School’s out! The last day of school brings a sense of freedom for students and parents alike. No more homework hassle! The tension that exists between parent and child due to schoolwork finally wanes and the parent-child relationship becomes less stressful.
Along with the fun of summer activities, should parents incorporate summer learning experiences for their child? Researchers say “Yes!” Most students lose about 2 1/2 months worth of math knowledge over the summer. What about the student who was struggling in learning during the school year? Summer is a great time to work on filling in the gaps and developing the skills your child is weak in. Boosting skills while schedules are less hectic is a great way to develop a child’s confidence.
What can you do at home this summer to boost your child’s learning? Provide everyday learning opportunities. Making cookies? Have your child measure ingredients and learn about fractions in the process. Double a recipe or make half of a recipe. The cookies bake for 12 minutes. What time will they be done? Let younger children play with the measuring cups to learn concepts. When fractions, measurement or time comes back up in school, your child can link what he discovered in the kitchen to new learning. This helps the information to make it through the brain processes to long-term memory because there is meaning attached to it.
Let your child make a purchase at the store with cash and calculate the correct change mentally. Have him buy three things and estimate the total cost.
Travelling? Have your child use Google Maps or MapQuest to locate your destination, determine if it’s north, south, east or west from where you live, and find out how many miles away it is. Have them calculate estimated gas expense using your cars mpg and the current gas price. How much time will it take to get there? What time would we arrive if we left at 8:00am? What if we were in traffic 18 minutes? If we stopped for lunch for 40 minutes, what time would we arrive?
Have children read restaurant reviews online and pick out a restaurant. Give each child a small notebook to journal in each day. Before you know it, you’ve covered math calculation, time, measurement, fractions, money, geography, directionality, reading, writing, spelling and thinking skills.
Above all, read, read, read. Read aloud to your children even into the middle school years. The Chronicles of Narnia are fun. Have them predict what’s going to happen next. Have them make connections with what is happening in the story. In the world of Nooks and Kindles, don’t forget the library. Seeing, holding, and smelling books awakens the senses and can bring a desire to read. A whole new world awaits.