Each school year, warmer weather brings a sense of excitement that summer is rapidly approaching. Countdowns appear on whiteboards across the country as students and teachers alike anticipate summer vacation. It’s an opportunity to catch up on sleep, enjoy time outside with friends and family, and most of all - a break from homework, tests, and classes.
Unfortunately, this mental break can have a negative effect on all the hard work both students and teachers put in during the school year. Several months out of the classroom often means the abandonment of spelling tests, multiplication tables and science experiments. This begets the issue of summer learning loss or “summer slide”. When students go several consecutive months without learning new academic content or without formal learning review, they are likely to return to school in the fall academically behind where they left in the previous spring.
As a parent, this can be upsetting to hear. What was the point of dragging your sleepy child out of bed each morning or checking countless homework assignments and book reports if they are simply going to replace most of what they learned with Fortnite knowledge this summer? No matter the age group, you can stop summer slide from happening to your child. Below is a list of activities and online resources you can build into a daily or weekly routine to keep learning happening in your home all summer long.
Build reading and writing into everyday activities...
Watch TV without sound, with the Closed Captioning On instead
Play a new game and have your child read the directions aloud to the family
Have your child write down your grocery list, help you find the items in the store, and read the recipe aloud while you prepare it together.
Create daily read aloud time - read together before bed for around 30 minutes every day. Short on physical books? Try to organize a safe and socially distant book swap with family or friends, or check out online resources below for e-books.
More summer writing ideas: make/write postcards telling about activities your family does together, go on family walks or hikes and have your child keep a nature journal, set up an email account as a memory bank and work with your child to write down what you did each day or week in an email - a fun online journal to look back on someday!
Do sneaky math games...
Practice Concepts of Time
Combine outdoor activities with math! Have your child time themselves doing various activities, such as running to the stop sign and back, then try to beat that time (bonus: they can create a table to record the times in)
Collect spare change and challenge your child to count it - how many coins are there, how many pennies do I trade for two dimes, how many dollars do I have altogether, etc.
Go on a shape scavenger hunt around your home or neighborhood
Here are some more ideas of how to keep building math skills at home.
Older students: Project Based Learning on things they already love to do.
Love video games? Learn about coding and create your own.
Sports fanatic? Analyze statistics from their all different teams/players to create a super team
Interested in healthy eating? Deep dive into your school's food program and come up with strengths and weaknesses in how they support classmates’ health and wellness.
Search for the perfect fit idea in this huge list of projects.
YouTube: younger (TK - 2) kids will love Jack Hartmann videos for practicing math, phonics, sight words, silly songs and more!
Create a free parent account on Khan Academy - great for math lessons and practice.
The Parent Tab on PBS offers activities for arts and crafts, literacy, math, science, and social skills/emotional learning.
National Geographic Kids offers so many science videos and lessons to keep kids interested in learning about the world around them.
Check your local library’s website for access to tons of audio books or online text, or try websites like StoryLine Online, TIME for Kids Free Library, or International Children's Library for online copies read-to-me style books with pictures/text that children can follow along with.
Try out a few (or a lot - those summer days get long!) of these ideas at home and share how it went with fellow parents in the comment section. Instead of summer slide, your child can summer sail ahead in their learning this year!