Most everyone is out of school for their summer break (or will be very soon), now. My son's been out of school for a month now. It's already flying by and will be time for school to start back before I know it.
If you're like me, you're always trying to find ways of that will keep your kids learning… even when school is out. A three month break from school can easily set a child back. And they do forget some things, if they don't practice them on at least a somewhat regular basis.
My son, Cody, will be starting the 3rd grade this coming school year — growing up so fast on me. He's a very smart boy (I know don't all moms say that?) and an avid reader. So getting him to read isn't a problem. He reads all the time. So I'm lucky in that department. I realize that if your kid hates to read, it's sometimes a struggle to get them to do it.
It's probably my education background (I hold a degree in elementary education, but never officially taught) that I have the mindset I do, but I'm always looking for ways to enhance my son's education. I don't believe it's entirely up to his school or teachers to do that.
So, I would like to share with you four tips I use to keep Cody learning while he is on breaks from school. I hope they'll help you, too:
Once Upon A Time
The best tip I can give you, and if you don't do anything else all summer, the one tip I can not recommend highly enough is, READ! Read out loud to your kid(s). Have them read out loud to you. And as long as it's age appropriate, I don't care what they're reading… just as long as their reading. All it takes is 20 minutes. That's it! And, it doesn't have to be 20 minutes all at one time. You can break it up into two 10-minute sessions. Or four 5-minute sessions — it's cumulative. I know we moms and dads live very hectic lives and are juggling so many responsibilites, but I know you can spare 20-minutes of your day to read to or with your children.
Okay, you don't have to set a timer. Some days it may be a little shorter than 20 minutes (for young kids, this would be approximately 3 to 4 books), and some days it could go over 20 minutes. It's just that 20-minutes is a doable and beneficial amount of time for both parents and kids. One of the easiest ways to get in the reading time is to make a habit of reading to your kids at bedtime.
Teach them a new word a day or even a week. There are several sites out there that will help you with a different word a day. I like SuperKids Vocabulary Builder and you can make it your browser. They also have iPhone and iPad apps so you'll always have your word of the day, no matter where you're at. It is grade level and begins at fourth-grade. I think second and third-graders can benefit from it, though. When I give Cody his "new" word each day, I make sure he uses the word in sentences throughout the day and that he can spell the word. By the way, nomenclature means vocabulary.
1+1 = 2
I don't think it's a bad idea to let your kids brush up on their math skills a few times a week. Even twice a week will help them keep their math skills sharp. Here's a great math worksheet creator. But it's easy to add (pun intended) in math without them even knowing it. You can let your kids help you cook/bake. It's a great way to teach measurements. While grocery shopping, take advantage of teaching money. My biggest tip is to try and use any real life situation you can to teach them math skills. I have to admit my hubby is a math wiz, so he is the primary math teacher in our home.
A great way to help your children stay on top of their writing skills, both their physical handwriting skills and their creative writing, is writing in a journal or diary. This can be daily or a time or two a week. You don't want it to seem like a chore. I find it works best when you journal yourself. If they see you do it, they're more apt to do it. We encourage Cody to write about his day, but also in making up stories. He enjoys writing, so this isn't usually too difficult to get him to do.
There's tons of things you can do to keep your kids learning, just Google it and you'll find a myriad of "free" educational sites to assist you. And if you have the iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, you'll find loads of educational apps (many free) that your kids can learn from.
I strongly feel though, if you put into practice the above four tips on a daily (or weekly, even) basis, your kids will go back to school on the right foot.
If you have some tips for keeping your children learning while they're on the summer vacations, please share them with us!