Every summer I start off having a 'grand plan' about what our summer will look like - long, relaxing days by the pool, lots of fun, and of course educational outings for the kids with time each day for reading books and doing some problem solving to keep those math skills sharp.
I don't even know why I kid myself. Summer turns into a juggle of getting kids to camps, having friends over, sports activities, washing soggy towels from the pool, trying to limit screen time, all while I am trying to work from home. Fun, but yet, not so much.
But here's the thing - while summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off (who doesn't remember great times at the pool all summer lazing the days away while eating as much junk food as possible), it is still important to make sure your kids don't have any summer learning loss.
Yep - that's an actual thing.
It has been well-documented that students lose between 1-2 month's worth of academic knowledge each summer. And while that doesn't seem like that big of a deal, the problem is that it becomes cumulative. A 2007 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found the achievement gap at ninth grade mainly traces to differences in summer learning during the elementary school years. And a 2004 study found that all achievement gaps among students tend to be exacerbated by summer breaks.
Not good. And yes, this adds on a little more momma guilt, but it also makes me stop and think about how important it is to keep my children's skills moving in the right direction over the summer. The challenge is how to make it part of our everyday routine and fun at the same time.
Here are some ideas to keep the "summer slide" at bay:
- Do word searches and cross word puzzles together (you can find them for all ages)
- Do puzzles, build Legos, solve sudokus and other brain teasers
- Read a variety of material - magazines, books, newspapers, cartoons
- Have your kids read directions and do fun creative projects together
- Find a great free, library program
- Have the kids play some games at http://www.coolmath4kids.com/
- Take outings to local museums
- Enroll in summer camps - HINT: A great place to find camps is at www.nurturemychid.com
- You can find even more fun summer activities that promote learning here.