Just like Alice Cooper said in his very popular song, school’s out for summer! The never-ending tag game between parents and teachers leaves the parents “it” for the next two and a half months. While educators are receiving a much needed rest from dealing with students during this time, parents are left wondering how to keep their kids busy with more than just Facebook and video games.
Students learn a lot during each and every school year. It is best that they don’t go cold turkey on learning for the next seven weeks or so. Parents need to keep the ball rolling as much as possible with educational activities. Remember, the number one educator for kids should be their own parents since they spend more time with them by far than teachers ever will! Here are some ideas for summer that will keep your kids learning and have them better prepared for returning to school in a couple months.
Family Field Trips
School field trips are usually for educational purposes. Students climb on a bus and visit somewhere that will enlighten them. Family field trips are much the same, minus the stinky school bus. As a family, head out somewhere fun and informative that will have the kids enjoy learning.
Museums are always a quality choice, and they usually have more than enough exhibits that will entertain the children. Going to the zoo will have the students acquiring knowledge about animals that they may never have received from a textbook. Visiting a park will teach the kids about nature and various elements of science. There are many extraordinary family field trips that can be taken, you are only limited by your imagination!
Read as a Family
As a primary teacher, I have heard many parent confessions stating sheepishly that they never had their child read at all during the summer. This greatly affects not only their learning, but their overall reading skills. Literacy is part of every content area, so why would you take off three months from having your child read? Parents that leave all parts of education up to the classroom teacher are enabling their child to fail in life.
Every night, set a time aside for family reading. Each member of the family is to be reading their own book during this time. All electronic devices are off. Even if it is only thirty minutes a night, this will inspire the child to hopefully start reading on their own as an act of enjoyment. Trips to the library once a week will help with completing this nightly activity!
Daily Math Problems
Once again, I have heard parents proclaim that they did not work on math skills at all during the summer. Later, they wonder how their child is scoring in the lower ten percent of grade level math achievement two months down the road. There is a direct correlation between these two items. Practice math during the summer, achieve better results during the school year. It’s pretty simple stuff.
Give your child math worksheets to complete every week. There are numerous websites that allow you to print out free worksheets on almost every conceivable math skill that your child will need. And don’t worry if your own math skills are lacking, they also have the answer key for these sheets as well.
Lastly, have your child write reports on various topics during the summer. This will help them with their own research skills and turn them into better writers. I would highly recommend the free Google Docs app for this part of their summer learning. Students love using technology, and Google Docs is something that they will be using throughout their education.
Either through Google Docs or Google Slides, there are already created templates where it is correctly formatted for children to do book reports, write letters, and various other presentations. Once again, this is something that the child will use during their whole education. It is much easier for the child to learn when an adult is sitting down with them one-on-one and showing them how to use the free apps than trying to figure it all out in a classroom of 25 students.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
The easy thing to do during the summer is to let kids keep themselves busy with their friends and electronic devices. However, in the long run, this is not in their best interests. Take an active role in their education. Step back into the role of being an active parent and lead your child to a productive summer and a productive life!