation myself, and coercing my kids to do workbook pages is not part of my summer bucket list. So…to make it work for all of us, we keep the learning fun, fast and fresh.
As I mentioned here, we’ve come up with one major learning goal for each kiddo, plus we build a little reading, writing and math fact practice into the daily summer routine.
This year, we’ve also issued a challenge to learn about something new every day of the summer! This can be anything from learning a new skateboard trick to learning how to build an electrical circuit. Since kids are frequently told what they need to learn during the school year, we hope to use summer to get them thinking about what and how they want to learn on their own.
Here’s how we’re attempting to avoid the summer slide when we’re home. Big bonus: It only takes an hour and then everyone can get back to the summer laziness.
Make it Fun!
- Choice = Fun! Need to improve spelling skills this summer? Here are some suggestions. Which ideas will work for you? For writing, here’s a nice, clean journal. Fill a page a day with writing and doodles related to whatever interests you. Honestly, the control freak in me is tempted to tell them exactly what and how to practice. But I have way better luck giving the kids choices, and letting them devise their own practice plan, rather than choosing for them. It makes them more invested in their learning and it’s just more fun.
- Games = Fun! We almost always end up doing math practice with screens because #1 kids are obsessed with screens so it doesn’t feel like work, and #2 there are so many FUN computer games and apps that work those math muscles in great, creative ways. (Way better than the old flashcards.) Printable games or board games are also awesome, of course.
- Family Time = Fun! Since summer nights are usually filled with way-too-late summer fun, our nightly reading routine gets moved to the morning. We usually cuddle up and read together in our pj’s. It’s my favorite part of the day and it’s great bonding time before the day gets full.
Make it Fast!
Establish a common work time as a family. We agree on an hour in the morning and divide it up like this: 30 minutes-family reading time and 30 minutes working on something else. (Reviewing something that needs to be reviewed, or learning something new.) The family reading time is actually last in case we want to read longer. Since everyone knows the routine, the whole thing moves along quickly and we don’t have to waste precious summer minutes discussing the plan.
Make it Fresh!
Occasionally shake things up! Move the summer learning outside, or head to the local coffee shop or the library. Pick a theme, (like Alphabet Summer), issue a daily challenge, or surprise the kids with some off-the-wall experiments to remind them that summer learning is cool! This is really the only part if the plan that involves parent effort, but it’s really fun and it certainly doesn’t have to be fancy.
So, that’s our plan for Summer. What’s happening at your house?
This post was part of a collaborative three-part summer learning series hosted by Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.
Be sure to check out these other great ideas:
- 15 Ideas for Summer Learning at Home – Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
- Summer Reading: Graph 1000 Minutes – Busy Kids Happy Mom
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree Activity – Lalymom
And come back next week for Summer Learning on the Go!
Happy summer, everyone. Time for some lemonade!