In my experience as a writing teacher, there was not much better than watching the incredible growth of my students from September to June. In those months, I saw kids boost their reading as much as five grade levels. I saw writing go from one sentence of horribleness to pages of a beautiful story. In those eight months, magic happens in the classroom.
This, my friends, is called the summer slide.
Here are some ways that you can work with your kids to prevent the (not)inevitable summer slide:
1. Read Daily – I know it is so hard to fit this in. You have swimming, baseball, dance, and of course, your favorite T.V. shows! However, reading is so important. I am preaching to myself here as well, I wish we read every day. In order to keep the skills sharp, reading is a habit that must be continued.
2. Talk about everything – talk to your kids about what is going on with them. Ask them about their friends, ask them about this upcoming school year, ask them about their hopes for the rest of the summer. Talking to your kids will open up that communication, which is so important for kids. Don’t forget to use this time to ask them about things they learned last year. Did they just learn how to count? Talk to them about that. Did they learn how to speak Russian? Ask them about it.
3. Write about your adventures – I did an entire post about this. Writing is another skill that must be practiced in order to stay sharp!
4. Limit T.V. time – Okay mamas, I know it’s hard. Your kids are home with you ALL DAY LONG. It is so easy to just stick them in front of that electronic babysitter, but resist the urge. When kids sit in front of the T.V. for hours on end, their minds go on autopilot. They shut off their learning. Rather, let your kids go outside and play. Let them use their imagination.
5. Cook together – This is an amazing way to use so many different skills. They use their math knowledge to measure. They use their reading while following the recipe. They practice following instructions or else their recipe won’t turn out as they hope. Not only is this a great skill for keeping their scholastics sharp, but it is such a great bonding activity.
6. Let them research – Our world today has given kids incredible opportunities to learn about things never even dreamed about a hundred years ago. Our little girl received a stuffed hippopotamus for Christmas last year. That was around the time that we were going over different animal sounds (my little girl is 2), and my husband nor I knew what sound a hippo made. We just found a clip online of a hippo, and since then my daughter can do the hippo grunt better than most adults! Let your kids research. If they want to know why we go into daylight savings time, tell them to look it up. If they want to know how to say ‘hot stuff’ in French, have them look it up!
Those are just a few ways to keep your kids learning, even in the summer.
What are some things you do to keep your kids sharp?